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Last updated 2004.03.28
Items of Historical Interest in the Development and Commercialization of EVs
- R -
R-1 - see South Coast Technology
One of the better known makes of electric cars from the early
20th century in North America, 3 separate firms produced the
vehicles from 1905 to 1922. Initially (1905-1916) the Rauch &
Lang Carriage Co. of Cleveland OH, which had been in the carriage
making business from the mid-1800s, started to produce a variety
of open and closed electric cars in quantity. As part of the
consolidation of the industry between 1910 and 1920, the firm
merged with Baker Electric to become Baker, Rauch & Lang Co.
in 1916 and continued to produce electric cars in Cleveland untill
1922. Production was moved to a smaller plant in Chicopee Falls MA
in 1922 under the name Rauch & Lang Electric Car Manufacturing
Co. and continued until 1922, but quantities were small during
this latter period. The cars produced at Chicopee Falls were known
as Raulangs. McLaughlin advertised the availability of an electric
car in Canada based on the Rauch & Lang chassis, with the body
produced by McLaughlin, such as that shown in the photos below.
A 1911 Rauch & Lang was driven in Saskatoon SK from 1912 to 1916. It subsequently became part of the Western Development Museum (also of Saskatoon) in 1948. There is a 1912 Rauch & Lang Towncar in the holdings of the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn MI.
Raulang - see Rauch & Lang
This vehicle was essentially an electric version of the Briggs
& Stratton Buckboard. A single electric motor drove a single
rear wheel powered by two 12-volt batteries. Braking operated on
only the other rear wheel. There are three pedals; one was use to
operate the brake, the other two controlled the way the batteries
were connected to provide some measure of speed control
(presumably parallel for lower speed and series for higher speed).
The original model was made beginning in 1916 by Milwaukee-based
A.O. Smith Co. under the name of the Smith Flyer. Also known as
the Auto Red Bug, presumably because it was subsequently produced
by the Automotive Electric Service Corp. of Newark NJ, and still
later by the Standard Automobile Co. of North Bergen NJ, covering
the period 1924 to 1928. The electric motor used was normally a
12-volt Northeast brand (also used by Dodge Brothers vehicles of
the period as a starter motor).
Started in the 1990s by Bob Beaumont (the founder of
Sebring-Vanguard). After securing funds and having Jim Muir design
a racy two seater sports car, Renaissance Cars made 22 prototype
vehicles, but due to a lack of financial backing the company was
forced to liquidate it's assets. The majority of the assets of the
company were bought by a group of Californian Renaissance
stockholders which then founded the company, Zebra Motors and they
are working on finishing the car and selling the first modern
low-cost electric sports car.
Until the 1990's, Renault's contribution to electric cars was primarily supplying gliders to other firms which then converted them to electric power. Several Renault models served this purpose including the Dauphine (Henney Kilowatt), the R10 (Mars), the R5 (Lectric Leopard), the R12 (EVA Metro) and the R4 which was converted to electric by Electricité de France. Renault began the manufacture of electric cars under their own name in the 1990's in small numbers. Renault also produced a parallel hybrid (diesel and electric) trolley bus in the 1970's and 1980's known as the PER 180, a few of which saw service in Seattle WA, and at least 48 of which saw service in cities in France, notably Nancy. The PER 180 was designed to run as a pure electric in densely populated areas using a pantograph with overhead supply wires, and to operate using the diesel engine only in areas where operating frequency could not justify the installation of the wiring infrastructure. These articulated buses could carry up to 160 passengers, and were capable of feeding power back to the grid using regenerative braking.
Berliet ER 100
The Reva is to be built in India, with an estimated price tag
of US$5,000. Information as of December 1999, suggests the project
is proceeding on schedule. The following photos were provided by
David Roden, and are used here with permission.
Riker electrics were produced by Riker Electric Motor Co. of
Brooklyn NY from 1888 (first car in 1894) to June 1899, then by
Riker Electric Vehicle Co. of Elizabethsport NJ until December
1900 and finally by the Riker Motor Vehicle Co (still in
Elizabethsport) after 1900, all named for Andrew Lawrence Riker.
While the Riker electrics included a variety of cars including a
record-holder racer, the production vehicles were mostly 2-seater
runabouts and dos-à-dos 4-seaters. The Riker marque is
probably best-known however for their heavy electric trucks. After
a merger with Electric Vehicle Co., only the trucks continued to
be built under the Riker name. There are 3 Rikers in the holdings
of the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn MI: an 1896 3-wheeler
electric Riker 2-seater; an 1898 electric truck (5 ton?); and, the
1901 Riker electric racer which set a world speed record of 57.1
mph. A Riker electric car was used by the Hershey Chocolate
Company in Lancaster PA beginning in February 1900. Andrew Riker
went on to work in the field of gasoline-powered cars, and became
the first president of the American Society of Automotive
The Ripp Electric was a prototype developed by W.E.Rippel in the 1970's. It had a GVW of 1454 kg and claimed a range of 129 km and a top speed of 98 km/h using twenty 6-volt lead-acid batteries (Exide).
This company operates in La Rochelle (France). In the 1980's they produced the Rocaboy Volta, a small 2-seater delivery van. A small number of Rocaboys operated in the Ottawa area in the 1980's.
Ross Auto Engineering
The Royal Automobile Co of Chicago IL produced the Royal in 1905. The car used tiller steering and the runabout model claimed a range of 75 miles on a charge.
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