The First EV Car and Driver Ever Reviewed, from 1960

From the January 1960 challenge of Athletics Cars and trucks Illustrated.

We lately drove a car that, when it reaches creation, could choose the second-motor vehicle sector by storm. The most un­usual car of conventional configuration to be en­gineered in this place in a lot of a long time, it will be manufac­tured by the Nic-L-Silver Battery Company of Santa Ana, California. There will be no gasoline or air air pollution prob­lems with the “Pioneer,” as it is called, for this is the most promising to date of the quite a few electrical vehicles currently being engi­neered in a variety of cities. Assessments therefore significantly reveal running expenses will be below ⅓ cent for each mile.

The two-seater physique is of laminated fiberglass by Alken with a removable tricky top rated that attaches by 4 thumb screws. Powering the person bucket seats, which transfer considerably enough back to enable a 6-footer reasonable ease and comfort, are 12 4-volt collection-wired batteries of particular style and design created by Nic-L-­Silver. Concealed beneath rugged flooring which serves as baggage space, these lead-acid batteries have two cells every with 31 plates for each cell and a capacity of eight several hours at 235 ampere-hours.

A box section steel frame of very simple but rugged construc­tion carries the entire torsion-bar suspension, which intently resembles the Volkswagen layout. Two electrical motors, each and every offering eight shaft horsepower, are applied there is one to every single rear wheel, the latter being pushed by a rugged sprocket and chain procedure that is geared down to preserve electricity. Prime speed is 50 miles an hour, but acceleration to this max­imum is amazingly brisk, quicker than that of the normal little imported motor vehicle.

1960 pioneer electric batteries
The Pioneer Electric’s batteries.

Car or truck and Driver

Driving is simple and most enjoyable. The seats are as cozy as individuals in most smaller sports vehicles. In fact one sits quite lower with the legs outstretched. There are two pedals, just one being the usual brake pedal which operates a conven­tional hydraulic process with expanding shoe brakes with a person slave cylinder in just about every wheel. The other pedal is a broad one for acceleration with an operation best described as two-stage. For regular driving at metropolis website traffic speeds, 25 to 35 miles an hour, the accelerator is depressed fewer than halfway, and the drain on the batteries is 24 volts at the most. For entire acceleration and speeds approaching the utmost, the pedal is frustrated previous the midway mark, whereupon the voltage used methods or attains the utmost of 48 volts.

The steering procedure is also common recirculating-ball type, with very quick motion of the wheel even at rest requiring three turns from lock to lock. As the wheelbase is just 95 inches, the Pioneer will turn on a dime parking will be a breeze with area to spare because of to the total length of 157 inches. The overall width is about 60 inches which ought to qualify this tiny runabout for reduced parking rates in numerous general public parking plenty.

George Lippincott, the founder and president of Nic-L-­Silver, hopes to have 10 vehicles a working day rolling off the assembly line now becoming tooled. Electrical power providers, postal authorities, and dealers during the West Coastline states are fascinated in getting the very first products. As rapidly as attainable, ac­cording to Lippincott, the Pioneer will be manufactured at a price of just one hundred a day, national distribution being the eventual intention. The Pioneer has been tested in San Francisco where by it devoured the city’s famed steep hills in front of utility officials and fascinated dealers.

The bodyweight of the Pioneer, with the hardtop in area, is 1800 lbs of which over 600 are accounted for by the batteries. The fiberglass entire body weighs fewer than 300 lbs.

“Fairly Ghostly” Peaceful

During our demonstration push close to the outskirts of Santa Ana, we skilled the curious glances of motorists in assorted large motor vehicles. While waiting around for website traffic lights to adjust, the complete lack of motor sounds is, at initial, some­what ghostly. The two electrical motors do not run when the foot is taken off the accelerator. The latter is, in influence, a switch only when the pedal is pushed do the motors op­erate. Ahead and reverse are controlled by a panel of solenoids and switches actuated by a small toggle switch on the dashboard. The latter is made up of a conventional speed­ometer and a person other instrument exhibiting the voltage staying drawn.

1960 pioneer electric cab

Auto and Driver

150 Miles of Vary Promised

The variety of operation differs from 100 to 150 miles ac­cording to Lippincott, relying on no matter if a single pushes the efficiency toward the maximum or is written content to continue to be with the vast majority of visitors. Not meant to be a touring car with continental array, the Pioneer is aimed at families requiring the utility of a next motor vehicle but also demanding financial system. A battery charger will be conventional machines in every single Pioneer. Recharging will consider a highest of eight several hours and, irrespective of rumors to the opposite, is from a normal 110 volt present outlet. Utility providers have indicated an curiosity in providing these kinds of outlets in chosen general public parking loads. In most places a total demand is not possible to charge more than the fourth component of a dollar and where by electrical power is rather minimal in cost, less than 20 cents. If in the system of going to and from operate on parkways the driver stepped on it and acquired only 80 or 90 miles full array, he would even now have exceptionally lower cost transportation.

The trip is good, telescopic shock absorbers remaining employed. The parking brake will charm to those who like sports autos: a lever among the seats. The inside of panels of the doors are of exciting style with the armrest crafted in.

In addition to the room over the batteries and guiding the seats, other luggage can be stored beneath the front hood. The room powering the electric powered motors will be occupied by the battery charger. Servicing will get minimal time. Examining the amount of the batteries and taking a certain gravity reading often (1.265 is typical) and greasing the chassis is all that is important. The latter has a whole of 3 greasing factors.

Upcoming to the lower cost of operation in importance is the price tag of the automobile which, in convertible sort, will be $1995 F.O.B. Santa Ana in accordance to Mr. Lippincott. The bat­teries will have a handy everyday living of three many years and, at that time, will value less than $300 to substitute. Other than the batteries, there is minor to get worried about exterior of occasional motor brushes. The Pioneer will not be the only electrical motor vehicle but it will in all probability be the initial.

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