This electric car, a 1914 Detroit Electric, was owned by another famous 20th century scientist, Charles T. Steinmetz, who was one of the early pioneers of electric engineering. The car used as many as 14 lead-acid batteries and had a range of about 40 miles and a top speed of 40 miles per hour. During that period, electric cars were mainstream. New York City had a fleet of electric taxis in the late 1890s and electric cars represented 28 percent of the cars sold in 1900. But by 1914 when this car was made, electric cars were on the way out. A key invention was the electric-car starter in 1912, which meant people didn't need to turn a crank to start the engine.
February 6, 2012 4:00 AM PST
Photo by: Martin LaMonica/CNET
| Caption by: Martin LaMonica
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