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1899 La Jamais Contente news, pictures, specifications, and information

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This electric car was the first road vehicle to reach the speed of 100 km/h (62 mph). This land speed record was set on April 29, 1899 by Camille Jenatzy, a Belgian race car driver, near Paris, France.

This vehicle is a replica of the original. It was built in 1993-94 by the students of the Universite de Technologie et du Lycee Technologique de Compiegne, in France.

It is powered by two Electric Motors producing 50 kW each. There are 100 x 2V cells capable of carrying this car to a top speed of 105.9 km/h (65.8 mph).
Both France and Great Britain were the first nations to support the widespread development of electric vehicles during the late 1800s. The first road vehicle that reached the speed of 1/5.882 km/h (5.792 mph), the 1899 La Jamais Contente was a Belgian built electric racing vehicle. Designed by Camille Jénatzy, La Jamais Contente stood for ‘The Never Satisfied'.

Jénatzy broke this land speed record on April 29, 1899 at Achères, Yvelines near Paris, France. The previous record had been reached by Count Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat at 92.78 km/h (57.65 mph) on March 4th 1899. Camille Jénatzy was the son of Constant Jénatzy who was a manufacturer of rubber tires, which at the time was still a novelty. Camille studied as an engineer and he was always interested in electric traction automobiles, an interest he utilized around 1898.

Jénatzy had a passion for the Parisian electric carriage market, so he began a manufacturing plant which would eventually produce numerous electric carriages and trucks. His biggest competitor was carriage maker Jeantaud who he fiercely competed against in publicity stunts to see who made the fastest vehicles. Refusing to lose in the competition, Jenatzy built a bullet shaped prototype, conceived by the carriage maker Rothschild in parinium; an alloy of laminated aluminum, magnesium and tungsten. Following this, the combustion engine utilizing gasoline would overtake electric technology for the next century.

An electric vehicle La Jamais Contente featured light alloy torpedo bodywork though the driver's seat was highly positioned and spoiled much of the aerodynamics. The car was powered by two Electric Motors producing 50 kW each. The vehicle is capable of a top speed of 105.9 km/h (65.8 mph) with 100 x 2V cells. It was equipped with Michelin tires.

A replica of the original is in the automobile museum at Compiègne (Oise) and was built in 1993-94 by the students of the Universite de Technologie et du Lycee Technologique de Compiegne, in France.

By Jessica Donaldson
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