Telsa predecessa

Put this on your "Musk have" list

Put this on your “Musk-have” list

California has long been a center of electric vehicle consciousness, dating back long before Tesla launched its revolutionary, all-electric, California-built car. We just encountered this Electra King, a three wheeler that was built in Long Beach back in 1974, a zero emissions proto-Tesla, if you will.  It’s licensed and registered and, assuming it’s been charged up, ready to go, go, go.

What? You were expecting a McCain/Palin sticker?

What? You were expecting a McCain/Palin sticker?

While a Tesla can go as far as 265 miles on a charge, B & Z Electric Car, proud manufacturers of this combination of batteries, tiny wheels, sheet metal and fiberglass, claimed a range of 50 – 60 kilometers — remember, this was at a time when “going metric” was widely anticipated.  That’s more than 30 miles so just imagine the fun family vacation you could have in one of these little babies!  Why, you could go all the way to the mall and, maybe, even make it back.

Smarter than Smart?

Smarter than Smart?

It’s not very spacious but does have a real trunk so, in essence, it’s got as much utility as a contemporary Smart Car.  OK, the fact that it can’t go faster than 35 mph shouldn’t be too off-putting considering that it would be beyond frightening to drive this sit-down telephone booth on a freeway even if it could keep up.

Minimalist approach to front-end styling

Minimalist approach to front-end styling

Our friends at Jalopnik noted that the Electra King seems to have inspired the design of the tiny car that Mr. Incredible drives in Pixar’s “The Incredibles.”  Click here to see the very valid point they made and here to see a real, non-animated, Electra King in action.

Speaking of the cinema, we hasten to note that this little car has absolutely nothing in common with the character of the same name with alternate spelling, played by Sophie Marceau, in the James Bond film “The World Is Not Enough.”  We find Ms. Marceau to be much more streamlined than her character’s namesake vehicle.

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6 thoughts on “Telsa predecessa

  1. gene sculatti

    This is a beauty-ful little car. So far ahead of its time. All the more so in what looks like a brougham-ish vinyl top, which would have preceded that 70s ‘luxe’ accoutrement.

    Reply
    1. feralcars Post author

      That top is not vinyl, it’s fiberglass but it would look pretty cool with a landau-style “S” bar, now that you mention it.

      Reply
  2. Augusta

    Here’s a question for the all-knowing car guy —- Was this wacky little mobile inspired by Buckminster Fuller? I saw a film on him and I remember there was a three wheeler in it (left an impression, ya know?)

    Reply
    1. feralcars Post author

      Probably not. Bucky’s Dymaxion was a three wheeler but his design had two in the front and one in the back, whereas the Electra King has one in the front and two in the back. Also, the Dymaxion was blimp shaped for lowest possible aerodynamic efficiency while the Electra King is a tribute to right angles. Dymaxion was gasoline powered and could carry 11 people, Electra King is a squeeze for two. Other than that, they’re exactly the same!

      Reply
  3. Anon-y-mous

    Blur out the damn license plate next time, eh?
    Or have you never, ever seen another car pic on another site?
    It’s standard practice.

    Reply
    1. feralcars Post author

      We’re over 101,000 page views into this endeavor and 87 individual posts since we began back in September and this has never previously come up. We’ve checked both Jalopnik and Hooniverse and plates on cars seen there are not blurred out. Same is true of Auto Week’s “Project Car Hell” so your point about “standard practice” eludes us.

      Reply

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