The recent surge of interest in electric trucks is definitely not a new and modern thing. Did you know that in 1930, there were more than 100 U.S. companies manufacturing electric and hybrid commercial trucks?
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There was certainly some mighty interesting technology on offer back then. Like a fascinating machine that’s for sale on Craigslist in Los Angeles as I write this in early February. It’s a 1912 C-T electric truck, a 5-ton, four-wheel-drive Model A10 that was produced by the Commercial Truck Company of Philadelphia. It worked for 52 years at the Curtis Publishing Company before being retired in 1964. It’s complete, unrestored, and it still runs!
Just $39,900 and it’s yours.
Let me quote from the ad, which apparently drew copy from the American Truck Historical Society…
“The 105-year-old battery-powered electric truck is driven by four 85-volt, 10-amp GE electric motors, one at each wheel, each producing 16 hp. When new, the truck operated for 22 hours on a single charge, traveling at an average of 10 mph, and could be recharged in as little as two hours. However, some operators maintained a charged set of interchangeable batteries to further extend service hours.
“The battery compartment consists of nine battery trays. Each of the original-equipment lead-acid batteries measured 8 inches wide by 14 tall and 60 long, and weighed approximately 500 pounds, producing 10 volts. Five modern-day 12-volt batteries may be substituted for each of the original 5-foot-long units (total: 45) which together produced 90 volts, and the vehicle may easily be moved using only one, two, or three modern 12-volt batteries.”
Curtis bought 10 of these trucks in August 1912, but the fleet would later total 22. A couple of them were used to haul coal from the railway yard to the printing plant. The other 20 were