Electric or at least hybrid cars are becoming fashionable these days. Rising concerns for the environment, improvement in battery technology and the realization our oil reserves will not last forever have all contributed to the rapid development of electric cars in the last few years.
I was therefor quite surprized to learn of an interesting fact:
Electric cars have been around since the 1920’s!
Case in point, from 1919 onward, an automobile manufacturing company in Berlin-Charlottenburg by the name of Slaby-Beringer was producing cars running on electrical batteries.
Of course they were a far cry from the modern fuel-cell powered models but they were working. Some were employed by Berlin post-offices and newspapers for deliveries. Apparently, they worked well over short distances.
It is also rather said why Slaby-Beringer stopped producing. Their main marked was, very interestingly, Japan. After their business partner in Japan was killed during an earthquake, their main source of revenue disappeared. The company filed for bankruptcy in 1924, after just five years of operation. Makes you wonder what would have happened inf they had taken off and become amazingly successful instead of going bust…
Now for the speculation:
When you add a little Dieselpunk to the historic facts, things become more interesting: Tesla-battery powered cars would run longer, faster and could also be heavier. This is just one possible hook for adding Dieselpunk to this factlette.
There are more options for Dieselpunk technology available as one might think, especially when you want to base them on tech available during the historic period (i.e. roughly the 1920s and 1930s). I wonder what other treasures await discovery in the lesser known chapters of history.