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Baker Motor Vehicle Company

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Baker Motor Vehicle Company

Baker Motor Vehicle Company was a manufacturer of Brass Era electric automobiles in Cleveland, Ohio from 1899 to 1914. The Baker factory was located on Euclid Avenue.

The first Baker vehicle was a two seater with a selling price of $850. One was sold to Thomas Edison as his first car.

The model range was expanded in 1904 to two vehicles, both two-seaters with armored wood-frames, centrally-located electric motors, and 12-cell batteries. The Runabout had 0.75 hp and weighed 650 lb. The Stanhope cost $1600, weighed 950 lb, had 1.75 hp and three-speed transmission. It was capable of 14 mph.

In 1906 Baker made 800 cars, making them the largest electric vehicle maker in the world at the time.

By 1907, Baker had seventeen models, the smallest being the Stanhope and the largest the the Inside Drive Coupe. There was also the $4000 Extension Front Brougham with the driving seat high up behind the passengers mimicking a Hansom cab. Baker also introduced a range of trucks with capacity of up to 5 tons.

In 1913 Baker was overtaken in sales by Detroit Electric and in 1914 merged with fellow Cleveland automaker Rauch and Lang to become Baker, Rauch & Lang. The last Baker cars were made in 1916, but electric industrial trucks continued for a few more years.

1911 Baker Electric

Women favored electric automobiles because they did not require cranking and had no exhaust fumes. Electrics could travel up to 20 MPH and had a range of 20 to 50 miles on one charging of the batteries. Several manufacturers produced electric vehicles including Riker, Woods, Detroit Electric, Columbia and of course, Baker. From 1910 to 1915 the popularity of the electric car peaked and shortly thereafter gasoline powered vehicles took their place. Electric cars were expensive costing between $2,550 and $3,000 in 1914.

Click on the image for more details.

Jay Leno's Baker Electric

Jay Leno speaks of his, "My Baker Electric dates back nearly 100 years and it's a late model. By then, the company had been selling electrics for more than a decade. Unlike other early cars, the Baker Electric needed no cranking, had no gasoline smell and was essentially maintenance-free. Not surprisingly, it was marketed to women. The interior of my Baker is rather froufrou, complete with a little makeup kit. Even though it's almost a century old, the car drives totally silently like any modern electric vehicle. In fact, when I take it up into the hills, I have to be extra careful of deer. They usually just stand there and look in the windows, which makes the Baker my wife Mavis's favorite car."

Click on the image to read an article Jay Leno wrote for Popular Mechanics.

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