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Last updated 2003.01.10
Items of Historical Interest in the Development and Commercialization of EVs
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In addition to the production models noted below, Uniq Mobility produced a number of one-off and low-volume conversions. These included a Chrysler Magic Wagon minivan which was sold to AluPower in Kingston ON in 1991, which was subsequently sent to Yardney in CT when Yardney purchased the rights to a number of patents for the aluminum-air battery.
The Electrek was a ground-up electric car which claimed a top speed of 70 mph and a range of up to 100 miles on a charge using lead-acid batteries. While a 4-seater version was announced, 2-seaters were the common version of this vehicle. An Electrek was purchased by Alcan Aluminum, later transferred to AluPower of Kingston ON in the late 1980's to serve as a test bed for development of an aluminum-air battery, which ended up in private hands near Kingston in the late 1990's. Another is in a museum in Moose Jaw SK.
The Uniq Mobility UNIQ M-90 electric-ICE hybrid was announced in January of 1990. A conversion of the Chysler T115 commercial minivan (Magic Wagon base) was powered by a 108-volt DC motor rated at 60 kw. Gelled lead-acid batteries provided energy storage. Extended range was provided by a 12-hp Honda 2-cylinder internal combustion engine fuelled by either propane or compressed natural gas. The engine powered a UNIQ 3-phase alternator which charged the batteries (series hybrid). Top speed was reported as 70 mph, with acceleration from 0-30 mph in 8.5 seconds. Use of the hybrid arrangement permitted a range of 100 miles at highway speed with air-conditioning on without stopping.
Photo of UQM Ethos 3 at EVS-14 - photo copyright Bob Wing 1997 - used here with permission (colour - 427 k)
The U.S. Automobile Co. of Attleboro MA produced a few electric cars from 1899 to 1901 under the U.S. Electric marque. These were usually open-bodied models having either 2 or 4 seats.
Based in Athol MA in the 1970's and 1980's, the company (U.S. Electricar) was a subsidiary of C.H. Waterman Industries, the principal of which was a Mr. C.H. Waterman, and some of the early vehicles were produced under the Waterman name rather than the U.S. Electricar name.
This firm is best known for its conversions of Renault's
(Renault 5) and Fiat's (Fiat Strada) under the marque Lectric
Leopard. The R5 (also known as Le Car in its gasoline version) and
the Strada were small, light, European-designed 2-door hatchbacks.
In addition to the Renault's and Fiat's, U.S. Electricar also
badged a modified (station wagon version) of the Bradley GTE
Electric as a Lectric Leopard.
Utopia Electric Vehicles
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