An unusual vehicle was roaming around the center of town on the streets of Paris this week: a replica of the first viable battery-powered electric car!
The ride was commissioned by Harris MAXUS, a leading EV commercial vehicle brand to celebrate the 140th anniversary of the world’s first rechargeable electric vehicle.
The replica vehicle, which took two months to create, paid homage to French inventor and electrical engineer, Gustave Trouvé, who is believed to have driven the world’s first rechargeable electric vehicle down Rue de Valois in Central Paris in April 1881.
The model, which is very similar to a modern e-bike, travels at an average speed of roughly 16 kilometers per hour just like the original one and is a combination of an English-made tricycle, electric motor and rechargeable battery.
The replica vehicle was created by Victorian cycle engineer, Christian Richards in his workshop in North Yorkshire. It was transported to France in a MAXUS eDELIVER 9, where it followed the original EV’s first test-drive route.
The replica EV has been made with materials that closely match the original vehicle. “I was actually researching electric vehicles when I had the call to see if I would like to recreate the 1881 model,” said Richards. “There are very few detailed images of the original EV available, but I think this is pretty precise and I’ve tried to stay as true to the original as possible.”
Like the original, the replica vehicle features solid rubber tyres that are not much wider than a thumb and a brake made from a strip of leather.
“It is quite lively, especially with tiller steering. I have put a restrictor on the throttle, but even so, it has lots of power,” Richards commented, after the first test drive, “I have kept the pedals on from the original tricycle and rather than help it go faster, they help to slow it down.”
Mark Barrett, General Manager of Harris MAXUS said, “It’s amazing to think that the future of motoring started some 140 years ago, and here we are today at the start of a new greener motoring revolution. While MAXUS is at the forefront of EV innovation right now, it’s worth remembering how it all started, and that is why we are celebrating and honouring M. Trouvé today.”