Here Are Eight Vehicles That Tried to Tell Us Electricity Was OK a Long Time Ago

NASA Lunar Rover 9 photos
Photo: Screenshot from YouTube
Le Jamais ContenteHenney KilowattL'Oeuf ElectriqueLunar RoverBritish Milk FloatAMC Amitron/ElectronGeneral Motors EV1Tesla Model S
It looks like we've reached a relative consensus over the fact that the vehicles of the future will use electric motors instead of gas burning units, and even though there are still those who are losing sleep over the possible disappearance of the V8 engine, life will eventually move on.
It was less than ten years ago that people were crying over the death of the naturally aspirated large-displacement engines, and where are they now? Everybody seems to agree that turbocharged V8s are just as good, if not better. The same will happen with electric motors over time, only it might take a little longer since the there's also a greater difference between the two.

But the world won't stand still and wait for these guys to catch up. No, the world is moving forward, and that's why we now have the Formula E Championship, the electric equivalent of the Formula One that's already in its second season and about to begin the third. Hell bent on promoting the advantages of electric power, whenever they're not organizing a race, the men behind this competition make videos such as the one below.

You might be under the impression that Tesla was the firs manufacturer to produce a decent electric vehicle - and we might have helped with that a little - but nothing could be further away from the truth. In fact, back toward the end of the 19th century, we were very close to starting off this whole motorized vehicle business using electricity, as the first car in this "Top 8 Electric Cars That Were Way Ahead of Their Time" clearly demonstrates:

8). Le Jamais Contente

Literally translated to "The Never Satisfied," this electric missile on wheels was the fastest land vehicle in 1899, setting the record at 100 km/h (62 mph) with help from its 70 hp electric motor. The clip also tells the brief story of its inventor and pilot, and let's just say it's both funny and tragic.

7). Henney Kilowatt

This was an electric vehicle with more than decent numbers that also looked quite good thanks to the fact it was a Renault Dauphine conversion. But since it was built in the USA during the '60, its small size and the low gas prices meant it was never more than just a pet project for a bunch of engineers. Still, 100 of them were built.

6). L'Oeuf Electrique

OK, this is another one with a weird name, but looking at it there wasn't really any other way of baptizing it. Still, consider this design was drawn in 1942, and the bubble car becomes a true icon. Not to mention it used aluminum and plexiglass for reduced weight, which was way ahead of its time as well. It was also probably why it didn't catch on: aluminum was a prized material during those times when every resource was used to make military equipment.

5). The Lunar Rover Vehicle

Well, since there's no air on the Moon, it's not like NASA had much of a choice here in terms of propulsion. Still, the Lunar Rover should have been the poster boy of electric vehicles, but it somehow failed to become that.

4). British Milk Float

A perfect example of purposeful design. With trucks usually powered by unrefined (especially at that time) diesel engines, the quietness of the milk float must have appeared otherworldly. If only those crappy British roads didn't make the milk bottles rattle every ten feet.

3). AMC Amitron/Electron

America's answer to the oil crisis that was quickly forgotten once everything came back to normal. It came with a host of innovative technologies, edgy design, and advertising featuring lots of girls, but the real question was "does it come as a pickup truck as well"? The answer was "no" and so the AMC Amitron was confined to the back pages of history books. Somewhere in the footnotes.

2). General Motors EV1

The most dramatic story of the EV world, the one that excited generations of conspiracy theorists but, eventually, only seems to have prolonged the inevitable. Call it what you want, but we know one thing: that design was gorgeous. Gorgeously weird, but gorgeous nonetheless.

1). Tesla Model S

Well, it couldn't have missed from the list, could it? We may not be fully aware at the moment, but ten years from now people will point at a Model S and say "this is where it all started." They'll be wrong, of course, but that won't matter because the history books would have been already written. And the Tesla Model S will feature on the front cover.

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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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