The Detroit Electric Car Company made more than 12,000 Electric cars between 1907 and 1939.
In 1900, electric cars outsold those powered by steam or gasoline, but within a few years the superior range of gasoline-fueled cars had pushed electric cars to the margins of the market. In response. electric car makers targeted women, many of whom had trouble crank-starting gasoline cars-and-shifting the primitive early transmission. Electric autos started with the turn of a key and had no transmission. Companies like Detroit Electric aimed to attract wealthy women by building roomy, elegant cars with interiors that resembled parlors. But the advent of electric starters on gasoline cars in 1912 spelled trouble for electric car makers. Detroit Electric, which had made almost 1900 cars in 1916, produced only 143 of this 1922 model.
This car was originally owned by Mrs. Joseph Ballard of Binghamton, New York from 1922 until 1934. It was donated to the Henry Ford Museum in 1934. The original 1922 selling price was $2,985, which is equivalent to $38,000 in modern times.
This car has a top speed of 25 mph and a range of perhaps 60 miles.
There were 143 Detroit Electric cars made in 1922 and this is one of two known to still exist. A total of 13,000 Detroit Electric cars were produced from 1907 to 1939; it has been estimated there are only 94 left in the world today.
Electric cars were a very common sight on the American roads during the early 1900's. In 1900, 38 percent of American automobiles were powered by electricity, 40 percent by steam and 22 percent by gasoline. 33,842 electric cars were registered in the United States in 1900. Electric cars were used in a large part by women and doctors. Doctors needed a car that they could get in and go and gasoline engines were not that easy to start or reliable. Because hand cranking a car was difficult and could be dangerous, the electric cars were very popular with women.
The real demise of the electric car began with the invention of the first practical electric starter in 1911 which was first used in 1912 by Cadillac.