The Baker electric of Jay Leno
Is there any car this guy doesn’t have?
The New York Times recently featured Jay Leno and his Baker Electric.
Yeah, the guy that has a Merlin engine powered Rolls-Royce (the same engine used in the P-51 Mustang fighter) and a selection of Stanley and Doble steam powered cars also has an electric car: a 1909 model Baker, to be precise.
It’s apparently a wimp car by Leno’s standards. He says that “[t]hese were women’s shopping cars. There was no fire, no explosions – you just sort of got in and you went. There were thousands of these in New Yor, from about 1905 to 1915. There were charging stations all over town, so the ladies could recharge their cars while they were in the stores.”
There were also other brands: Detroit Electric and Raush & Langs were the other most prominent brands. Clara Ford, Henry’s wife, drove a Detroit, as did Helen Joy, the wife of the president of Packard, according to the Times.
Leno says his Baker looks “like a giant telephone booth,” with a height of seven feet. The car has been converted to modern lead acid batteries from the original batteries which used iron and nickelic oxide in a system originated by Thomas Edison, but which turned out to work poorly and leak.
Leno drives it.
In fact, there’s one trip he takes annually for which only the Baker will do: “I drive it from the garage up into the Hollywood Hills every year to see the Christmas lights,” he said. “The deer come right up to it and look inside. Because there’s no noise, no vibration, no gasoline smell, they’re completely unafraid.”
Compared to a Prius, the Baker’s not too bad. The range is about 110 miles. Running only on electricity, a Prius can’t go that far.
“It’s pretty fun to drive, actually — if you’re not in a hurry, that is.”
Source: NY Times