Thomas Edison and his electric car

2 Mins read
Thomas Edison and his electric car

Thomas Edison and his electric car

All-new is well overlooked old. Nowadays, electric car hype is just a repeat of what happened at the beginning of the last century. Thomas Edison patented his electric car. on December 19, 1904, ‘Mr. Electricity’, Patent number 750102.

The framework of the rechargeable electric car was pretty straightforward. And it wasn’t his very first electric car. Edison constructed his prototype in 1895 when he finally believed that “Electricity is a real thing.”

There were no heavy levers in the electric car, it was safe enough, not stinking, like gasoline, and it made no noise. The steam engines had to recharge batteries.

Charging Tomas Edison electric car

Even women could charge Tomas Edison electric car.

Recharging and batteries were Edison’s best tricks. His company, Edison Electric Illuminating Company, developed and began to produce “home” charging stations for an electric car. Edison couldn’t do the same hype that Elon Musk does nowadays, and he didn’t find investors to support the project, and it was closed.

Edison could not compare with Tesla’s ideas about alternating сurrent, and here’s why his equipment functioned only in those parts of America where a direct current network was used. His cars couldn’t adapt to his competitor’s (George Westinghouse) network.

Electric car Edison patent

                                                              The scheme of an electric car that Edison patented

Edison tried to find a workaround, implementing a powerful battery. In 1904 an iron-nickel battery was completed. Inventor believed that the nickel-iron accumulator would turn the world upside down.

And he had a chance! The battery demonstrated its capacity during a race in 1909. The electro powered car covered 160 km without recharging and lasted longer than the then widespread Exide lead battery. 

electric car batteries

Tomas Edison believed that his Nickel-Iron batteries would change the world

It was huge, given that in 1900, 28% of all vehicles in America were electric. The rest of the transportation, by the way, was not gasoline at all. It was primarily horse-drawn and steam-powered. The electrical future seemed cloudless. But then gasoline prices dropped, and Mr.Ford, with its assembly line, became the main competitor of Mr. Electricity.

Battery Edison Electric Illuminating Company was too expensive. It was even more costly than electro analog Exide. Ford T was much cheaper, and it won the race. Edison had to surrender, while Henry Ford expanded to his auto empire overseas.

Electric car, 1909 promo race

The promotional race seemed to bring success to the venture of Tomas Edison.

Home charging, Edison electric car

Home charging was one of the main features of Edison’s electric cars

minimalistic design of Edison's electric car

The minimalistic design of Edison’s car

Electric cars advertising

This advertising for electric cars didn’t perform well. Gasoline cars were way cheaper.



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