Electric cars in Birmingham: A look back at the first electric vehicles

Take a look at the Birmingham’s first electric vehicles dating back to the 1920s

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Since its formation in 1977 the Transport Museum at Wythall has been dedicated to the preservation of the West Midland’s motoring past. Today their large site accommodates one of the most significant collections of buses in the world - together with what many consider to be one of the finest collections of historic battery powered vehicles.

Today the second wave of electric vehicle adoption does look to be more widespread, clean air zones, fuel prices and a desire to be more environmentally-friendly mean that, last month, close to one in five vehicles sold in the UK was all electric - at the museum they are proud to showcase the important role the West Midlands played in the development of the technology.

Freaks & Blacks, Transport Museum WythallFreaks & Blacks, Transport Museum Wythall
Freaks & Blacks, Transport Museum Wythall

Electric vehicles from the 1920s

Denis Chick, Trustee at the Transport Museum Wythall says: “Electric vehicles have been operational really since the 1920s. In fact, electric cars are running in America before 1900. And they've been developed obviously over the years. Here the collection is showing mostly delivery vans, bread vans milk vans, from the 1920s right the way through to when they basically finished working in probably the 1970s into the early 80s.”

Yoghourt, Transport Museum WythallYoghourt, Transport Museum Wythall
Yoghourt, Transport Museum Wythall

”The museum is very proud to have such a big collection of electric vehicles because when we get visitors come here, they don't believe that electric vehicles ever existed. I mean, we have a ChargePoint outside I put it in purposely so people can bring electric cars here so we can show that nothing's new basically.

Denis Chick, Trustee at the Transport Museum WythallDenis Chick, Trustee at the Transport Museum Wythall
Denis Chick, Trustee at the Transport Museum Wythall

“The collection has been here for some years. It's got working vehicles, it's got vehicles in restoration vehicles for restoration. In fact, the vehicle behind me here is electric Birmingham electric car built in Birmingham, in 1935. To a very stylish Art Deco design is a vehicle we're looking to restore very soon.”

“We specialise here in vehicles that were either used in Birmingham or the West Midlands, so things like Birmingham city transport, Midland red and West Midlands travel, or vehicles that were built in the Midlands because many of the buses that went around the world actually were exported around the world and used in this country were built here in Birmingham or in the West Midlands.”

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