Electric Vehicles reviews since 1959: A quick shot of Electric Cars enthusiasm  period before Tesla


Tesla, together with its Roadster or GM with EV1, never discovered electric vehicles. The whole trace goes back to a century with a long list of manufactures prevented from spreading their productions because of complex but similar reasons. 

The 1959 Charles Town-About was among those enlisted as ‘hopefuls.’ Renowned vehicle manufacturers such as Tesla, Volkswagen, Nissan, among many more welcomed electric cars into the primary market, Town-About’s model review from 1959 (fished out from Motor Trends archives) serves as a representation of maintained electric vehicles. 

In the 1950s, the Town-About came to the market as a result of electric vehicles surging interest among the customers. The model also came after the advancement in battery technology period, where Henry Kilowatt came into existence. Also, during the same period,  displacement of engines occurred, improvement in horsepower and consumption of gasoline went wayside. 

Stinson Aircraft Equipment and San Diego engineering was the one that manufactured the Town-About. The vehicle was made by use of Alcoan aluminum, two-centered roll hoops, and a fiberglass body. However, the car did not resemble Volkswagen Karmann-Ghia, a sporty-looking coupe. 

Rob Rolofson, a reviewer and a racer, stated that he had driven all types of vehicles, but the one that amazed him was the Town-About vehicle. He said that the car was a complete set of modern electric vehicles. 

Below are the features Rolofson stated to resemble a modern electric vehicle

1. Noticeable road noise- the model does not produce sound except in the cab, which it has no soundproof. That looks like the GCR, which the majority of car makers identified in the previous years. 

2. New driving experience- the experimental vehicle has a fixed-gear reduction system of ratio 6:1, but the prototype one was to have a two-speed transmission. One engages the reverse gear by turning the ignition key on the opposite side. 

3. Charging overnight and covers long distances-the Town-About had its charger that automatically sets the rate of charging. It could charge for about 7 hours, and the charge could cover a 77-mile journey. 

4. A reality of pent-up requirement with a pinch in the cost- according to Rob Rolofson, there was a massive rise in interest, which included an increase of four-digit standardized checks from power and light entities, who placed car orders for their tests. Stinson set the cost for manufacturing a vehicle ranging from $2,895 to $25,500 in the current currency. The price was 50% more as compared to the less costly gasoline vehicles of the past times.