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Overview

Around the turn of the century, there was no consensus as to how to power a car, whether it be with petrol, steam or electricity.  Even decades later proponents of a particular system would continue to defend their ideas fanatically.  Each drive method had its own specific pros and cons.  In 1899, the Belgian Camille Jenatzy reached a speed of 66 mph (106 kph) with an electrically driven car.  This reinforced the confidence of many car manufacturers in batteries instead of coal or petrol.  And so, in 1902, the Swiss Tribelhorn company presented its first electrically driven car.

The passenger car could cover a distance of 62 miles (100 km) at a speed of approximately 15 mph (25 kph).  The car housed so many batteries that there was almost no room for the passengers.  The operating range was and still is the main problem facing electrically driven cars.  Tribelhorn tried to solve the problem by building special charging stations along the main roads of Switzerland.  However, this was of no advantage to the passenger cars as the charging stations were too spread out across the country.  They did offer great advantages to the trucks of the Swiss postal service which always followed the same route.

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