Jay Leno restored and improved 1914 Detroit Eletric

Notorious gearhead Jay Leno has packed original 1914 Detroit Electric car with 24kWh Nissan Leaf battery package.

1/30/16 4:00 am chumakdenis 1

While most of the EV fans are way too busy discussing latest flagship models presented at the CES 2016, some other exciting things are happening around the same time.

So, here’s one of such things: Jay Leno –yes, that Jay that hosts Jay Leno’s Garage– has restored and improved original 1914 Detroit Electric car.










Here’s how it was: Jay found the body of 1914 Detroit Electric car and bought it on the auction for $1,000.

Then, he decided that it would be really nice to restore the vehicle completely and he did it.

However, Jay wouldn’t be Jay if he wouldn’t make some changes to the car afterward.

A restoration itself is a way too boring, isn’t it?

Restmodding – a fancy word that made up notorious Jay Leno. It stands for a combination of “restoration” and “modding” –is so much better in all possible ways.

What changes did he make?

Well, Jay isn’t as ‘crazy’ as Xzibit, so don’t expect to see 1914 Detroit Electric coming with 21’’ alloy wheels and tons of TV sets everywhere – no Pimp My Ride stuff in here.

However, some really cool changes were made.

Jay increased vehicle’s performance by 10 times  by installing two 24 kWh Nissan Leaf battery packs –one battery was installed in the front and another one in the back of the car – and made it more comfortable by installing such amenities as the new version will of the Bluetooth and air conditioning system (more details in the video below).


Much of the parts of the car were badly damaged, including pretty much all of the wood parts, and had to be replaced.

Interesting facts

In the very early days of the automotive industry, electric cars had a significant market share.

For instance, in 1900, 40% of American automobiles were powered by steam, 38% by electricity, and 22% by gasoline.

However, by 1920, advances in internal combustion engine technology and the invention of the electric starter gave an edge to gasoline. Electric car production declined significantly and soon electric vehicles almost disappeared.

Detroit Electric itself folded in 1939 and remained non-existent until 2008 – in that year investors revived Detroit Electric and a few years after it Detroit started production of Detroit SP:01.

A few words about 1914 Detroit Electric

Production of the 1914 Detroit Electric car, powered by a rechargeable lead acid battery, began in 1907.

The car was able to run 80 miles (130 km) on a single charge – in one test a Detroit Electric ran 211 miles (340 kilometers) on a single charge –, had a top speed of around 20 miles per hour (32 km/h) and definitely had an indigenous design  – do you feel embarrassed for our ancestors?

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