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Some EV History - Page A

Last updated 2011.10.25

Introduction | Acknowledgements | Other Sources of EV History Information
Your Information Is Invited | Why are there so few electric cars?

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Items of Historical Interest in the Development and Commercialization of EVs

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Aktiengesellschaft fur Akkumulatoren und Automobilbau. - Driesen, Brandebourg, Germany, 1919- (1921-1925)

Advanced Technology Transit Bus

A prototype transit bus produced by Grumman-Northrop in 1997 and nicknamed the 'Stealth Bus', this electric / compressed natural gas hybrid vehicle seats 43. The bus weighs some 6,000 pounds less than comparable diesel-powered transit buses due to the use of light-weight materials. The actual drive train is all electric, with the CNG used to generate electricity to keep the batteries charged.


Operating in France in 1926 and 1927, A.E.M. (Applications Electro-Mecaniques), 148 Ave. du Roule, Neuilly s/Seine, produced a front-wheel drive electric town-car and a light van, both using the same chassis. They also introduced the Électrocyclette in 1927, an electric cyclecar (3-wheeler - 2 wheels in front, one in the rear). It appears few of the cyclecars were produced.


Wartime emergency Corre, q.v.,France

Ajax Motor Vehicle Co.

Manufacturer of electric runabouts in New York City, approximately 1901 - 1903.

Alexandra - see Phoenix Carriage Company


Altha Auto and Power Co., Dover, Delaware, USA

Amectran Company

Based in Dallas TX in the late 1970's, this firm produced the Exar-1 prototype, a car reportedly capable of 117 km on a charge and a maximum speed of 113 km/h using 24 lead-acid batteries. Despite having a body made primarily of Kevlar and sleek lines, writers at the time were skeptical of the range claims for the vehicle. Probably only one prototype was produced, primarily for promotional purposes.

This item appeared in the Minneapolis-St.Paul Star-Tribune on November 3, 1999 (page METRO 03B):
Resentencing ordered in electric car scam
Margaret Zack; StaffWriter (Copyright 1999)
A man who invented an electric car and defrauded Minnesota investors of about $1.5 million must be resentenced, the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
Edmond X. Ramirez, of Las Vegas, had been ordered to pay nearly $3.1 million in restitution, but the Appeals Court said it was improper to include restitution to victims outside the state who weren't part of the project in Willmar, Minn. Ramirez said he was going to build an electric-car assembly plant in Willmar but instead spent the money on a lavish lifestyle.
The Appeals Court said U.S. District Judge Michael Davis erred in relying on a presentence investigation report putting the fraud loss at more than $3 million.
Ramirez was sentenced in November 1998 to 6 1/2 years in prison.
The Appeals Court said the proper fraud loss is $1.54 million.
Sentencing guidelines for that level suggest a sentence between four years and three months, and six years and three months.

Note, it only took about 20 years from the time of the infraction until the sentence was reached.

Received from Edmond X. Ramirez Sr. (of Amectran), 2006.09.01:
" Your information is incorrect concerning your note vis-á-vis, “Note, it only took about 20 years from the time of the infraction until the sentence was reached.” First of all I suggest you go to and get some of the more accurate information. During the 20 year period mentioned in your note, there were several cases (infractions as you call them…accusations of so called infractions) in each and every case, accused of being a fraud, crook, con-man, etc., claiming the car was a fraud, thereby making him a crook, the government lost those cases because the car was tested and worked…even to the point that the highest authority in America, the United States Secretary of Transportation testified before the United States Senate as to the legitimacy of the EXAR-1 suggesting the government should purchase the Ramirez electric automobile…three weeks later, the Secretary was forced to resign, as was the United States Secretary of Commerce when she offered fund a factory to product the EXAR-1 electric automobile. No man who has the world’s first real electric automobile – one that actually works, tested by the highest authority for automobiles in this country, the United States Department of Transportation – a man who has built an electric automobile praised by the judge as a “…miracle car….’, tried and tested, proven to be real, a car that actually works and the world is waiting for, a car that will make him billions, with a contract worth $180 million dollars from the Peoples Republic of China, is going to risk all that for a lousy couple of million dollars…use some common sense…if you can’t kill the car, go after the inventor. It’s been some 10 years and there is nothing on the market to compare to the Ramirez EXAR-1 electric car – what’s out there today still depends on OIL and does not effect the automobile industry as would the EXAR-1, its manufacturing and replacement parts benefits to the average automobile purchaser. It, as your note indicates, has been a misinformation process by the government…we chased him for 20 years and finally got him…is a lie, as the previous cases had to do with the car…when it was proved in each and every case that the car was real, that the car actually worked, that the car was a legitimate product, when they could no longer keep Ramirez broke by constantly keeping him in court accusing the car and thereby accusing him of being a fraud, he was left alone because he was broke and couldn’t proceed….BUT THEN ENTERS THE PEOPLES REPUBLIC OF CHINA AND…if they get hold of the EXAR-1, it will be manufactured and sold throughout the world…isn’t it strange that the government confiscated the EXAR-1 just a few days before it was to be shipped to China, where they would pay $20 million U.S. Dollars on a contract with Ramirez worth $180 million…isn’t that some coincident…isn’t it interesting that a nonsense charge of “…having no intention to take his company public…” would be the total downfall and destruction of the world’s first real production EXAR-1 electric automobile? Innuendos and implications like your “Note….”, suggest, and simply add to the misinformation that is spread by the infamous “they” , who are “they”, who would kill speculation of why…would ‘they’ continue to chase, harass, victimize, spread lies, etc., etc., if the car worked…why would you go continue to go after a man who has proved his electric automobile, proved it works, after calling him a fraud, after claiming he’s a con-man, fraud and crook because the car is a phony…and when he proves the car is real, and it works…why would they still continue trying to destroy him? Like Preston Tucker (see the movie ‘Tucker a Man and His Dream’ you might some idea of what the EXAR-1 went through) except in the case of Ramirez, ‘they’ knew he would never quit unless ‘they’ buried him…and they did…if they didn’t, ‘they’ knew he would never give up…think about that…"

Received from William Dutton (of Amectran), 2006.09.06:
"Fact changes to your site I would appreciate your correcting; 1) the car was not just simply reportedly capable, it was in fact tested twice by the government, the Department of Transportation proven the EXAR-1 more than capable...your first line is a misleading statement to the reader. 2) The innuendo in your statement "Probably only one prototype was produced, primarily for promotional purposes." flies in the face of published government and public recourse facts of the number of vehicles. Innuendo and speculation, misleading information is the basis for the destruction of Amectran and the EXAR-1. Even the Judge in the case was so anxious to add to this miscarriage of justice that he lied, broke the law, was caught, nothing was done to him, while he illegally attempted to increase the sentence and when caught, gave the might look to Enron execs who stole billions and murders who get less time than that... I was hoping to see the corrections to the site and the site link...after all, it would be nice to start seeing some truth about Amectran and a place where people can find it...or at least the opportunity for intelligent people to make up their minds when they are allowed to see actual facts, not media creations; to make their own determination as to why the government, after testing the car time and time again, proving that it did, in fact, work, continued to call it a con, continuing to do everything to discredit it and eventually destroy the EXAR-1 by any the story of the 'Count of Monte Christo' there was the following statement, "Seek whom the crime will profit,' says an axiom of jurisprudence." The question to be answered is who benefited by the destruction of the EXAR-1 project? After all, the keystone was the EXAR-1 Electric Automobile...the denouement was its any means."

EXAR-1 Promotional Book

I don't have time to research the matter further at this point. Webmaster.

American Electric Vehicle Company

Based in Chicago, IL from 1896 to 1902, and in Hoboken, NJ in the latter part of 1902, this company built a small number of electric cars and commercial vehicles.
Image of American Road Buggy with top from 1900 brochure (B&W - 95k) (courtesy W. Zablosky)

American Motor Car Co.

Also built a car named the American Electric in Cleveland Ohio 1902-1910, different from the American Electric built by the American Electric Vehicle Co. of Chicago 1899-1902.

AMC - see American Motors Corporation

American Motors Corporation

AMC flirted with electric vehicles, mostly in the 1970's. They produced a concept car and mini-van based on electric-drive, co-operated with Electric Fuel Propulsion to convert a Hornet to electric drive (Electrosport), and co-operated with Gould to convert Jeeps to electric drive (DJ5E), primarily for use by the U.S. Post Office. The Amitron was built by AMC in co-operation with Gulton Industries in 1968. Electric Vehicle Associates of Cleveland OH converted AMC Pacers to electric power (known as the Change-of-Pace). AMC was absorbed by Chrysler Corporation in the 1980's, after AMC had absorbed the remains of Renault's North American operations. Chrysler was subsequently merged into the Daimler car company in the late 1990's.


The Amitron used lithium-nickel-flouride batteries, boasted a top speed of 50 mph and a range of 150 miles, however, the vehicle never advanced beyond the prototype stage. The Amitron emphasized reducing weight to improve performance and range, including the use of air cushions instead of foam rubber in the passenger seats.


Also called the Electruc, 352 of these vehicles were produced in 1974. The vehicles had a rated payload of 500 pounds, with a top speed of 53 km/hr and a maximum range or 48 km.
Photo of DJ5E electric jeep in United States Postal Service markings (B&W - 29k, courtesy W. Zablosky)

AM General

Amitron - see American Motors Corporation


1'Avant-train Amiot et Peneau. -1, Ave. Pinel, Asnieres (Seine). France,1898-(1901-1905)

Anderson - see Detroit


Colorado Springs, Colo, USA, 1897


A prototype electric produced by Ford Motor Company in the 1960's or 1970's, weighing in at 1,200 pounds and boasting some reasonable aerodynamics for the period.


The Argo Electric Vehicle Company operated in Saginaw MI from 1912 to 1916. The Argo Brougham was a 4 passenger car, weighing 3200 lbs, claimed a range of 75 miles per charge using thirty 190 ah, MV Exide batteries. It had 6 forward and 6 reverse speeds and 36 x 4 cushion tires and used an 18 inch steering wheel on the left. The 110 inch wheelbase was the longest of any electric at the time. The vehicle had a 60 volt system with Westinghouse motors, these cars were capable of 20 mph. 4 and 5 wheeled models were made in open and closed versions, all models used wheel steering. In 1914, Argo joined with the Broc and Borland electric vehicle companies. In 1916 the Columbia Motors Company purchased the assets of Argo.
Picture of 1912 Argo Brougham (B&W - k) (courtesy W. Zablosky)


The Arola was made in France in the late 1970's. The electric version was a conversion of a gasoline model. Boasting a 0.44 DC hp motor and four 12-volt lead-acid batteries, the two seater, two door, three-wheeler production prototype was 68 inches long, 42 inches wide and 62 inches high. It's maximum speed was 19 mph, and was advertised as having a range of 40 miles at a cruising speed of 16 mph. List price was US$3000, though it is unlikely many, if any, were sold.
Picture of the Arola (B&W - 31k) (courtesy W. Zablosky)

Aronson, Robert - see Electric Fuel Propulsion


Arrol-Aster- the Mo-Car Syndicate, Ld., Underwood, Paisley;
Arrol-Johnston, Ld.- Heathhall, Dumfries. Great Britain. 1895-1931


Akkumulatorenfbk.,A.G. - Bredovska, Prague II, CS. Somewhere between 1921-1925


Originally established in 1912 in Newark, NJ, the Atlantic Vehicle Company, this firm was established to build gasoline-electric cars and trucks, but it seems only electric trucks were actually produced. After a reorganization in 1915, the company was known as the Atlantic Electric Vehicle Co. and continued producing commercial electric delivery trucks for a few more years.

January 1916 Atlantic electric truck advertisement (Boston Excelsior)
January 1916 Atlantic electric truck advertisement (Castles' Ice Cream)


This was a small electric motorcycle produced in the U.S. There is one of these in the collection of the Canadian National Museum of Science and Technology. One is owned by the author. One was reported in private hands in Toronto ON in 1979. Others have been reported in operation in B.C. and California as of 1998, with another being restored in England.
Photo of Auranthetic motorcycle (colour - 151k)


Auto Red Bug - see Red Bug


The Autodynamic Co.- West 19th Street, New York City, USA, 1901


Ste.Anon. Auto-Mixte.- rue Hayeneux,Herstal-lez-Liege.Somewhere between 1911-1915


The Autoette was produced by the Autoette Electric Car Co.of Long Beach CA, apparently from the late 1940s (some early one-offs possibly as early as late 1930s) and into the 1970s. It was a small electric car, generall a 1 or 2-seater designed for running short errands. The vehicles were apparently inexpensive and popular for their intended use.

The following information was provided by an Autoette owner:
After W.W.II, a couple of enterprising young Vets from Long Beach Calif., bought a bunch of Army Surplus, 24 volt, Sherman Tank turret motors & from 1952 through 1957 manufactured the Autoette. An electrically powered, two seat utility-vehicle/personal-conveyance for the physically disabled. Power was supplied by 4 deep cycling 6-volt batteries, designed & manufactured by the Trojan Battery Co. of Santa Fe Springs Calif. It's rumored that these popular & sturdy little Tanks from the 50's, were the for runners of the Golf Carts of today.

From another Autoette owner, this information (and images):
We believe this vehicle to be a 1949 Autoette "CruiseAbout" built by the Long Beach Electric Car Co. It was a basket case when we found it, but still running on a single 27D 12 Volt Battery. Normally runs on 4, 6 Volt the original "Golf Cart Battery" The picture attached is after this winter's restoration project. We now own two others, that are in fair original condition. A 1951 CruiseAbout, and a 1961 4 Seater. We use them all to tool around our little beach community. The Autoette is about 3 feet wide and 6 feet long. (For more information e-mail
Cruiseabout on the road (colour - 97K)
Cruiseabout in the garage (colour - 105K)

There was an [dead link:] Autoette discussion group but Yahoo killed Groups.

The discussion group on Flikr appears to be operational, but inactive.

2018 article on the Autoettes of Long Beach (Long Beach Post)

Wikipedia entry for Autoette

Vintage Golf Cart Parts site entry for Autoette

Image of an Autoette in front of a dealership (Historical Society of Long Beach)

Image of Autoette dealership in Pasadena with vehicles circa 1950 (University of California)

An Autoette in the EV Album

California Vehicle Code 175 (updated 2024.01.01) which begins with:
An "autoette" is a motor vehicle, located on a natural island with an area in excess of 20,000 acres and that is within a county having a population in excess of 4,000,000, that meets all of the following requirements:
(No, I did not make this up - check the link for yourself.)



Built by the Automatic Electric Transmission Co. of Buffalo NY. The 1921 Automatic Electric was a small 2-seater with top speed of 18 mph and a range of 60 miles per charge. It had a 65 inch wheelbase, and weighed 900 lbs. It sold for $1200. In 1927 the company was bought by the Walker Electric Company.


The Averly was a light electric car built in France (Lyons?), possibly from 1899 to 1903. Only small numbers were produced.

Avia 1250

An electric truck with a GVW of 3,300 kg built in Spain in either the late 1970's or early 1980's. At least 10 were produced.

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