The first electric cars produced by the Baker Motor Vehicle Company of Cleveland, Ohio, had three quarter horsepower motors and a range of up to 50 miles. The Baker-built 'Torpedo' held a electric land speed record in 1902. Baker merged with another electric vehicle maker, Rauch & Lang, in 1915. Then they were absorbed by another builder, the Owen Magnetic Company.
The car shown is a 'V' Extension Front Coupe. It has shaft drive, tiller steering and right and left brake pedals. It uses 84 volts to produce eight horsepower, has six forward speeds and two reverse. It tops out at 23 mph, for up to one hundred miles. Seating for four is provided in wool broadcloth and finely appointed. The car also features locking steering and ignition, and a reverse lockout. The side windows drop down and the windshield pivots out to provide a completely open interior. Electric cars were prized for their crankless starting, smooth operation and silent running.
'Handsome, elegant and dignified,' the Baker Special Extension Coupe by Baker Motor Vehicle Company, based in Cleveland, Ohio, was put on the market to meet the demand for an inside-driven car. It has shaft drive, tiller steering and right and left brake pedals, but 'virtually no mechanical distractions' inside. You could buy one new in 1912 for $2,700.
Baker Motor Vehicle Company produced electric cars from 1899 to 1914. Thomas Edison purchased a Baker Electric as his first car. Edison's batteries were used to power some of the Baker models. An older model (1909) is owned by Jay leno, who calls the interior 'rather froufrou,' highlighting the fact that many electric cars were marketed especially for women. 'The social prestige Baker Electric,' proclaims one ad, 'is the result of years of refined usage by women who will pay for the best.'
This gorgeous 1912 Special Extension Coupe has undergone a complete restoration by Bill Auerbach and the interior has been redone by Mark Larder to bring this beautiful car back to its former glory: 'It is easy to underestimate the difficulty involved in restoring an Edwardian-era car, but special attention was required for the aluminum body panels and patent leather fenders, which were reconstructed by Amish craftsmen.'
In 1913 Baker was overtaken in sales by Detroit Electric. The company merged with Rauch & Lang, and the last baker cars were produced in 1916.