Those environmentalists looking to further demonize Big Oil and the insistence on status quo for automotive drivetrains now have a figure behind them who is pretty much impossible to quibble with: Mister Rogers. The one and only Fred Rogers drove a quirky electric car on the iconic children's show Mister Rogers Neighborhood in 1981, Green Car Reports discovers. Unsurprisingly, he didn't do any donuts, either.

The always genteel TV-show host took his audience to a small factory where the plug-in cars were being built. Steel tubing, fiberglass panels, and batteries charging an electric motor are all there. The finished product won't win any awards for aerodynamics, as it is rather boxy, but the sweater-wearing Rogers, who in this case is wearing a rather nifty off-white track suit (!!) did prove it to be roadworthy, which was the whole point. The car's single-charge range? About 50 gentle miles.

The episode is called Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Divorce, which sounds a bit intimidating for any of us who grew up watching him (yes, there's a portion of the episode that talks about that prickly subject). There's also part of the show dedicated to a remarkably chipper kid showing off his electric wheelchair, which Mister Rogers, of course, expertly ties back to the electric car earlier in the show. For a zero-emissions trip down memory lane, grab yourself some milk and cookies and check out a video of the full half-hour episode above. You can scroll to about the 2:30 mark to get to the meat of the EV segment. And, hey, wasn't Trolley electric?


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