The First EV Car and Driver Ever Reviewed, from 1960


From the January 1960 challenge of Sports Cars Illustrated.

We a short while ago drove a car that, when it reaches production, could acquire the 2nd-car sector by storm. The most un­usual automobile of common configuration to be en­gineered in this state in a lot of yrs, it will be manufac­tured by the Nic-L-Silver Battery Corporation of Santa Ana, California. There will be no gasoline or air pollution prob­lems with the “Pioneer,” as it is called, for this is the most promising to date of the numerous electric cars being engi­neered in various cities. Assessments hence considerably show functioning costs will be beneath ⅓ cent for each mile.

The two-seater overall body is of laminated fiberglass by Alken with a detachable tough best that attaches by 4 thumb screws. Powering the specific bucket seats, which go significantly ample back to enable a six-footer reasonable comfort, are 12 4-volt series-wired batteries of exclusive structure made by Nic-L-­Silver. Concealed beneath rugged flooring which serves as baggage place, these direct-acid batteries have two cells each and every with 31 plates per mobile and a potential of eight several hours at 235 ampere-hours.

A box portion metal frame of very simple but rugged construc­tion carries the complete torsion-bar suspension, which carefully resembles the Volkswagen format. Two electrical motors, every single delivering 8 shaft horsepower, are applied there is a single to just about every rear wheel, the latter staying driven by a rugged sprocket and chain program that is geared down to preserve ability. Leading velocity is 50 miles an hour, but acceleration to this max­imum is surprisingly brisk, faster than that of the regular modest imported car.

1960 pioneer electric batteries
The Pioneer Electric’s batteries.

Car and Driver

Driving is straightforward and most satisfying. The seats are as cozy as those people in most compact sports cars. In actuality a single sits pretty minimal with the legs outstretched. There are two pedals, a person staying the regular brake pedal which operates a conven­tional hydraulic method with growing shoe brakes with a single slave cylinder in just about every wheel. The other pedal is a vast one for acceleration with an operation ideal explained as two-stage. For regular driving at city targeted visitors speeds, 25 to 35 miles an hour, the accelerator is depressed considerably less than midway, and the drain on the batteries is 24 volts at the most. For whole acceleration and speeds approaching the most, the pedal is frustrated previous the halfway mark, whereupon the voltage made use of strategies or attains the optimum of 48 volts.

The steering technique is also traditional recirculating-ball style, with quite easy movement of the wheel even at relaxation demanding 3 turns from lock to lock. As the wheelbase is just 95 inches, the Pioneer will convert on a dime parking will be a breeze with place to spare thanks to the over-all duration of 157 inches. The over-all width is about 60 inches which need to qualify this tiny runabout for lessened parking charges in lots of public parking tons.

George Lippincott, the founder and president of Nic-L-­Silver, hopes to have 10 cars a working day rolling off the assembly line now currently being tooled. Electric power companies, postal authorities, and sellers all over the West Coastline states are interested in acquiring the initial models. As rapidly as achievable, ac­cording to Lippincott, the Pioneer will be made at a amount of just one hundred a day, countrywide distribution getting the eventual intention. The Pioneer has been examined in San Francisco where by it devoured the city’s famed steep hills in front of utility officials and intrigued dealers.

The excess weight of the Pioneer, with the hardtop in area, is 1800 pounds of which above 600 are accounted for by the batteries. The fiberglass body weighs much less than 300 kilos.

“To some degree Ghostly” Peaceful

Through our demonstration drive about the outskirts of Santa Ana, we seasoned the curious glances of motorists in assorted massive vehicles. While ready for targeted visitors lights to change, the complete absence of motor sounds is, at 1st, some­what ghostly. The two electrical motors do not operate when the foot is taken off the accelerator. The latter is, in result, a switch only when the pedal is pushed do the motors op­erate. Forward and reverse are managed by a panel of solenoids and switches actuated by a tiny toggle switch on the dashboard. The latter is made up of a standard speed­ometer and a single other instrument displaying the voltage getting drawn.

1960 pioneer electric cab

Car and Driver

150 Miles of Variety Promised

The range of procedure differs from 100 to 150 miles ac­cording to Lippincott, relying on whether or not a single pushes the overall performance toward the highest or is articles to remain with the majority of traffic. Not supposed to be a touring car with continental range, the Pioneer is aimed at families necessitating the utility of a next car but also demanding financial system. A battery charger will be standard devices in every single Pioneer. Recharging will choose a optimum of eight several hours and, in spite of rumors to the opposite, is from a normal 110 volt current outlet. Utility corporations have indicated an interest in supplying these types of stores in selected community parking lots. In most spots a whole cost is not most likely to charge extra than the fourth aspect of a greenback and where by electricity is fairly small in value, much less than 20 cents. If in the system of going to and from get the job done on parkways the driver stepped on it and acquired only 80 or 90 miles overall range, he would nonetheless have incredibly minimal value transportation.

The journey is superior, telescopic shock absorbers being used. The parking brake will enchantment to those people who like sports cars: a lever amongst the seats. The within panels of the doorways are of attention-grabbing style and design with the armrest created in.

In addition to the house previously mentioned the batteries and guiding the seats, other luggage can be stored beneath the entrance hood. The area driving the electric motors will be occupied by the battery charger. Routine maintenance will take little time. Checking the level of the batteries and taking a unique gravity studying once in a while (1.265 is regular) and greasing the chassis is all that is important. The latter has a overall of a few greasing points.

Following to the low price tag of procedure in importance is the selling price of the car which, in convertible kind, will be $1995 F.O.B. Santa Ana according to Mr. Lippincott. The bat­teries will have a valuable life of 3 many years and, at that time, will charge fewer than $300 to swap. Other than the batteries, there is very little to fear about outdoors of occasional motor brushes. The Pioneer will not be the only electric car but it will almost certainly be the initial.

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