Tag: Electric Vehicle

Could an Obscure Fifties Fiberglass Roadster Have Been the First Electric Car Inspired by Nikola Tesla? – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings

Could an Obscure Fifties Fiberglass Roadster Have Been the First Electric Car Inspired by Nikola Tesla? – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings


The mid-Fifties weren’t much of a boom time for electric vehicles here in the United States. Gas was cheap, the chrome was thick, and conformity was high. Despite all the advancements in aerospace and pushbutton gizmos, the state of electric drivetrains at the time wasn’t that much more advanced than 25 years prior, when the first wave of electric vehicles sparked their last. Of the half-dozen or so American EVs that one can count from that time, one stood out partly for making the effort in the first place and partly for proposing a novel means of propulsion that has otherwise dwelt only in the realm of myth.

1955 Electronic. Press handout photo via Alden Jewell.

When the Electronic debuted in June 1955, it brought along with it a bevy of dubious claims. F.B. Malouf, president of the Salt Lake City-based Electronic Motor Car Corporation, boasted that it was a multimillion-dollar company with two manufacturing facilities already in operation (in Detroit and in Oxford, Michigan) and a third forthcoming in the Utah capital city with production expected to reach 400 cars per day within the year. The car itself Malouf described in terms bordering on technobabble: It had a “turbo-electric” drivetrain with a “dual-torque” electric motor capable of propelling it to 100 miles per hour. If the press release didn’t come with a photo, it would’ve been simple to write the Electronic off as a pipe dream

The press release did come with a photo, though, and from that photo it’s plain to see that the Electronic was merely a LaSaetta selling under a different name. As an August 1955 Motor Life article reported, the LaSaetta was the fiberglass sports car dream of two brothers, Cesare and Gino Testaguzza, who relocated from Italy to the Detroit area – specifically Oxford, Michigan – and worked for multiple carmakers before setting out to build their own car. Not a kit car, the LaSaetta was instead meant to be tailored to each customer’s specifications. Most had altered Ford chassis with Oldsmobile V-8 engines, though Motor Life reported on one that had a Hudson six-cylinder, and then there was the Electronic.

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This Big Block V8 Lookalike Is Actually An EV Motor – Gerhard Horn @CarBuzz


Would you go EV if the motor looked like this?

The switchover to fully electric mobility has been relatively slow, but it is picking up momentum. President Biden is on a mission to achieve 50% EV sales by 2030, but EV adoption goes far beyond new car sales. The classic car community is also involved in a big way.

There is a new trend to power restomods with EV powertrains. Our favorite recent EV restomods include a first-generation Ford Bronco and the sensational Totem Automobili Giulia GT EV. One of our associate editors is kept up at night thinking of ideas to make a quick buck to convert his classic Mini into an EV.

But all of these restomods have one problem in common. You can’t lift the hood and blow people away with a beautifully detailed engine. A battery box isn’t sexy, nor is an electric motor. But now, you can get an electric motor hidden neatly within an iconic internal combustion engine’s casing

Webb Motorworks claims a 0-60-mph time of 3-5 seconds, depending on the car’s weight. The range is between 135-250 miles depending on the size of the battery pack and it can be charged back up within 5-8 hours at home, which is acceptable considering most hot rods are hobby cars. You’ll definitely still need a Tesla Model S for the daily grind.

The cost is between $50,000 to $70,000, and four shells are currently available. You can get a small block in V8 or V12 configuration, a Hemi, a big block, or a flathead, also available in V8 and V12. You can also add some color to the engine. The options are red, blue, purple, orange, teal, or black.

Webb Motorworks took its products to SEMA this week, where it alreadreceived three awards.

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Ford’s crate electric motor tease doesn’t mean much without a crate battery – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings


Even a year ago, when Chevrolet announced its eCrate motor via an electrified Blazer, we noted that the move was inevitable. More than at any other period in history, classic car owners have been electrifying their vehicles using whatever modern EV powertrains end up in junkyards and for cheap on the secondary market. Dozens of shops have popped up offering classic car electrification services. Now’s the time to make crate electric motors available, and as we saw in a tweet from Ford recently, the Blue Oval is soon going to announce its own crate electric motor – the Eluminator – at this year’s SEMA show.

Awesome, really, but this all makes zero sense if Ford and GM can’t also offer crate battery packages to go with those crate electric motors.

Yes, I know, batteries are not sexy. They don’t even having any moving parts, ferpetesake – they just lay there, all shocks and zaps if you touch ’em wrong. Automakers tend not to introduce new battery systems at SEMA – heck, sometimes automakers barely release any information about the batteries in their electric vehicles. Take, for instance, the electric Mustang Cobra Jet that’s up at the top of this article. When Ford announced it last year, the company boasted all sorts of stats on its performance (1,502 peak wheel horsepower, quarter-miles in 8.27 seconds at 168 mph), but nowhere in its press releases did the company mention the battery supplying all that power. (All we’ve been able to find with some quick googling from other sources is that it has three 60kWh battery packs of some sort.)

Motors, on the other hand, they at least spin. They’ve got some torque. Ford absolutely gushed about the electric Cobra Jet’s “four PN-250-DZR inverters coupled to a pair of DS-250-115s, giving four motors total and spinning at up to 10,000 revolutions per minute (and running) at 800 volts and up to 700 amps, with maximum output of 350kW per motor.” According to Carscoops, which spoke with Ford’s Hau Thai-Tang, the Eluminator should put out 210 kW. Roughly, in terms of SAT question format, the electric motor is to the internal-combustion engine as the battery pack is to the gas tank. Motors are relatively easy to bolt up top existing transmissions and to fit in places where internal combustion engines once went. Far, far more articles have been written about building and modifying engines than gas tanks.

On the other hand, that’s not a fair comparison. Batteries have far more to do with the performance of an electric vehicle than a gas tank has with the performance of an internal combustion vehicle. The major reason electric vehicles have even become a hot topic of conversation over the last decade or so is because advances in battery technology have made them feasible alternatives to internal-combustion vehicles for a wider variety of use cases. Without a good battery, that spinny spinny motor’s not good for much beyond windshield wiper duty.

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Mythbusting: The truth about the GM EV1 – Gary Witzenburg @Hagerty


About halfway down the long hill leading to the General Motors Proving Ground test tracks in Milford, Michigan, it hit me that the electric concept car I was driving rolled on a cobbled-up show-car suspension and was armed with barely functional brakes. Uh-oh! It would be a supremely stupid, costly, career-ending blunder to crash this incredibly significant hand-built prototype EV by plowing off the fast 90-degree corner that awaited down the hill. Though the concept was called the Impact, I had no intention of putting that name to the test.

But wait! I recalled that the Impact featured variable regenerative braking with a rheostat control between the seats. I eased on the friction brakes, cranked the rheostat up to full regen, and barely made the corner. Whew! Shaken and chastened, I continued carefully to where I—as GM EV program Vehicle Test and Development manager—was heading to give members of the Board of Directors demo rides on the “Black Lake” skidpad.

Dramatic beginnings

At the 1990 Los Angeles Auto Show, people stopped in their tracks to gawk at this sleek, silver-bullet-shaped concept that would later morph into the EV1. Engineered and developed with high-tech California contractor Aerovironment, the Impact did more than just look cool. It could sprint from zero to 60 mph in a (then-quick) eight seconds and had achieved—in one test from 100 percent to absolute zero state of charge under ideal conditions at GM’s Arizona Desert Proving Grounds—a stunning 125 miles of range. At the time, that was better performance than any other practical electric car could claim.

Many saw it as the industry’s automotive future. Idealists cheered while skeptics scoffed. Politicians plotted to force-feed it to the American public. So positive was its press and public reception that on April 22, 1990 (Earth Day) GM CEO Roger Smith announced GM’s intent to produce such a car, targeting 25,000 units a year. Ken Baker, then head of Advanced Vehicle Engineering for GM’s Chevrolet-Pontiac-Canada Group, was recruited to lead the effort.

“We recognized the obvious shortcoming of EVs,” Baker later said. “Our plan was to be battery agnostic—take the best available and focus on engineering the world’s most efficient vehicle, which would give dramatically better performance once a better battery came along. We had just come off of the success of the [race-winning solar-powered] SunRaycer and were encouraged by the sold-state electronics that had been demonstrated in that car, and [in] Impact

One key goal was to see how quickly and efficiently GM could do a completely different new car through a new Systems Engineering approach. The production target was just 36 months.

Then, by September 28, 1990, California’s Air Resources Board (CARB) mandated the seven top-selling automakers to make two percent of their California sales “zero emissions” by 1998, five percent by 2001, and 10 percent by 2003.

Myth: GM’s EV program was a reaction to the CARB mandate.

Truth: Other way around. GM was already working to produce a practical electric car, so CARB decided to force all major automakers to follow suit.

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Chevy’s electric K5 Blazer is the beginning of the EV crate motor era – Mike Austin @Hemmings


It was only a matter of when, not if. Not even COVID-19 and the annual SEMA Show moving to a virtual event could delay the inevitable dawn of the electric crate motor. While the 1977 K5 Blazer-E is a one-off concept build, it previews some form of future package that GM Performance Parts will sell to convert any project vehicle to electric propulsion.

We saw this coming, of course, with the eCOPO Camaro in 2018 and the E-10 pickup from last year  (yes, everything needs an “e” in the name to signify electrification, sigh). While those offer some sort of wow factor, with 9-second quarter-mile times for the Camaro and around 450 horsepower in the pickup, the Blazer-E is a little more, well, everyday. It uses the electric motor from the Bolt EV, putting out 200 hp and 266 pound-feet of torque.

Before you bemoan this as some form of weak sauce, consider that the stock engine that Chevy yanked out of the Blazer made a mere 175 hp. More significant is that, while the Blazer-E is a concept, the parts will soon be real. Chevy has already moved to train dealers and shops to be certified installers for the “eCrate” system, starting with Lingenfelter Performance Engineering. And the modularity touted with the E-10 pickup remains; multiple motors and inverters can be stacked in series for more power and torque.

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The History of Owen Magnetic – The Car of A Thousand Speeds – @uniquecarsandparts.com


Ray M. Owen

Before the days of the automatic gearbox, the petrol-electric transmission enjoyed a certain vogue, particularly as it was invented in the era of the non-synchromesh or ‘crash’ gearbox. However although the petrol-electric was easy to use, it was also expensive to build, bulky and heavy, which made it more suitable for commercial vehicles (such as the Tilling- Stevens) than for the private car.

There were one or two notable exceptions to this general rule, however, and one of the more ingenious electric transmissions was conceived just before World War 1 by Ray M. Owen of the Baker, Rauch & Lang company of Cleveland, Ohio, who were renowned for their Baker and Raulang battery electric cars.

The Entz Transmission

Owen adapted the Entz transmission, which was designed for use in the new generation of oil-engined battleships (such as the 1919 New Mexico), for automotive use, and began production of a luxury car with this form of drive in 1914. Under its original name of Owen Magnetic, the ‘Car of a Thousand Speeds’ was not very successful, but by 1920 J. L. Crown had taken over the design rights, and was producing cars in a factory at Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

Read the rest of this excellent article here


Seattle’s electric cars 1968 – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings


Starting in the late Sixties, Seattle City Light began an electric vehicle program to try to get the city and the city’s residents to switch from their internal combustion vehicles. According to Seattle.govand KUOW, the city started with the Electruc above in 1968, moved on to an electric Gremlin in 1973, and then, in 1976, went with the scratchbuilt RT1, part of a larger electrification plan.

Read the rest of Daniels article here

Below is the entry from Seattle.gov

Electric vehicles

As national concern began to develop about fossil fuels, pollution, and other environmental issues, Seattle City Light (SCL) began some early experimentation with electric vehicles. In 1968, SCL introduced the Electruc, which was an experimental electric-powered utility truck. A sign painted on the truck read, “Your bright new future is all electric!”

Research and development continued in the 1970s. City Light photos from 1973 show a prototype electric car made from a modified AMC Gremlin. The car was powered by 24 rechargeable six-volt batteries and could run for about 50 miles at highway speeds before needing to be recharged. SCL developed an “Electro Park” charging station for the vehicle.

Then in 1976, City Light designed another prototype electric vehicle, the RT1, which could travel up to 75 miles on one charge of its eight six-volt batteries. The four-passenger car was only seven feet long and five feet wide, and took up one-fifth the parking space of a typical car from that period. The vehicle was created with funding from SCL’s Research and Development budget.

The RT1 was conceptualized as part of a downtown restricted transportation zone from which most internal combustion vehicles would be barred. City Light envisioned this zone, full of electric cars like the RT1, as nearly eliminating transportation pollution in the urban core.

Electruc, 1968
Item no. 78726, Seattle Municipal Archives
Electro Park charging station, 1973
Item no. 181159, Seattle Municipal Archives
RT1 electric car prototype, 1976
Item no. 175218, Seattle Municipal Archives

Fremont Police Replaced an Old Dodge Charger With a Tesla Cop Car- Andrew P Collins @Jalopnik


The police department in Fremont, Calif., the same Fremont where the Tesla factory is, just bought a used Tesla Model S 85 to replace a retiring Dodge Charger. The car has been fitted with all the standard cop-spec accessories and will soon go on duty as part of a pilot program to see if a Tesla is up to the task of police work

Read Andrews article at Jalopnik




Through the generosity of a donor the Revs institute has gained a 1917 Detroit Electric – Joe Siano


The Detroit Electric (1907–1939) produced by the Anderson Electric Car Company in Detroit, Michigan. The company built 13,000 electric cars from 1907 to 1939.

The Revs Institute in Naples, Florida — with its extensive archives and more than 100 historically significant vehicles in the Collier Collection — chronicles the automobile with pictures, words and wheels. So it may surprise some that it has only just now acquired its first electric car.

In keeping with the institute’s mission, this one predates the Tesla and the Chevrolet Bolt by a ways — about a century. The car is a 1917 Detroit Electric, built in Detroit by the Anderson Electric Car Company (later the Detroit Electric Car Company). Anderson is generally considered to be the most successful of the first wave of electric car manufacturers.

Read the rest of Joe’s article here

The Revs institute and founder Miles Collier’s history is here