History to 1950

The story of Britain's battery-electric commercial vehicles

The first seventy years of battery electric vehicle development saw an extraordinary amount of innovation and progress. Initially the emphasis was on private cars, but the commercial vehicle soon emerged as the most promising candidate for battery electric drive. Nevertheless, in terms of appearance and layout, the horse-drawn wagon maintained an influence over electric vehicle design that lasted far too long.

August 7, 2021

Before 1900

The industrial revolution depended to a very large extent on transport of goods from manufacturers to markets. Large towns and cities grew that specialised in extracting […]
August 7, 2021
Photo electric taxi circa 1900

The 1900s

In 1902 the Royal Mail tried out another vehicle, this one built by Carl Opperman at Grosvenor Garage in Camden Town.  It was placed in service […]
August 7, 2021

The 1910s

Even though there was obvious development work and application going on, progress certainly lagged what was happening in America. In 1913 one writer complained that the […]
August 7, 2021

The 1920s

As we enter the 1920s we can broadly sum up where battery-electric commercial vehicles in Britain had got to.  They could be counted in the very […]
August 7, 2021

The 1930s

We shall begin and end the account of this decade with estimates of the numbers of vehicles in use.  In 1930 there were about 1,750 electric […]
August 7, 2021

The 1940s

As in the First World War conditions in the second global conflict simultaneously favoured wider use of electrics and also frustrated it. Fuel shortages prompted the […]