Current Issue
May 2014 magazine cover
Subscribe

Save 81% off the newsstand price!

Keeping you current

London Had All-Electric Taxis in 1897

In 1897, a small fleet of electric taxis trundled along the streets of London alongside the horse-drawn carriages of the day. London's Science Museum recently obtained one of these relics, known as a Bersey taxi, for use in a display about climate change.

In 1897, a small fleet of electric taxis trundled along the streets of London alongside the horse-drawn carriages of the day. London’s Science Museum recently obtained one of these relics, known as a Bersey taxi, for use in a display about climate change.

The museum’s new centerpiece wasn’t the first electric car ever; that award would be jointly split by a handful of inventors who designed varying styles of electric vehicles in the 1830s. According to the Science Museum, this electric vehicle was, “the first self-propelled vehicle for hire.” Developed by Walter Bersey, the Bersey taxi didn’t last very long, closing down in 1899, according to Wired UK.

It’s a shame, really, since — as Bersey so nicely rounded it up — with electric vehicles, “there is no smell, no noise, no heat, no vibration, no possible danger, and it has been found that vehicles built on this company’s system do not frighten passing horses”.

 

More from Smithsonian.com:

Charging Ahead With a New Electric Car

Tags
About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

Read more from this author |

Comment on this Story

comments powered by Disqus