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Some EV History - Page S

Last updated 2009.02.21

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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Electric Delivery Van


Produced at La Cournuece (France) in 1941, this appears to be another of the very small electrics produced in small numbers in response to the lack of gasoline in wartime France. This vehicle was a 2-seater with a top speed of 30 mph.

Saturday Evening Post

The March 12, 1960 edition of the Saturday Evening Post featured a solid survey article titled "Are Electric Cars Coming Back?" It gives a very good overview of the status of electric cars in the United States in 1960. Text of the article 'Are Electric Cars Coming Back?'


The S.B. Automobilgesellschaft mbH of Berlin (Germany) produced small single-seater, 4-wheeler electric car from 1920 to 1924. This vehicle had a wooden body but no chassis. A 2-wheeler trailer could be attached to provide seating for a second person. The letters S & B were for Slaby and Beringer. The firm was taken over by D.K.W. and the principles of building cars with wooden bodies and no chassis was continued in the D.K.W. and D.E.W. cars.


May have produced electric and hybrid buses in Sweden.


Heinrich Scheele of Cologne (Germany) produced electric cars and trucks from 1899 to 1906 under his own name and subsequently under the firm Kölner Elektromobil-Gesellschaft Heinrich Scheele from 1906 into the 1920's. A number of models were offered over the years, although production of private electric cars ceased in 1910. Electric commercial vehicles were still produced after 1910. Some of the early Scheeles were sold in England under the Imprimus marque.

Scholl Sun Power


A small 2-seater produced in Europe in the late 1990's.


The Elektrizitäts-Aktiengesellschaft vorm. Schuckert & Co. of Nuremberg (Germany) produced electric vehicles from 1899 to 1903, when the firm was absorbed by Siemens (see also Siemens-Schuckert). Electric cars were produced only in 1899 and 1900, and commercial electric vehicles were produced until 1903.


Produced in St. Louis MO by the St. Louis Electric Automobile Co. in 1899 and 1900, and then by the Scott Automobile Co. until 1901, the Scott was a small, simple electric 2-seater electric car.

Sears, Roebuck & Co. - see XDH-1


This company was known primarily as the producer of the CitiCar.



Produced by Freight Rover BL of England, the Sherpa electric van was a full-size delivery van produced in the early 1980's. At least 100 were produced. A K2-250 Sherpa Van is in the holdings of the Ipswich Transport Museum.
[Dead link:] Image and description of Sherpa Van at Ipswich Transport Museum website.


After Siemens took over Schuckert in 1906, the Siemens-Schuckert GmbH, Automobilwerk of Berlin (Germany) continued the production of electric and gasoline-electric hybrid cars until 1910.

Silver Volt - see Electric Auto Corporation


The Silvertown Co. of London (England) made a variety of private electric cars from 1905 to 1910. The company was a subsidiary of the India Rubber Co., and used batteries and chassis' made by the parent company. One interesting vehicle was introduced by the company in 1908 which had 4-wheel drive as an option using a motor on each axle.

Sinclair - see C5


This firm produced large garbage trucks. At least 300 of these vehicles operated in Paris (France) in the 1970's and 1980's.

Smith Flyer - see Red Bug

Smith's Electric Vehicles

Cabac 65

Cabac 75

Cabac 85

Cabac Jubilee 77

[Dead link:] Electric Milk Float


Socovel produced an electric scooter in Belgium beginning in 1941. The following information and image come from a collector card of unknown origin.

Electric vehicles took on a special importance in Occupied Europe during World War II because gasoline was strictly rationed. In Belgium, under German occupation since the spring of 1940, the Limelette brothers decided to get around gas rationing by building an electric motorcycle in the Socovel factory. The first prototype ran in January 1941. The example shown is one of 15 machines build later that year, during the model's first production run.

Three six-volt batteries carried in the roomy central trunk gave the Socovel a range of around 30 miles at a speed of 15 to 20 mph. Though it was costly, the Socovel was as successful as any machine could be in those difficult times, and around 400 were built. But their limited performance worked against them when gas was once again available after the Liberation, after which Socovel altered their production scheme to handle 123cc Villiers two-stroke engines for their first postwar motorcycles.

Engine: ACEC electric motor powered by three 6V 45AH batteries
Power Rating: 1 hp
Transmission: chain
Suspension: (front) girder forks; (rear) rigid
Brakes: drums
Wheels: 2.25x18 in wire
Weight: 165 lb
Maximum Speed: 15 to 20 mph
Recharging time: 10 hours

The Germans wanted Socovels to use as ferrying vehicles on their airfields, but Socovel's reluctance to supply the army of occupation was so strong that the order was never fulfilled.

Image of the Socovel Electric Scooter (colour - 75k)

Solar Cars


Appears to be a conversion of an AMC Hornet station wagon.


See Solectria's Web Page for more information about Solectria and their vehicles including the Force sedan, E-10 pickup, Citivan and Sunrise.

Soleq Corp.

Soleq converted Ford Escorts to electric power and marketed them as the EVcort in the 1980's. These vehicles carried 18 6-volt lead-acid batteries, used a 5-speed manual transmission and boasted a curb weight of 1,836 kg.

South Coast Technology

Located in Dearborn MI in the late 1970's and early 1980's, this firm was known primarily for converting VW Rabbits to electric power, which were then known as the R-1. 24 of their vehicles were put into service by Detroit Edison in 1981. SCT also designed and manufactured 10 vans for ITT Continental Baking Co. SCT closed out operations in 1983, and their assets and rights to use their designs were acquired by Eagle-Picher.


SCT Pickup

There was also an SCT pickup truck vehicle which was a conversion of the VW front-wheel-drive pickup based on the VW Rabbit body and chassis. This vehicle had a top speed of 60 mph and a range of 65 miles per charge (at a constant 35 mph). Powered by a Siemens separately-excited DC motor rated at 18 kW mated to the original VW manual transaxle unit, the pickup stored its power using 18 6-volt lead-acid batteries, providing a nominal 108-volt power system.

ITT Continental Baking Vans

10 of these vans were delivered to ITT in the early 1980's and were used in Spokane WA and Sacramento CA. With a top speed of 45 mph and a range of 30 to 50 miles per charge, the vans were powered by a 50 hp separately excited DC electric motor with energy stored in six 24-volt lead-acid batteries. A solid state controller and regenerative braking were employed. The vans had a GVW rating of 15,000 pounds, of which 2,500 pounds was for payload.


Le Societé des Voitures Electriques of Paris (France) produced electric tractor units to replace horses on horse-drawn carriages from 1900 to 1903.


Spijkstaal 412

Spijkstaal 1500

Spijkstaal 2000

Spijkstaal 3000


The Standard Electric Car Co. of Jackson, MI produced a number of models of electric cars from 1912 to 1915. Using Westinghouse motors, the line of cars claimed a range of 110 miles on a charge and a top speed of 20 mph. Tiller steering was used.


The Steinmetz Electric Motor Car Corporation operated in Baltimore MD from 1923 to 1925. Notable more for the involvement of Charles Steinmetz, a leader in the electrical industry of the period, than for production of vehicles. It is doubtful this company produced more than prototypes, and may not have actually sold any vehicles.


The firm Véhicules Electriques Stéla of Lyons (France) was a major manufacturer of electric vehicles in France during the Second World War, operating from 1941 to 1948. The first vehicles were primitive, but the Type RCA, a closed-bodied, 4-door, 5-seater began production in 1942. A significant number of these were produced and were used as private cars, taxis and by government officials. Production of the electric car ceased soon after the war ended as gasoline became commonly available, but commercial electric vehicles continued to be built for another 3 years.


The Officine Meccaniche Stigler SA of Turin (Italy) were primarily producers of electric-powered commercial vehicles, but they did produce a few private electric cars between 1921 and 1925. The cars were 2 and 4-seaters which looked much like the gasoline-powered cars of the period, complete with fake radiator grillwork and hoods.

Still, William - see Featherstonhaugh, Frederick


The Story was produced in the Netherlands from 1941 to 1944, another electric car built in response to the shortages of gasoline during the Second World War. The Story was a 2-seater, 3-wheeler with the single wheel at the front.

Strong & Rogers

The Strong & Rogers Co. of Cleveland, OH made an electric 2-seater in a variety of models from economical to ornate & elegant.

Structural Plastics



Stuart Motors of Kalamazoo MI built a prototype electric car in 1961. Using an enclosed fibreglass body and designed as a family car, it claimed a range of 40 miles per charge at a cruising speed of 35 mph using a single electric motor rated at 4 hp and eight 6-volt lead-acid batteries. It appears only prototypes were built.


Studebaker produced approximately 2,000 electric cars from 1902 to 1912.
[Site no longer exists:] Article "Studebaker Electrics - 1902-1912; Studebaker's First Automobiles" by Fred K. Fox from The Studebaker Drivers Club Inc publication "Turning Wheels", August 2001 Volume 33, No. 8 about the Studebaker Electrics.
(Article titled "THE 1902 STUDEBAKER ELECTRIC" by auto historian Howard L. Applegate in (July - August) 1971 - Volume 35 - No. 4) edition of Antique Automobile Magazine)

1902 Studebaker Electric photo copyright Bob Wing 1995 - used here with permission (colour - 389 k)
circa 1908 Studebaker Electric Omnibus Model #2008, approximate weight: 2,500 lbs. (colour - 30 k)


Sundancer - see McKee Engineering



Postal Delivery Van


The Synnestvedt Machine Co. of Pittsburgh PA produced electric cars from 1904 to 1908. These cars were 2-seaters using an 80-volt set of lead-acid batteries, a single electric motor and chain drive to the rear axle.


The Syracuse Automobile Co. of Syracuse NY produced a small electric 2-seater from 1899 to 1903. The car was also known as the Van Wagoner, after the original designer William Van Wagoner.

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