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Last updated 2006.01.14
Items of Historical Interest in the Development and Commercialization of EVs
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The Fairclough Mini was an electric car based on the Austin Mini Clubman but using a fibreglass body. It was produced by Fairclough Electric Vehicles Ltd in Britain circa 1983, although production was undoubtedly very limited. The vehicle used lead-cadmium batteries and a 7 kw motor mated to the original 4-speed manual transmission used in the Austin Mini.
The F.J. Fanning Mfg. Co., Chicago. USA. 1902-1903
Faun-werke, A.G., Ansbach (Baviere); Wachterstr., Nuremberg., Germany., somewhere between 1910- 1930
Pierre Faure of Paris, France (or possibly Lyons, or both) produced a 2-door, 4-wheeler car from 1941- 1947. A few were sold during World War II when gasoline was very scarce for civilian purposes. A return of plentiful post-war petrol spelled the demise of production of this vehicle.
A patent attorney in Toronto, Canada, Featherstonhaugh commissioned the design of an electric car by William Still (an electrician) and construction of it by John Dixon (Dixon Carriage Works). The vehicle was exhibited at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto in 1893, and was in regular use by Featherstonhaugh for many years after that. Still built the batteries. The vehicle used a 4 hp electric motor, tiller steering, pneumatic tires and electric lights.
Still is credited with building a small number of other
electric vehicles in the 1890's. According to the book Canada's
Automotive Industry, the first motor delivery wagon in Canada was
the 1899 Still electric used by Parker's Dye Works in
Feel Good Cars
Fiat (of Italy) has produced a few experimental EV prototypes in the 1970's, including the X1/23 - a 2-seater capable of 75 km/h and a 70 km range, and a couple of electric vans (850T and 242). In the 1980's, they were producing the Fiat 900 E van, of which at least 24 produced. Five of the Fiat 900E vans were used by the electric utility in Odense (Denmark) as well as in Italy. Fiat also produced Iveco Daily vans (Model 35E) and minibuses (Model A40). By 1990, Fiat was producing a 22-passenger electric minibus and had announced production of the Panda Elettra.
Produced electric vans and private cars in Germany in 1899 and 1900.
The Flanders Manufacturing Co. (possibly also known as the Flanders Electric Co. and the Flanders Motor Co.) of Pontiac MI produced electric cars with open and closed bodies from 1912 to 1915. The vehicle may also have been called the Tiffany.
Florida, University of - see University of Florida
The wife of Henry Ford, Clara could have driven any Ford vehicle she wanted. Instead, she elected to drive an electric car - not built by Ford.
Henry Ford may have been one of the greatest contributor's to the demise of the electric car with the introduction of the relatively affordable Model T, affordable in part because of Ford's refusal to pay royalties under the Selden patent. While the Model T was considerably less reliable than competing EVs, did not boast a signficantly higher top speed than contemporary EVs, and had to travel up many hills in reverse, the price was hard to beat. Gasoline was also cheap and becoming increasingly available throughout North America.
Ford announced its Ford Ranger EV (mini-pickup) in 1997 as commercially available in much of the U.S., but targeted primarily at fleet sales rather than private customers. Ford has had a quiescent but real EV R&D program running for decades. Vehicles developed under the research program include the Comuta (1966) and the Ecostar (mid 1990's).
Image of Ford Comuta prototype (B&W - 21k)
The Ecostar was a small 2-seater panel truck. Approximately 100
were built and were used in selected fleets to gain experience
with the real-world operation of electric vehicles.
For a very brief period early in the 21st century, Ford teased
us with the idea that they would commercialize and mass-produce an
electric car pioneered in Scandinava, the PIVCO Th!nk City. This
charming little two-seater with the plastic body panels would have
been ideal in urban settings. Sadly, Ford didn't follow through
after the PR campaign. Below is a scanned-in reproduction of the
British version of the marketing pamphlet.
Foster Automobile Mfg. co., 297 State Street, Rochester, NY, 1898-1905
Deutsche Elektromobil, G.m.b.H., Graf Adolfstr., Dusseldorf; Fram auto A.G., Nurnbergerstr., Berlin, W. 50., Germany., Somewhere between 1911 and 1935.
Produced by H-M Vehicles in Minnesota in the 1970's in small
numbers, the Free-Way was a small 3-wheeler with 2 wheels in front
and 1 wheel in the rear. The Free-Way was available in both
electric and gasoline-powered versions. While a sales brochure
announced a 2-seater version which placed the passenger behind the
driver in a tandem arrangement, it may be that only single seater
versions were ever produced. The "H-M" in the company's
name stood for High Mileage. An electric Freeway is in the
holdings of an automotive museum in the Kingston-Napanee ON area.
This company operated in Switzerland in the 1980's and 1990's. They produced a variety of small electric cars. All offered solar panels as an option for recharging the batteries. Lead-acid batteries were standard, although a sodium-sulphur battery was announced as an option.
A 2-seater, 4-wheeler runabout with a range of 80 km using lead-acid batteries and a maximum speed of 60 km/h.
Another 2-seater, larger than the Maxi-El and a slightly enhanced range of 90 km using the lead-acid batteries. Maximum speed of 60 km/h.
A 4-seater with a maximum speed of 60 km/h and a range of 100 km using the lead-acid battery pack.
Appears to be a commercial version of the Family, with similar performance specs and pricing, but a rated payload of 1 ton and storage capacity of 100 cubic feet.
The Fritchle Auto & Battery Co. of Denver CO produced electric cars from 1904 to 1917. In 1908, one of their cars travelled from Lincoln, NE to New York, NY, a distance of 1,800 miles in 28 days. Lightweight batteries capable of over 100 miles per charge were used for this trip. (Sorry, composition and construction of the batteries was not reported.) Fritchle produced a number of hybrids (gasoline & electric) in 1916, but stopped automobile production entirely in 1917.
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