Zero Emissions Hauler: 1912 C-T A10 Electric Truck

In the early days of self-powered vehicles, electricity emerged as a potential default power source over gasoline or steam. An early electric-powered heavy hauler is up for auction on here on eBay in Winfield, West Virginia with a current bid just over $4,000 with the reserve unmet.

This 1912 Commercial Truck A10 Standard made a lot of sense to its original buyer, The Curtis Publishing Company, in that it was a non-internal combustion powered vehicle. That made it perfect for use indoors as a hauler of paper rolls to the printing presses. The electric motors provided instant torque, were quiet in operation and made no exhaust fumes or smoke.  It likely replaced horse-drawn wagons when it went into service.

Propulsion came from four 16 horsepower General Electric motors with one motor driving each wheel and the 64 total horsepower was quite respectable in the day. Power storage was originally provided by nine huge lead acid batteries. Each one was 8 inches wide by 14 inches high and 5 feet long and each one weighed about 500 pounds. The seller states that the original Edison batteries are not included in the sale, but he offers advice on how to power the truck using 45 modern 12 volt batteries instead.

The truck was modified early in its life to a closed cab which replaced the canvas top-protected open seating it was built with. Of course, being a work vehicle, driver amenities are practically non-existent with only a wooden bench for the occupant.  The steering wheel is bolt upright with power and forward-reverse controlled by a secondary wheel on the steering post. Brakes are only on the rear wheels and are controlled by a foot pedal.

The majority of the body and chassis is wood with various trim and support pieces in iron or steel.  There is steel plate over 2 inch thick red oak on the load bed and the seller says that the green paint that is on the truck is original but thin.  This is a solid rubber tire vehicle, not unlike many modern forklifts cruising warehouses and loading docks today.  The wheels are wood spoke and the seller says that one extra will be included in the sale.

What could you do with this unusual survivor? As a parade vehicle, it could haul the homecoming queen and her entire court. However, city officials might not be pleased with the effect that the solid rubber tires might have on the road surfaces. Of course, it would be a hit at commercial vehicle shows, but with an fully laden weight of over 35,000 pounds, it might need a modern commercial vehicle to carry it there. Heck, Tesla is getting into the electric truck business. Maybe the successful bidder could flip it to Elon Musk. Or not.


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  1. Howard A Member

    What’s the “current” bid?,,,,(crickets), Anyway, while clearly before my time, I’ve picked up( or delivered) to paper factories( that are long gone now) that had pictures in their office just like the 2nd picture. They used these for inter-plant hauling well into the 70’s. Funny, for 75 years, nothing worked better. Not sure what you’d do with it today. Parade duty about it.

    Like 1
    • Rodney McDonald Member

      Maybe the bidding will be amped up soon.

      Like 13
    • Al

      I’m getting a charge out of this. Maybe you can spark up some interest in this rig.
      Purely electrifying!
      Some people will be re-volted by its streamlining however.

      Like 10
      • Dean


        Like 10
      • Chris

        I’m shocked at the whole idea. In fact I find it quite re-volting!

        Like 6
      • Booya

        Ohm my gawd.

        Like 4
  2. KSwheatfarmer

    I’m not so sure on that 35,000 empty weight. Would guess that’s it’s gross rating.

    Like 1
    • Rodney McDonald Member

      Thank you – Fixed!

  3. TimS Member

    Hasn’t this thing been on here before?

    Like 6
  4. canadainmarkseh Member

    I think it has been on here before, this would work very well in a working museum. We have just such a place here in Calgary Alberta called heritage park. It’s a working small town with a steam locomotive, blacksmith shop, old time bakery. A mainstreet with early 19th century shops and the whole two story hotel from the small town of Waynewright Alberta, it also has turn of the last century homes, a school and a church. There’s also gasoline alley a full car museum at the entrance to the park. All there runabouts within the park are early 1900 truck bodies on 70′ gm chassies complete with fake chain drives. Ill bet most people don’t even know the differance. This truck would fit right in and would be a genuine working antique. Other than a place like Heritage park I don’t know what you’d do with this beast. Very unusual truck.

    Like 3
    • Al

      I looked on a map for Waynewright, I think you mean Wainwright. This Hermitage Park sounds fairly promising for a rig like this. I have read about this park, I think they have a sturmwinder boat that sails around some lake too.

      • canadainmarkseh Member

        Spelling has never been my strong suit so your right about the name of the town. Yes there is a stern wheeler at the park, they have to dry dock it each fall before the Glenmoore resivour freezes over for the winter. The park is on the shore of the Calgary’s water supply and the stern wheeler is the only motorized boat allowed on the lake. It’s a steel hulled diesel powered replica with two deck levels. Heritage park also has a antique midway. If your ever in Calgary in the summer it makes for a great way to spend a day. There is lots to see in the park.

        Like 1
  5. Kenneth Carney

    Don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m
    pretty charged up about this truck! Don’t
    know watt I’d use it for other than daily
    transportation after a hurricane roars
    through and gas may not be available
    for days or even weeks after the storm
    passes. Even if you do find gas, you
    may wind up paying $10-$12 a gallon
    for it. There were a few of these foreign
    run stations in Winter Haven that were
    ripping people off last year after Irma
    paid us a visit. And here’s where an
    EV like this truck would come in handy.
    By placing solar panels over the bed
    and roof, you could then charge the
    truck while you were driving it. Granted,
    you would need a very large generator
    to make this happen but it could be
    done. After you’re done forraging for
    supplies, just park it in front of your
    house, grab as many HD extension
    cords as possible, and let that same
    same solar generator power up your
    freezers fridges, and so much more!
    Why, you’d be the envy of your neighbor-
    hood knowing you could protect your
    food supply at least until the sun went
    down! But seriously, to own a piece of
    usable history like this would be some-
    thing I’d like to do for a long time to

    • LAB3

      With the amount of space available to mount panels you’d need to park that thing in the sun for a couple of weeks to charge that battery bank of that size.

  6. Chuckster

    Does it come with the original battery charger? It must be really something itself.

    Like 2
  7. Mike

    Was posted here last October. They mentioned a CL ad for it wanting $39k. Don’t think he’ll get that price. Too weird and ungainly and it may end up being a reason for a divorce.

    Like 1
  8. Fred H

    The cost of the battries would be very costly.

    Like 1
  9. Ian C

    Switch over to Hellcat drivetrain.
    Then install an underwear shelf on the dash, because you will need a change once driving it.

    (yes, I know it is a stupid suggestion, but it makes for a funny mental picture! LOL!!)

  10. Lance

    45 12 volt batteries??!!!! Don’t think I’ll be reaching for my checkbook just yet. This needs a museum around it not my garage.

    Like 1
  11. James Haviland

    What would be an acceptable current usage? I dont think this is Fermi. All omh saying is my spouse would create resistance to my purchasing such a white elephant.

  12. LAB3

    It would be really nice to have those old Edison cells that’s for sure! I’m betting some hippies snagged them long ago to power an off grid hideaway. Those things are practically indestructible, a good freind pulled a bank out of an old ship that was being scrapped. They had been dead for over 20 years and after we got done refurbishing them they worked good as new. That was 25 yrs ago, in another five it’ll be time to change the electrolyte and let them run another 30.

    Like 3
  13. chad

    “…I don’t know what you’d do with this beast….”
    same as up to ’63. Use as a transport in very lrg warehouse.

  14. Richard Schickling

    I remember these trucks well, plying the streets of Philadelphia. If you heard one of them coming, everyone tried to get in front of it because they moved so slow, they were meant to haul paper from the storage warehouse at 11th and Washington ave, to the plant entrance at 7th and Sansom st. That was in the early 60’s. Later in life I got to see the generating, and charging courtyard for these trucks.

  15. TouringFordor

    This was in the car corral at Hershey several years ago. Don’t know if the current owner brought it there, or bought it there. The wood is going bad really quickly on this.

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