Published on May 2nd, 2012 | by Andrew Meggison
Forgotten 100 – 150 Mile Range EV From 1959
Take a fiberglass body, Nic –L- Silver Car Batteries, and an estimated range of 100 – 150 miles and you have the 1959 Victress fiberglass bodied EV sports car prototype called The Pioneer.
The Pioneer was the brainchild of George Lippincott, the founder of Nic-L-Silver Battery Company. In 1958 Lippincott gathered a team of engineers and designers to build in a partnership with fiberglass sports car manufacturer Victress a 100 – 150 mile range EV. The team hoped to break into the automotive industry and build ten cars a day with the target market being power companies and postal services.
A single prototype of the EV was built and shown at the Pomona Fair in 1959. The prototype had a two seater body was made out of laminated fiberglass mounted on a Kurtis-designed box frame using full torsion bar suspension.
Under the hood Behind the seats there were 12 4-volt series wired Nic-L-Silver lead-acid batteries, each with two cells and a capacity of eight hours at 235 Ampere-hours. The car even included a built-in battery charger. Additionally, two electric motors powered the EV to a top speed of 50 mph — not bad for 50-year old EV.
The car had two electric motors and a stated range of 100 to 150 miles, depending on how the vehicle was driven, and the price was given at just under $2000, with a battery replacement cost of $300. For comparison, a Chevy Corvette cost about $4,000 (before options) in 1959.
Granted, the 100 -150 mile range is indeed a claimed statistic from a written article about a car built 50 years ago, so who knows how true the claims are. The sad part is we will never know the actual range, since after the 1959 Pomona Fair the project was abandoned and the prototype was never seen again.
Victress fell into the “kit car” category and eventually the company merged with other companies and the cars went away. As for Nic –L- Silver Car Batteries, they do not seem to have a website, though they may (or may not) be still in business. If anyone with knowledge of the Santa Ana, California battery company, please share in the comments below.
Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison