Electrics Nothing New

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams

With all the press lithium-ion batteries and high tech drivetrains have gotten lately, you'd think electric cars are the future of the automobile. Perhaps, but they're also the past. Almost 100 years ago, electric cars were actually a common sight in American cities. New York Times brings us a blast from the past with a feature on Jay Leno's 1909 Baker Electric Coupe. Arguably the first "chick car," the Baker was the favorite of high-society women who couldn't be bothered with the muss and fuss of primitive internal-combustion engines. Although Jay's car's top speed is only about 20 to 25 mph, the Baker Torpedo held the world land speed record in 1904 at 104mph, with the additional distinction of being the first automobile fitted with seat belts.

Frank Williams
Frank Williams

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