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Morris and Salom in the 1894 Electrobat

The Electrobat was one of the first electric automobiles. It was designed and built in 1894 by mechanical engineer Henry G. Morris and chemist Pedro G. Salom in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[1]


Both Morris and Salom had backgrounds in battery streetcars and, as the battery streetcar business was fading, they teamed up to make battery road vehicles. Their effort called the Electrobat was patented on August 31, 1894. Built like a small version of a battery streetcar, it was a slow, heavy, impractical vehicle with steel tires to support the 1,600 pound immense weight of its large lead battery.[2] Improved as the Electrobat II, it entered production in 1895. In 1896, the pair founded the Morris & Salom Electric Carriage and Wagon Company.[3][1]

Subsequent versions were lighter and had pneumatic tires, with bodies built at the Caffrey Carriage Company in Camden, New Jersey. These cars steered by their rear wheels and had two 1.5-horsepower (1.1 kW) motors that propelled them 25 miles (40 km) per charge at 20 mph (32 km/h).[1] Morris and Salom went on to build about a dozen Hansom cabs based on this vehicle, to compete with the horse-drawn cabs then in service in New York City; they operated in New York, Boston, and elsewhere.[3] They sold the cabs and their concept to Isaac L. Rice, who reincorporated the enterprise as the Electric Vehicle Company (Elizabethport, New Jersey), in 1897, which later became part of Albert Augustus Pope's empire.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Kimes, Beverly Rae; Clark Jr., Henry Austin (1996). Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805-1942 (3rd ed.). Krause Publications. ISBN 978-0-87341-428-9.
  2. ^ "Electrobat to Columbia". Car and Driver. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  3. ^ a b c G.N. Georgano, Cars: Early and Vintage, 1886-1930. (London: Grange-Universal, 1985).