Chicago 2008: 105-year-old electric car hidden way in the back

The Electric Runabout, made by Columbia, was the first electric car ridden in by a U.S. President. That historical event happened over 105 years ago, in case you were wondering. The 1903 Columbia Electric Runabout had a 40-mile range and, like most electric cars of the era, was very popular with female drivers. While that 40-mile range sound wicked good compared to today's electric cars (and concept cars), the Runabout was really more like a Walkabout since its top speed was a solid 14 miles per hour - downhill.

The car was powered by a 40-volt, 30 amp motor from General Electric and cost $850 back at the beginning of the last century. While Columbia went out of business in 1911, you can see the Runabout this coming week as part of the historical display corner of the Chicago Auto Show (this is the 100th show, after all) hidden way in the back of the show floor.

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