The first car to reach 60 mph was electric?

The world's first Tesla?

2y ago

Yes, this is indeed the first car to ever reach 60 mph. This car is arguably the reason we now have the 0-60(62)mph test on all cars. I for one think that's awesome.

Back in the 19th century this car was the first to reach this outrageous speed. To your surprise, you will glad to see that this was an EV. Yes, the first car to reach 100 kph was an electric vehicle. It was essentially a lightweight alloy torpedo with batteries. A very cool piece of Belgian tech.

Named the 'La Jamais Contente' or 'The Never Satisfied' in English, it went into production in 1899. The one to do the record was chassis number 25.

As you can see from the photo, the driver had a very high position which doesn't exactly scream aerodynamics! It weighed an astonishing 1,450kg which will be the weight of the batteries! This weighed more than a Mazda MX-5...

The land speed record was established on April 29 or May 1, 1899 at Achères, near Paris. The vehicle had two 25 kW motors, running at 200 V drawing 124 Amperes each and had around 68 hp, and was equipped with Michelin tyres.

The vehicle was driven by Belgian driver Camille Jenatzy. Camille had studied as an engineer, with an interest in electric vehicles. He became known for his record-breaking speed runs, and was nicknamed Le Diable Rouge ("The Red Devil") due to the colour of his beard. Unfortunately he died in 1913, after being shot in a hunting accident.

Camille Jenatzy reached the new top speed of 65.792 mph, beating the previous record, held by Count Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat driving a Jeantaud, who had reached 57.65 mph on March 4, 1899. This makes you wonder why they didn't keep electric cars. Imagine where we would be today...

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Comments (2)

  • Great work. I saw a replica at the last Paris Motor Show. It was a tiny but a legendary car in an era in which the steam and the electricity was considered as powerful energies.

      2 years ago
  • It’s hard to believe really. I bet the shut lines and door gaps were more accurate than a Tesla.

      2 years ago