The First EV Car and Driver Ever Reviewed, from 1960


From the January 1960 challenge of Sports Cars Illustrated.

We just lately drove a automobile that, when it reaches generation, could get the next-car current market by storm. The most un­usual auto of conventional configuration to be en­gineered in this place in a lot of years, it will be manufac­tured by the Nic-L-Silver Battery Corporation 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 numerous electric vehicles staying engi­neered in numerous cities. Checks hence significantly indicate running expenses will be beneath ⅓ cent for each mile.

The two-seater entire body is of laminated fiberglass by Alken with a detachable difficult top that attaches by 4 thumb screws. Behind the unique bucket seats, which move far enough back again to enable a six-footer realistic convenience, are 12 4-volt sequence-wired batteries of exclusive design built by Nic-L-­Silver. Hid beneath rugged flooring which serves as baggage house, these guide-acid batteries have two cells every with 31 plates per mobile and a capacity of eight hrs at 235 ampere-hours.

A box area metal body of basic but rugged construc­tion carries the comprehensive torsion-bar suspension, which carefully resembles the Volkswagen structure. Two electric motors, every single providing 8 shaft horsepower, are used there is a person to each individual rear wheel, the latter remaining driven by a rugged sprocket and chain method that is geared down to preserve electrical power. Major pace is 50 miles an hour, but acceleration to this max­imum is incredibly brisk, quicker than that of the average little imported motor vehicle.

1960 pioneer electric batteries
The Pioneer Electric’s batteries.

Automobile and Driver

Driving is straightforward and most enjoyable. The seats are as snug as people in most small sports activities cars and trucks. In reality just one sits incredibly small with the legs outstretched. There are two pedals, 1 currently being the usual brake pedal which operates a conven­tional hydraulic process with increasing shoe brakes with a single slave cylinder in each wheel. The other pedal is a wide one particular for acceleration with an procedure most effective explained as two-phase. For typical driving at town traffic speeds, 25 to 35 miles an hour, the accelerator is frustrated significantly less than midway, and the drain on the batteries is 24 volts at the most. For whole acceleration and speeds approaching the maximum, the pedal is frustrated earlier the halfway mark, whereupon the voltage utilised techniques or attains the optimum of 48 volts.

The steering system is also standard recirculating-ball sort, with quite effortless movement of the wheel even at relaxation requiring a few turns from lock to lock. As the wheelbase is just 95 inches, the Pioneer will change on a dime parking will be a breeze with space to spare owing to the over-all size of 157 inches. The all round width is about 60 inches which ought to qualify this very little runabout for reduced parking charges in quite a few 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 becoming tooled. Energy providers, postal authorities, and dealers all over the West Coastline states are interested in obtaining the 1st styles. As swiftly as feasible, ac­cording to Lippincott, the Pioneer will be developed at a price of one hundred a day, national distribution becoming the eventual intention. The Pioneer has been examined in San Francisco where it devoured the city’s famed steep hills in entrance of utility officers and interested sellers.

The excess weight of the Pioneer, with the hardtop in put, is 1800 pounds of which about 600 are accounted for by the batteries. The fiberglass system weighs significantly less than 300 lbs.

“Considerably Ghostly” Quiet

All through our demonstration travel all over the outskirts of Santa Ana, we skilled the curious glances of motorists in assorted massive automobiles. Though waiting around for site visitors lights to adjust, the finish lack of motor noise is, at initial, some­what ghostly. The two electric motors do not run when the foot is taken off the accelerator. The latter is, in influence, a swap only when the pedal is pushed do the motors op­erate. Forward and reverse are controlled by a panel of solenoids and switches actuated by a smaller toggle swap on the dashboard. The latter is made up of a traditional speed­ometer and a person other instrument demonstrating the voltage currently being drawn.

1960 pioneer electric cab

Motor vehicle and Driver

150 Miles of Array Promised

The variety of procedure varies from 100 to 150 miles ac­cording to Lippincott, dependent on no matter if one pushes the general performance toward the optimum or is content to continue to be with the vast majority of website traffic. Not supposed to be a touring auto with continental variety, the Pioneer is aimed at family members requiring the utility of a next car but also demanding financial state. A battery charger will be standard devices in each individual Pioneer. Recharging will take a utmost of eight hours and, even with rumors to the opposite, is from a typical 110 volt present outlet. Utility organizations have indicated an desire in offering such stores in picked community parking lots. In most parts a entire charge is not possible to value far more than the fourth aspect of a dollar and exactly where energy is fairly small in charge, a lot less than 20 cents. If in the method of going to and from do the job on parkways the driver stepped on it and attained only 80 or 90 miles total selection, he would continue to have very small expense transportation.

The journey is good, telescopic shock absorbers being employed. The parking brake will attractiveness to all those who like sports activities automobiles: a lever in between the seats. The inside panels of the doorways are of interesting style with the armrest developed in.

In addition to the house previously mentioned the batteries and driving the seats, other baggage can be stored beneath the front hood. The place driving the electric motors will be occupied by the battery charger. Upkeep will consider very little time. Examining the degree of the batteries and having a specific gravity examining sometimes (1.265 is typical) and greasing the chassis is all that is vital. The latter has a overall of three greasing factors.

Up coming to the small price tag of operation in worth is the price tag of the automobile which, in convertible kind, will be $1995 F.O.B. Santa Ana according to Mr. Lippincott. The bat­teries will have a beneficial lifetime of a few many years and, at that time, will price a lot less than $300 to change. Other than the batteries, there is minor to fear about exterior of occasional motor brushes. The Pioneer will not be the only electric powered motor vehicle but it will in all probability be the first.

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