Jay Leno's 1909 Baker Electric


This is an interesting video featuring one of the many cars in comedian Jay Leno's vast collection of automobiles. He does a great job of explaining the features of the 1909 Baker Electric and why such machines were a favorite of women of the era. Unlike the gasoline fueled internal combustion engines of those days, the electric required no hand cranking (because there was no crankshaft!) to start the power plant. Also, the electrics were cleaner - they did not require oil and had no exhaust.


Because the decisions we make about energy will affect our national security and determine our future, reflecting on these early alternatives to burning gasoline can be instructive. What's scary is that  the Baker had a driving range in excess of 100 miles - not a whole lot less than the best electric autos (such as Tesla) today. One has to wonder what could have been developed in the past century if development of electric vehicles could have been a priority.