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Forward to the past - Electric mobility

Power instead of petrol: Retro Classics 2010 is dedicating a special show to the electric drive / An automobile alternative with potential for the future

(PresseBox) (Stuttgart, ) In the world of the combustion engine, electric mobility was always a pet project of the hobby inventors or an idea of the lone enthusiasts. Yet in many ways electric mobility is actually superior to the petrol engine, boasting a higher degree of efficiency, longer service life and a noticeably lower noise level. The special show "Forward to the past - Electric mobility" will be providing a highly interesting overview of the history and future of the electric drive in the East entrance foyer.

Scientists and design engineers experimented with electric motors and batteries as early as the 1830s. In 1881, Gustave Trouvé unveiled a threewheel car at the International Electrical Exhibition. This was followed in 1882 by the "Elektromote" from Werner Siemens, an electrically powered coach and the world's first trolley bus. In 1900, the "Lohner Porsche" was put on display at the world exhibition in Paris, a gearfree electric car with hub motors at the front wheels. The designer was Ferdinand Porsche.

Around the turn of the century, 40 percent of American motorists had put their faith in the electric motor; the petrol engine was in the clear minority making up only about one fifth of vehicles. The performance of the early electric cars was also impressive: In 1899, the Belgian racing driver and design engineer Camille Jenatzy became the first person to reach a speed of more than 100 kilometres per hour with a final result of 105.88 km/h.

After getting off to a glittering start, electric vehicles were gradually replaced by gasoline engines up until around 1940. The batteries were too heavy, charging periods too long and the vehicles of limited scope. After the war, the electric car was left to carve out a niche existence as a small delivery van or vehicle for the elderly.

In light of looming environmental and energy crises, electric mobility has experienced a renaissance since the 1990s. One reason being the rapid development of accumulator battery technology. Many large automobile manufacturers are thus now turning their attention to the nonfossil drive, having presented a whole new lineup of electric vehicles at the Detroit Auto Show 2010. With the rising fuel costs, many are predicting a boom of electric automobiles.

And whoever doesn't jump on board now is sure to miss out. The electric revolution could very well take off in China. In 2009, the electric car "MyCar" was presented in Hong Kong. For many years now, the Far East's giant economy has facilitated the development and production of electric cars. Buyers of electric cars in the USA, Japan and France also receive subsidies. Only in Germany did plans like these fail to take off due to the opposition of the Finance Ministry. Germany has, however, since recognised the sign of the times: according to the Federal government in 2009, it will not be 1,500 but rather one million electric cars that will be found on German roads by 2020.

At the special show in Stuttgart, electric vehicles from the last approximately 110 years will be on display. Partners of the event are EnBW and TÜV Süd.

Retro Classics, the international classic car trade fair in Stuttgart, will open its doors on Friday, 12 March until Sunday, 14 March 2010 for the tenth time. More than 57,000 visitors streamed into the trade fair centre the previous spring to get a closer look at the impressive classic cars on display. On Thursday, 11 March 2010, there will be a special preview day for exhibitors, journalists and preview ticket holders taking place from 2pm to 8pm.

Further information and images for downloading for Retro Classics 2010 can be found online at