As Americans buy more Nissan Leafs, Chevrolet Volts and other electric-drive vehicles, some of those models' forefathers are getting their due by way of auctions and museum exhibits.

A 1909 Walker Vehicle Co. delivery van recently sold on eBay for $127,500, signifying that old-school vehicles that predate the Nissan Leaf by a 100 or so years can fetch a pretty penny, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The 1909 Walker, which is mounted on solid rubber tires, is one of hundreds of EVs produced around the turn of the 20th Century as early car customers looked for a quieter, cleaner alternative to what were loud and dirty internal combustion engines. Chicago-based Walker also made early variants of hybrid vehicles, according to the WSJ.

With contemporary EV sales expected to rise during the next few years, car collectors are seeking out and paying for early versions of battery-electric vehicles. In fact, those thinking that the Walker set some sort of pricing record from the eBay sale would be mistaken. Last August, an 1899 Columbia Electric Landaulet sold at an auction for $550,000, making it the priciest antique EV ever sold.

Meanwhile, America's Car Museum, which opens in Tacoma, Washington, on June 2 will have an "Alternative Propulsion" exhibit that will include a 1912 Standard Electric Open Tourer (still roadworthy, the museum says) and a 1914 Detroit Electric Priscilla. In all, the 165,000-square-foot museum will have more than 350 cars, trucks and motorcycles.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 7 Comments
      Marco Polo
      • 19 Hours Ago
      Fascinating vehicles. I managed to buy a 1928, Smith Milk float and a 1922 Milburn Electric Limousine. My family still own, an Electric Car my great great grand father had built in 1909. Although only able to travel at 26 mph, this mighty vehicle can achieve a range of 32 miles on a single charge. Built as a fully enclosed limousine with a drivers compartment. Passenger accommodation for seven and rear standing platform for two footmen, it must have been quite a sight to behold in its heyday. In Australia I was disappointed to miss buying an early 1900's Detroit Electric. I'm always on the look out for early alternate fuel vehicles to restore. Especially, if the vehicles history can be traced.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 19 Hours Ago
      this is a perfect example of how status quo is mindlessly carried on. it's built like a horse drawn carriage for rough terrain in the 17th century yet it's an electric car for paved roads in the 20th. this is why the Leaf sucks. this is why the Volt blows donkey balls.
        Marco Polo
        • 19 Hours Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        @DF, Why haven't you purchased a Kewet EV ? This little EV is light and sort of aerodynamic. It was designed, developed and built in your native Denmark, (Hadsund,) since 1991. (I think it's still produced in Norway). There was even a little van offered. With a chassis made of galvanised steel and shell made of GRP, the little Kewet, (Buddy) can travel 150 km (93 miles) with a top speed of 80 km/h (49.7 MPH), I would have felt you would be proud to support Denmark's local product ! After all, the whole of Denmark is only about 80 klm in any direction ! Total area is only 43,075 klm (216,641 sq mi ). I live in a country of 7,686,850 square kilometres (2,967,892 miles) ! My own city is over 8806 km² (3,400.0 sq miles). Denmark also offer subsidies for EV owners, and charging stations, which Australia doesn't. Yet, I own and promote vehicles made by the local Australian EV manufacturer. C'mon, buy a little Buddy (you can park it sideways !)
          Marco Polo
          • 19 Hours Ago
          @Marco Polo
          @DF, Yeah, but it has one virtue, since 1991 you could actually buy a Kewet EV and drive it. For the last 20 years you could have been practising what you preach ! All progress must start somewhere. It's no good you ranting on about how 'evil' GM, or evil Big Oil killed the electric car, when you won't even support your own country's native EV ! You are fond of biblical quotes, consider Matthew 7: 3 "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? "
          Dan Frederiksen
          • 19 Hours Ago
          @Marco Polo
          really? sort of aerodynamic? like a hummer is sort of aerodynamic : ) no the kewet is from the old EV generation. ugly slow crappy and poor range. a colder climate twizy could be fun though although not particularly aero either
        Chris M
        • 19 Hours Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        Um, those antiques were built when paved roads were few, and many roads could charitably be called "rough terrain". Also, neither the Leaf nor the Volt are designed like these antiques, they'd certainly never be mistaken for a horse-drawn carriage. Clueless as usual, Dan.
          Dan Frederiksen
          • 19 Hours Ago
          @Chris M
          Chris, I'm bizarrely smarter than you. you're like a little snot nosed kid who tells Einstein he doesn't know physics. I was of course not suggesting that the Leaf or the Volt look like horse drawn carriages.. that's a spectacular failure to comprehend a point. I meant that just like this is a mindless product of status quo, so are the Volt and the Leaf. that it's not intelligent design for the task, it is just redoing what they are used to. like mindless.. products... of status.. quo