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Some EV History - Page B

Last updated 2009.10.23

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

- B -

B & Z Electric Car Co.

Beginning in 1961 in Long Beach CA, and later in Signal Hill CA, the B &Z were probably best known for producing the Electra King, although they were reported to make both a 1/4-ton truck and a 1/2 ton pickup, named Ranchos. The cars were referred to as deluxe and economy coupes, and a surrey. They were still operating in 1981, but appear to have succumbed some time since then. prices ranged in 1974 from US$2180. to US$3395.
Picture of 3-wheeler Electra King (B&W - 24k) (courtesy W. Zablosky)
Picture of 4-wheeler Electra King (B&W - 19k) (courtesy W. Zablosky)

Electra King

The Electra King was a light 2-seater runabout with an enclosed body. 3 and 4-wheeler versions were produced. The 4-wheeler was not in production from 1968 to 1970. These cars were designed for short-range, low-speed missions like running errands. Literature indicates ranges per charge from 40 to 60 km, and maximum speeds up to 40 km/h, and either 4 or 6 batteries being used, depending on the model and year of production.


Built from 1906 to 1912 by the Babcock Electric Carriage Co. in Buffalo, NY. The company was founded by F.A. Babcock, who began building electric cars in 1903. Mr. Babcock was also President of the Buffalo Electric Company from 1901 to 1906. The Buffalo Electric Vehicle Company was formed after the Babcock firm ceased production in 1912.
May 1908 Babcock advertisement (B&W - 61k)
1911 Babcock Model 16 Touring Car brochure image (B&W - 161k) (courtesy W. Zablosky)


The firm of S.R. Bailey & Co. of Amesbury, MA produced electric cars from 1907 to 1915. Various models were produced. An example of the 1913 2-seater electric runabout is in the collection of the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn MI.


The Baker Motor Vehicle Co. of Cleveland, OH was an industry leader for the duration of its operations from 1899 to 1916. Several models were offered over the years, from 2-seaters to limousines. In 1915, Baker absorbed the R.M. Owen Co., which built the Owen Magnetic. After the heyday of the on-road electrics were over in the early 20th century, the Baker company survived in the industrial vehicle market. The Linde-Baker company is the corporate descendent of the original Baker Motor Vehicle Co. Walter C. Baker, the founder of the company, constructed and drove the 1902 Baker Torpedo established a land-speed record over 1 km. There is an example of a 1908 Baker electric in the holdings of the Canadian National Museum of Science and Technology. There is a 1901 Baker Runabout in the holdings of the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn MI. A correspondent has informed that there is a 1914 Baker Stanhope in the holdings of the Imperial Palace in Las Vegas, NV.
Photo of 1904 Baker (colour - 34k) courtesy Ben Parker/John Sprinkler/Lew Miller(owner)
Photo of 1908 Baker (colour - 178k)
1908 Baker Model Line advertisement (colour - 161k)
Queen Victoria advertisement (May 1909) (colour - 84k)
Period advertisement (November 1909) (B&W - 105k)
1912 Baker advertisement (colour - 79k)


The Barrows Vehicle Co. of Willimantic CN produced 3-wheeler electrics in 1897 and 1898. The cars were 2-seaters, with the drive on the single front wheel. They may have had a significant distribution outlet in New York.

B.A.T. International

B.A.T. can best speak for themselves. See their Web page.


The Battronic Truck Corporation of Boyertown PA has produced a variety of commercial and utility electric vehicles, including trucks, vans and mini-buses, over a period of decades. Battronic hits its peak in 1973, courtesy of the OPEC oil squeeze, producing 107 vans that year. A Battronic stepvan and a Battronic bus were purchased by the Canadian Department of National Defence in the late 1970's. The Battronic step van was sold to an individual in Ottawa and now sits in a field in rural Quebec as a storage shed. Disposition of the Battronic bus is unknown. A Battronic Minivan was purchased by Hydro-Quebec in 1975. A Battronic van was purchased by BC Hydro in 1974, which was subsequently sold to a private company in Abbotsford BC. A Model MO96NLB van was purchased by the Province of Manitoba in 1976, which was later acquired by a private individual in Willowdale ON. A Battronic van operated by Philadelphia Electric was donated to Cinnaminson High School in New Jersey in 1984.

Battronic Truck Corporation was sold to Boyertown Trolley Corporation (of Pensacola FL) in 1990. (see also Boyertown Trolley Corporation).

A Battronic delivery van is on display at the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles.

Volta Pickup

M065NLB Step Van


The Beardsley Electric Co. of Los Angeles CA operated from 1915 to 1917. They produced as many as 12 different models. At least one report places them in San Francisco in the same period.

Beaumont, Robert (Bob)

see also Renaissance Cars, Sebring-Vanguard


Berliner, Elektromobil-Fabrik, A.G. - Puttkamerstr., Berlin, S.W. 48. somewhere between 1911 and 1925


The Belmont Electric Co. of Wyandotte MI operated in 1916. The company produced commercial electric vehicles and electric limousines.


Bergmann Elektrizitats-Werke, A.G.-Lindenallee, Rosenthal, Berlin. Germany. Somewhere between 1911 and 1925


Based in Lambeth, London, S.E., England, W.C. Bersey built an electric omnibus in the 1880's, and produced electric cars from 1895 to 1899. These included Bersey cabs that operated in London, England from 1897 to 1899. The cabs are remembered for the fact that the Prince of Wales rode in one in November 1897. The Bersey cabs had a removable battery box to allow the exchange of charged batteries for a discharged pack.


La societe de la voiture Bouquet, Garcin et Schivre of 12 Ave de Madrid, Neuilly, France produced electric cars from 1899 to 1906. They produced a range of vehicles from dogcarts to small buses, and including phaetons con commercial vehicles. One of their cars established a one-charge range record of 262 km (about 180 miles) in 1899. The company produced their own batteries for use in the vehicles.


Binney and Burnham- Boston, Mass. USA, 1899-1902


Cleveland Ohio, USA, 1906-1907


The Bleichert Transportanlagen GmbH of Leipzig, Germany produced a small 2-seater electric car from 1936 to 1939.


Blondel et Crepin. - 13, Boulevard Baraban, Amiens (Somme). France. Somewhere between 1901 and 1905.




Nope, not the Bavarian Motor Works, but the Boulevard Machine Works of Los Angeles CA. Beginning in 1949, this firm produced electric mini-cars and golf-carts. In 1966 they built a larger roadster, which probably operated on 48 volts worth of lead-acid golf-cart batteries powering 2 motors, for which they claimed a maximum speed of 70 mph.


Bombardier began production of their NEV (Neighbourhood Electric Vehicle) in late 1996, with sales targetted in the U.S. Sunbelt in gated communities and jurisdictions that encourage the use of pollution-free vehicles with low maximum speeds. There is more information on this vehicle at the [site no longer exists:] Bombardier NEV Web page.
Photo of Bombardier NEV used by Peachtree City, GA Police (colour - 460K)

As of late 1999, there are indications that Bombardier is withdrawing from the electric car market, after spending in excess of (estimated) US$25,000,000 to get into it starting in late 1997.


The H.F. Borbein Co.- St. Louis, Mo, USA , 1903


Also known as Borland-Grannis. The Borland-Grannis Co. appears to have operated in Chicago IL from 1903 to 1914, and from 1914 to 1916 in Saginaw MI. There may have been some sort of merger with Broc or Argo or both in the operations in Saginaw. The Borlands used General Electric motors and a shaft drive.

Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles

The Boyertown Museum has several electric vehicles in its collection, including trucks, cars and motorcyles from the early to late 1900s.

Boyertown Trolley Corporation

Boyertown Trolley is still in operation (as of 1998) in Pensacola FL. They produce trolleys, trams and trucks. Drive trains include gasoline, diesel and electric - both battery and overhead wire/pantograph versions. This company purchased the assets of Battronic Truck Corporation in 1990, and still have the engineering drawings used by Battronic. Check out their website for details of some of their vehicles.
Image of 1997 Tram operating in Barbados (colour - 156K)


Bradley was known for producing fibreglass body kits for converting VW Beetle chassis to a low slung sportster with gull-wing doors, known as the Bradley GT. In the wake of the 1970's OPEC oil squeeze, they also provided a package of components that permitted conversion of the vehicle to electric power - mating an electric motor to the original manual tranmission. Bradley did build some of these cars themselves for sale as turnkey vehicles ready to be driven by the purchaser. These electric versions were known as the Bradley GTE (the "E" suffix for electric). The also produced a Ford T-Bird (Thunderbird) replicar called the Veebird, that was also available in an electric version.


Brecht Automobile Company, 1207 Cass Avenue, St. Louis, Mo., USA 1901-1903. Succeeded by Borland?

Briggs & Stratton

Known primarily as makers of small air-cooled gasoline-powered engines, Briggs & Stratton commissioned the construction of an electric hybrid utilizing one of their engines. The base chassis was a Marathon C-360 van, which is clear when you see the unique 6-wheel layout. The custom body bore a strong resemblance to a station wagon, and the demonstration vehicle received considerable media attention in 1980. Briggs & Stratton claimed the vehicle was capable of travelling 85 miles on a gallon of gasoline. The vehicle is held by the Briggs & Stratton museum.
Image of B&S Hybrid (colour - 154k) (courtesy W. Zablosky)

Briggs & Stratton period pamphlet
Front Panel (colour - 80k)
Second Panel (colour - 99k)
Third Panel (colour - 101k)
See-through diagram of the vehicle and major components (colour - 96k)
Specifications (1 of 2) (colour - 88k)
Specifications (2 of 2) (colour - 59k)


Britannia Electric Carriage Syndicate, Ld.-Britannia Works, Colchester, Great Britain, 1896-1899


The Broc Carriage & Wagon Co, originally of Cleveland, OH, and later of Saginaw, MI, produced electric cars from 1909 to 1916. They offered as many as four models during any year. They manufactured stanhopes, Victorias, coupes, a brougham Model 32 and a double drive brougham. Series motors were used with either chain or shaft drives, depending on the year and model. Some vehicles used front drive and others used rear drive. In 1914, the company was merged with Argo and Borland. The company President was Mr. F.A. Brand.
Image of Broc Stanhope Model 20 (B&W - 128k) (courtesy W. Zablosky)

Brush Pony Milk Float

There is a 1947 Brush Pony Electric Milk Float (electric) in the (British) National Motor Museum (Beaulieu) collection. There is another in the collection of the Ipswich Transport Museum.

[Dead link:] Image of Brush Pony at Ipswich Transport Museum website


Buffalo Electric Carriage Company.- Military Rd. Buffalo, NY. USA, 1900-1906. Predecessor to the Babcock. (see Babcock)

In 1912, a new Buffalo Electric Vehicle Co. was formed which succeeded the Babcock Electric Carriage Co., the Buffalo Automobile Station Co., and the Clark Motor Co.


The Byrider Electric Auto Co. of Cleveland OH operated in 1908 and 1909, producing small 2-seater electric cars.

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