Detroit Electric Car Charging at Home In... 1919

Public Domain. Library of Congress

The more things change...

Tesla Model S charging

© Tesla

...the more they stay the same.

(It sounds a bit better in the original French: "Plus ça change, plus c'est pareil.")The Detroit Electric was produced by the Anderson Electric Car Company in - no surprise - Detroit, Michigan, between 1907 and 1939. It wasn't as fast as a Tesla, with a top speed of 20 MPH (which was just fine at the time), but it did advertise about 80 miles per charge, with some people apparently driving over 200 miles on a single charge. Not bad for century-old tech!

Detroit Electric 1916

Wikimedia/CC BY 2.0

Above is a 1916 Detroit Electric at the Brussels Autoworld Museum.There were some quite famous Detroit Electrics owners: Thomas Edison, Charles Proteus Steinmetz, Mamie Eisenhower, and John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

Detroit Electric 1917 model

Wikimedia/CC BY-SA 3.0

Above is a 1917 Detroit Electric model used for a wedding in Australia.Unfortunately, the market crash of 1929 struck a near fatal blow to the company, which filed for bankruptcy and, after being acquired, only made very small numbers of electric cars until 1939. In total, it made about 13,000 electric cars between 1907 and 1939.

1920 Detroit Electric ad

Public domain/1920 ad/Public Domain

The Detroit Electric brand was recently revived, but it's not exactly at the forefront of electric transportation anymore.

Via Library of Congress, Twitter