First Batteries Driven Electric Car ? Could it have been this Renault Dauphine


On a recent visit to Silverstone Race Track, Dave Smith (now left us) of Batteriesontheweb noticed a strange looking Renault Dauphine. Because of Dave’s interest in batteries, he noticed the car had “electric car” written on the boot. Dave took us a few pictures for our blog and we discovered a few interesting things, about the car.

First Batteries Driven Electric Car; First Electric car had 18x12Volt car batteries

First Batteries Driven Electric Car

Renault Dauphine, 1960 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At the time, the petrol engined Renault Dauphine was a very popular car and sold well over 2 million models between 1956 and 1967. The idea of the concept of an electric car came from the owner of Henney coach builders, a Mr R Feldman. Feldman was also connected to Exide. So, in 1959 he ordered 100 Dauphine cars. The Renault engines were stripped of all their mechanical parts. He Used an electric engine that was a general electric series wound traction type giving 7.1 horse power. In addition, this prototype used 18 x 2 Volt car batteries. With a vehicle that was much heavier than the standard petrol driven version. 

The car was very inefficient and a new electrical system was devised with the help of a Mr E Williams.

New system of 12X6Volt Electric car batteries now used

Models in 1960, were fitted with a new system of 12 x 6 Volt units giving the electric motor 72 Volts. furthermore, this car reached a top speed of 90 km/per hr as against only 60 km/per hr in the old system.The car was known as the “Henney-Killowatt” but proved to be very unpopular and with less than half ordered, the project was scrapped and only a few have survived to-day including this fine specimen pictured at Silverstone. in addition, a car battery can be bought online at www.batteriesontheweb.co.uk

Eric Roberts

Hi I would like to introduce myself. Especially relevant, I have worked in the Garage and tyre and Battery business now for 40 years. consequently, I worked for a couple of national tyre companies before starting my first business. Finally, I now own a company here in the UK called Pellon Tyre and Auto-centre. I am a keen blogger about anything to do with cars and their related products that will help my business.