London, Jan 16 (IANS) A century-old rusty electric car, abandoned after the invention of the petrol automobile, seems to be far ahead of its time, says an expert.
Looking like a cross between something from the Wacky Races and a golf buggy, the 103-year-old Detroit Electric Model D with a top speed of 40 kmph is tipped to sell for $50,000 at an auction in Britain.
Rupert Banner, a car specialist at auctioneers Bonhams, said: "Electric cars are all the rage now but Detroit Electric was doing very well with them 100 years ago."
"The company became the most successful manufacturer of electric cars and this is a very early version of what they produced. They were very popular into the 1920s," he added.
The car had a range of 100 miles but had to be plugged into a giant six foot tall charger before every journey. Manufacturing ended in the 1920s when the mass production of the petrol car left it trailing in its wake, the Daily Mail reports.
The 1910 Model D that has now emerged for sale would have cost $1,500 at the time, the equivalent of $85,000 today. Modern electric cars such as the Nissan LEAF are now priced at around $25,000.
In the early 20th century, the electric car was preferred over the early petrol versions as it was simple to operate and was a lot quieter. Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company, bought two Detroit electric cars for his wife Clara for this reason.