As Americans buy more Nissan Leafs, Chevrolet Volts and other electric-drive vehicles, some of those models' forefathers are getting their due by way of auctions and museum exhibits.
A 1909 Walker Vehicle Co. delivery van recently sold on eBay for $127,500, signifying that old-school vehicles that predate the Nissan Leaf by a 100 or so years can fetch a pretty penny, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The 1909 Walker, which is mounted on solid rubber tires, is one of hundreds of EVs produced around the turn of the 20th Century as early car customers looked for a quieter, cleaner alternative to what were loud and dirty internal combustion engines. Chicago-based Walker also made early variants of hybrid vehicles, according to the WSJ.
With contemporary EV sales expected to rise during the next few years, car collectors are seeking out and paying for early versions of battery-electric vehicles. In fact, those thinking that the Walker set some sort of pricing record from the eBay sale would be mistaken. Last August, an 1899 Columbia Electric Landaulet sold at an auction for $550,000, making it the priciest antique EV ever sold.
Meanwhile, America's Car Museum, which opens in Tacoma, Washington, on June 2 will have an "Alternative Propulsion" exhibit that will include a 1912 Standard Electric Open Tourer (still roadworthy, the museum says) and a 1914 Detroit Electric Priscilla. In all, the 165,000-square-foot museum will have more than 350 cars, trucks and motorcycles.