Thursday, January 21, 2010

Detroit Electric Vehicle Circa 1922

This 1922 Detroit Electric Car was originally owned by socialite Mrs. Joseph Ballard of Binghamton, New York from 1922 until 1934. The $2,985 price tag is equivalent to about $38,000 today.

Mrs. Ford had an electric car just like this one - also on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI. This car was on display at the 2010 North American international Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan.

Electric cars were extremely popular with well-to-do women who had trouble, or didn't care for, the hand-cranking that was necessary with gasoline powered cars. One of the other key selling points: wealthy woman much preferred the electric cars roomy interiors that resembled parlors or powder rooms.

The performance wasn't bad for the day - top speed of 25mph and a range of up to 60 miles. In 1900 electric cars far outsold steam and gasoline powered cars, but that all changed with the electric starters on gasoline cars. In 1916, Detroit Electric made almost 1900 cars - that dropped dramatically to 143 cars in 1922 when this vehicle was made.