Contrary to possible believes, in the early 20th century, gasoline cars were much less popular than electric and steam powered vehicles. The dirty and what became later on the most widely spread model of cars were associated with quite a number of disadvantages, including difficulties to purchase gasoline, dirty fumes, a lot of noise, and a need of pretty advanced knowledge of mechanics in order to drive short distances.
Electric cars, on the other hand, were the much preferred choice. Regardless of the relatively simplistic lead-acid batteries that they carried on board, the cars remained the much better and advanced technology for quite a long time. They were silent, very comfortable and luxurious, very easy to operate, and above all, extremely clean.
One such vehicle was the 1905 Woods Queen Victoria Brougham, which was built by Woods Motor Vehicle Company, and belonged to James E. Cousens. The automakers were leaders of their time and before the production of gasoline cars picked up, the company had a substantial capital stock and patents purchased directly from the electric vehicle pioneer Clinton Edgar Woods. The company had an agreement to build 500 electric cars per year.
We might wish that this never happened, but unfortunately the company had to compete with gasoline car makers, and failed miserably to catch up and implement the new gasoline and hybrid technology in 1916. Their huge success and glory was quickly demolished and in 1918 the leading EV makers had to close down.
This somehow sad and nostalgic story was reminded during the iconic Frederiksen auction at Ebeltoft, Denmark. There, the last-man-of-that generation-standing, the 1905 Woods Queen Victoria Brougham electric vehicle, not only served as a time-travelling machine on wheels, but also attracted huge attention with looks, abilities and class.
The luxury vintage electric vehicle, which back in 1905 came at US$3,000 ($71,000 in current value) was sold for US$94,548. Despite the fact that it weighs just under 1,180 kg, and has a modes 72-in wheelbase, this brilliance of technology impressed the participants at the auction with its ability to still drive with the impressive 30 mph (48 km/h), thanks to slightly updated battery pack.
Image (c) Bonhams