Electric Vehicles World's Oldest Electric Car Gets Rebuilt, Driven (video)

Published on November 20th, 2011 | by Jo Borrás


World's Oldest Electric Car Gets Rebuilt, Driven (video)

November 20th, 2011 by  

Looking like the steampunk love-child of a Segway and an old English penny-farthing bicycle, Ayrton and Perry’s electric car offered its owners quiet operation and a top speed of 9 (nine) mph – courtesy of its 0.5kW vertical electric motor and 7.5Ah battery. Nine miles-per-hour may not seem too impressive today, but when the Ayrton and Perry electric was new – back in 1881 (!) – it was a sensation, easily matching the speed of horsedrawn carriages without the expense of stables and hands and without the black soot and dangerous crank-starting of the combustion-powered horseless carriages of the day.

The Ayrton and Perry electric shown here isn’t original (there are no surviving examples known), but it is a painstaking recreation by the German Autovision museum that used the original patent drawings to create this 100-point-perfect “recreation”, celebrating this electric-car milestone that was in production less than 18 months after Edison’s first electric lightbulb made its debut – and a full five years before Benz’ “first car”, three years before the first steam cars, and nearly twenty years before the first gas/electric hybrids (the 1900 Porsche Lohner hybrid) went on sale.

Perspective is pretty neat, eh?

Enjoy the video of Autovision’s Ayrton and Perry electric on the road (slowly), below.

Source | Photos: Gizmag.

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About the Author

I've been involved in motorsports and tuning since 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the Important Media network. You can find me on Twitter, Google+, or at my shop in Palatine, IL.

  • http://www.youtube.com/MrEnergyCzar MrEnergyCzar

    Impressive. That approx. 8 amp hour battery is the same size as my battery that backs up my computer for just an hour…..


  • Lock H

    Actually and Perry didn’t get rolling until October, 1882.
    On April 8, 1881 Gustave Trouvé ran for 90 minutes at speeds up to 12kmh in Paris, and he exhibited his trike at the International Inventions Exhibition in London in 1885.


    • http://gas2.org Jo Borras

      The dates presented above seem to come from the museum (language barrier there – sorry).

  • Lockk

    Understand, but the Museum is incorrect. Read Cosmos (Les Mondes) by M.L’Abbe Moingo, May-August 1881 (Eye witness account by “Guadet” about watching Trouvé riding around on April 8.) Ayrton and Perry were first reported in the Telegraph Journal and Electrical Review on October 28, 1882, the week following their first ride…


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