Studebaker museum ‘Charged’ exhibit shows electric cars history

Studebaker museum ‘Charged’ exhibit shows electric cars history


Studebaker museum ‘Charged’ exhibit shows electric cars history

SOUTH BEND ― What would the late JM Studebaker, founder of the eventual Studebaker car manufacturer, say about the growth of electric vehicles today?

Well, in fact, it was in the early few years of the 1900s when he said this about electricity’s competitor: “Gas-powered cars are clumsy, dangerous, noisy brutes that stink to high heaven and break down at the worst possible moments.”

But you have to understand that, as cars were still in their infancy, it was unclear as to which fuel would power them.

Gas and electricity seemed to be equal contenders. Steam had already moved trains and tractors for decades. And cities had grown tired of horse dung and horse corpses that had become health hazards.

The century-plus story of how we got to the latest age of e-cars comes to life in an exhibit at the Studebaker National Museum through Oct. 2, “Charged: The Rise, Fall, and Resurgence of Electric Vehicles.”

This 1911 Studebaker Model 17-B Electric Coupe is on display through Oct. 2, 2022, at the Studebaker National Museum in South Bend in the exhibit “Charged: The Rise, Fall, and Resurgence of Electric Vehicles.”

Among eight vehicles on display, the 1911 Studebaker Model 17-B Electric Coupe is black, resembling the shape of a horse carriage but with smaller wheels, sliding windows and golden lamps ― able to go 70 miles and hit 21 mph. This one had belonged to a member of the Studebaker family in Ohio.

Studebaker made its first electric car in 1902 and its first gas-powered car in 1904, museum archivist Andrew Beckman says.

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