Does Pic Show an Early 1900s Charging Station for Electric Buses?

6 months ago 10

The gas-powered autobus "will soon beryllium an obsolete vehicle," an electrical autobus institution claimed successful 1906.


A photograph from the aboriginal 1900s shows a charging presumption for an electrical bus.



A photograph often shared connected societal media purportedly shows an electrical autobus driving into a "charging and powerfulness station" successful the aboriginal 1900s. 

The representation shows an authentic autobus charging presumption operated by the London Electrobus Company during that company's abbreviated beingness betwixt 1906 and 1909. A version of this photograph appears successful the Getty Images archives. 

As reported by The Economist successful 2007, these charging stations were not plug successful stations arsenic we cognize them today, but alternatively were facilities successful which aged batteries were swapped for caller ones: 

The electrobus needed 1.5 tonnes of lead-acid batteries to transportation its 34 passengers. It could question 60km (38 miles) connected 1 charge. So astatine lunchtime the buses went to a store successful Victoria and drove up a ramp. The batteries, slung nether the electrobus, were lowered onto a trolley and replaced with caller ones. It each took 3 minutes.  

An ad for the institution indicated that they had 2 charging and powerfulness stations for electrical buses located astatine 1 Earl Street and 45 Horseferry Road successful London. Here is different close-up photograph of 1 specified "electrobus" from 1907:

By respective reports, the buses were a hit, acknowledgment to their reduced sound and smoother ride. In debuting their archetypal autobus successful 1906, the directors of the institution said that they "confidently expect that the petrol omnibus, young arsenic it is, volition soon beryllium an obsolete vehicle, truthful acold arsenic municipality postulation is concerned." 

It was not to be. The institution was beset by allegations of fraud during its effort to spell nationalist connected the London Stock Exchange successful 1908. As described successful The Economist, the institution had been duped by a squad of con artists:

The steadfast was buying rights to a patent for £20,000 (£7.5m, oregon $15m, successful today's money) from the Baron de Martigny. But the patent was aged and had thing to bash with artillery buses. It was a scam. Investors asked for their wealth back, and the steadfast had to instrumentality £80,000. The investors would person been adjacent little impressed had they known the existent individuality of the "Baron", who was a Canadian music-hall artist.

Martigny was lone the beforehand man. The mastermind down this and a clutch of consequent scams was Edward Lehwess, a German lawyer and serial con-artist with a sensation for accelerated cars and costly champagne. After this archetypal fiasco, the London Electrobus Company struggled to rise money. But Lehwess had acceptable up a web of beforehand companies to siphon disconnected its funds. Chief among these was the Electric Vehicle Company of West Norwood, which built the buses.

The institution collapsed wholly successful 1909. Because, however, the photograph is successful respective archives and the buses and their charging stations are documented successful paper accounts from that time, the assertion is "True."


"Electrobus Makes Debut connected Streets of London." The San Francisco Call, 27 May 1906, p. 19.,

"How Crooks Stalled the Rise of Electric Cars for 100 Years." New Scientist, Accessed 7 Mar. 2023.

"The London Electrobus Company Limited." The Guardian, 27 Apr. 1908, p. 9.,

"What Is This That Roareth Thus?" The Economist, Accessed 7 Mar. 2023.

Alex Kasprak is an investigative writer and subject writer reporting connected technological misinformation, online fraud, and fiscal crime.

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