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June 24, 2024

Ford’s First Electric Car: The Ford Comuta Was Built for Britain in 1967

The Ford Comuta was an experimental electric vehicle designed by Ford in 1967 at the Ford Dunton Technical Centre. Part of the reason you’ve likely never heard of the Comuta is because it would have only been offered in Britain.

The Comuta, first revealed in 1967, was powered by four 12 volt lead-acid batteries. They weren’t ideal, but they were the only available power source available at the time. When it was fully charged, the car had a range of 60 kilometers (37 mi) at a speed of 40 kilometers per hour (25 mph), and was capable of a maximum speed of 60 kilometers per hour (37 mph).

At the time, Ford President Arjay Miller told the New York Times, “cars like the Comuta could be available in five to 10 years.” But clearly, those haven’t come around yet. The next electric car to wear the Ford nameplate was the 1998 Ford Ranger EV.

But while the principle of a small city runabout was promising. And the idea that you could fit not one, but three Comuta’s in a single parallel parking space was lucrative. But Ford was trying to revitalize the very thing they killed off. Electric cars were around back in the 1900s and 1910s. But the cheap, gas-powered Model T shoved expensive electric alternatives to the side, with today’s climate concerns finally bringing them back.

Because this was a concept, only two were made, one of which has since been lost. The other now resides at the Science Museum in London. It didn’t resemble any other Ford built before then, and no Ford would be inspired by it afterward. Despite being Ford’s very first electric vehicle, a significant milestone for any automaker, it feels more like a footnote.

But the dream of building a small, electric city car didn’t die with the Comuta. In fact, the Comuta may have been the earliest version of these electric microcars. The Vanguard-Sebring Citicar came in 1974, and became the highest-selling production EV up until the Tesla Model S. So maybe the Comuta did do some good, inspiring a wave of the strangest electric cars ever made.

1 comment:

  1. 4 DC batteries hooked up to an electric motor. What's conceptual about that?




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