Engineering Headlines

Peugeot had first electric car in 1941

75 years ago in April 1941 Peugeot launched first electric car: VLV on the market. The two-seat convertible was the answer of Peugeot on the gasoline shortages during the second world war.

The voiture Légère de Ville, short VLV, is still an eye-catcher. It acts like a boat, front wide wheel base and only one headlight. The casual city car is due to the second world war, when petrol is rationed by the German occupiers and car manufacturers are searching for alternative drive systems.

Peugeot first electric car
Peugeot first electric car from 1941

Bike cars and gas-powered drives

There is the so-called bike cars, M2 with lighter body vehicles that are powered by foot. There is also a gas-powered vehicles. Usually wood, paper, coal, straw had to be carried and burned drawn oven. About 65,000 of such gas-powered cars were in France in 1941.

The comfortable to the local socket rechargeable electric city cars there were, however, only in small numbers: Peugeot produced 377 copies until the war in La Garenne. Developed by engineers and designers without the knowledge of the German occupying forces.

Peugeot had first electric car in 1941
Range of approximately 80 km Peugeot VLV with one battery charge. The batteries had 160 kg with a total weight of the car 350 kg. Photo: Peugeot

This honey has been used primarily by post and by doctors.

Top speed 33 km/h, range 80 km. The concept of the VLV was called: small, but fine. The electric car is 2.67 m long, 1.21 m wide and 1.27 m high. The convertible with its two adjacent seats has a folding roof. So it goes forward without petrol, electric motor was installed a 3.5 HP at the rear. It was powered by four 12-volt lead batteries connected in series. Peugeot invented the “Tempo30” in the city to more or less the same: the E-mobile can ride almost 33 km/h.

A battery charge is enough for 80 km. Much more come also the high-tech electric cars in today’s design. Per an indication informs about the current charging status of the batteries as well as the current speed.

Casual aren’t the batteries. The entire car weighs 350 kg, expect only 160 kg on the lead-acid batteries. For the batteries of the rear-drive two-seater could be charged at that time into any household outlet.

Unusual design: front wide, narrow rear

Form meets function: the design of the VLV falls out of the frame. So the distance between the two front wheels is 1.05 m – the track width of 1.79 m further back but just 33.5 cm installed in the rear. Why? Because they can share as a drum brake. From the appearance of the VLV therefore resembles a tricycle with a body. And cute looks.The all-in-one chassis (monocoque) is made of steel. Make sure the trip with the VLV not too bumpy, leaf spring systems are attached to all four wheels. In addition, two stabilizer bars in the subsoil intercept shocks. It is accelerated by a gas pedal. A forward-backward lever controls the direction of the motor rotation.

Prudent on ancient virtue

50 years after the war, until Peugeot continues his emission-free drive concept: with the 106 Électric in 1995. He can also overland and highway with a maximum speed of 110 km/h. And 2011 Peugeot brought a 4-seater electric car series on the market with the iOn was the first European manufacturer.

By the way: The VLV was not the first electric car in the world. The first car, ahead of the legendary gasoline by Carl Benz, took power. Here the most important facts about the electric car. However in case of Carl, we are not speaking about units used everyday, therefore are unfinished.