Kingman to welcome Electric Vehicle Museum

Eight electric cars being loaned to Powerhouse Vistor Center

Electric micro cars from the 1960s. (KIM STEELE/Miner)

Electric micro cars from the 1960s. (KIM STEELE/Miner)

KINGMAN - When Roderick Wilde and Bob Oldfather head home at the end of the International Route 66 Festival, they'll be leaving behind a legacy.

Wilde, executive director of the Historic Electric Vehicle Foundation, and Oldfather, its archivist, will be loaning eight electric vehicles to the Powerhouse Visitor Center to start the world's first International Electric Vehicle Museum. The Carlsborg, Wash., nonprofit group's mission is to educate people about the history of electric vehicles and preserve examples of them before they disappear.

The loaned vehicles include a white 1930 Detroit Electric, a yellow 1929 Ford Roadster street rod, a Kawashocki drag bike, a red 1961 Taylor-Dunn Trident, a blue 1960 Electric Shopper, a red 1950s Marketeer, a wooden 1928 Auto Red Bug and a black 1909 Elwell-Parker Railroad Baggage Tug. The visitor center has agreed to house the vehicles for free and they are now on display after arriving late Thursday evening.

"We want to show people what's going on with electric vehicles and how they've progressed over the years," said Oldfather. "They're more prominent and accepted now than they used to be. We'd also like to see Route 66 become the nation's first electric highway. Not only is it the crossroads of our past, it's also the crossroads of our future."

A steady stream of visitors Friday stopped by to view the baggage tug, manufactured in Cleveland to assist in moving baggage for the Pennsylvania Railroad. It has three speeds, with a top speed of 20 miles per hour.

Another vehicle of interest was the Auto Red Bug, a street-legal two-seater made from ash wood by several companies from 1914-1930 with a top speed of 12 to 25 miles per hour.

The White Zombie, made by Portland, Ore., resident John Wayland, drew plenty of attention. Billed as the world's fastest-accelerating street-legal electric car, it can go from 0 to 60 miles an hour in 1.8 seconds.

The converted Datsun 1200 went from having 69 horsepower and 70-foot pounds of torque to 538 electric horsepower and 1,250-foot pound of torque. The one-gear car can travel a quarter-mile in 10.2 seconds, from standing still to 123 miles per hour.

"This car is so quick and powerful but it still has range," say Wayland, noting it can travel 100 miles before needing a recharge. "People think of electric vehicles as slow, dull and boring. The White Zombie changes their perceptions and they get interested in electric vehicles when they see it because they didn't know they could do what they do. They're shocked that these cars have so much power."

The white 2013 Tesla Model S parked on the floor also caught visitors' eyes with its sleek design and black interior. Owned by Chandler, Ariz., resident Tudor Melville, the vehicle was voted 2012 Car of the Year by Motor Trend magazine and received a 99 out of 100 rating by Consumer Report.

The car, which cost $105,000, can go 138 miles per hour and travels 200-250 miles on a single charge. It has a 17-inch monitor built into the dashboard that has a constant Internet connection, as well as a backup camera whose picture can be viewed there.

Melville said he bought the car in February 2013 because his company, Suntech Circuits, manufactures the circuit boards they use.

"It's an incredible car," said Melville. "I bought it because I don't have to stop at a gas station ever again, I like the look of the vehicle and it has great Internet. I've had Mercedes and BMW cars, and nothing compares to this."

Gary and Stephanie Dagget, and their 8-year-old daughter Trina, paused to discuss the Model S with Melville as they made their way around the electric vehicle exhibit.

The family, who described themselves as Route 66 fanatics, traveled from Amarillo, Texas, to attend the festival and decided to view the vehicles as part of their trip.

"I didn't realize electric vehicles have been around so long," said Gary Dagget. "It's amazing. They wouldn't be here so many years if they didn't have value

"I'm into hot rods, and some of them can go pretty fast. But my big thing is how far can they go. If they could go the distance, I wouldn't mind having one. Seeing what the new cars offer is starting to change my mind."