April 15, 1916: Beardsley Electric Tour in Los Angeles, 100 Years Ago Today

APR 15 2016 BY LANNYH 33

1916 Beardsley Tour In LA

1916 Beardsley Electric Tour In LA

Today is the Centennial of the Beardsley Electric Tour held April 15, 1916 in Southern California.

Beardsley Light Electric Makes A Stop At The Hotel Virginia, Long Beach

Beardsley Light Electric Makes A Stop At The Hotel Virginia, Long Beach

One hundred years ago, on a clear Saturday morning, the owners of 35 California-built Beardsley Electric cars got together for “possibly the largest gathering of one make of electrics ever assembled for a tour.”

The drivers, along with over 100 guests, drove from the Beardsley Showroom in downtown Los Angeles to the Hotel Virginia in Long Beach where the party indulged in a banquet and a dip in the ocean before returning home.

Each car averaged over 70 miles on the trip and it is reported that “not a single mishap occurred and every car finished the run on its own power.”

At the time, the Beardsley company attempted to compete with the larger automobile builders in the East by promoting a new light town car touted as “the lowest priced electric built in America.” Beardsley built a factory in Los Angeles but the company’s fortunes soon fell with the rise of much cheaper gasoline-powered cars and the company closed in 1918.

Read more about this and other historic electric vehicle trips at SociabilityRun.org

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33 Comments on "April 15, 1916: Beardsley Electric Tour in Los Angeles, 100 Years Ago Today"

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I wonder how far down the road we would be in terms of EV’s had Gasoline cars had not been much cheaper at the time ?

Imagine a world where electric cars have had 100 years to evolve the way the ICE car has. What a world that would be.

Now we’re starting to get back on our original path… after our 100 year detour with gas.

scott franco (No M3 FAUX GRILL!)

The answer is: without petroleum we would still be a third world country. We would still be struggling to feed ourselves, much less buy cars.

Then again, that agrarian society is the green ideal, no?

Standard oil put in the gasoline stations when there were not that many roads out of the cities. We don’t see the utilities putting in lots of charge stations.

I’ve used quite a few CCS chargers put in around Atlanta by Georgia Power.

Not across the nation.

Nitrogen process for fertilizer has no correlation to transportation.

That was Jefferson’s ideal.
Damn liberal.

Yeah…If those electric cars would have been a hit…Our planet would be in much better shape…

70 miles!! My 12 Leaf couldn’t have done that.

What speed do they do?

25 mph, if you were daring.


0-60 in never.

At the speed they were going, your ’12 LEAF would likely go double that distance. My ’15 LEAF goes over 100 miles in the city on its 24kWh battery. And I don’t drive slowly either.

What’s old, is new again…

Cool, so I’m new again then.

The real efficient transport of that time is just barely visible in the picture….the streetcar rails. Sadly, the auto industry killed them off.

What a shame… Carbon-neutral horses selfishly replaced just for the sake of convenience and speed!

Power generation in 1916 used a lot of coal, sometimes wood, and oil in steam generators. There was some hydro, but not to today’s scale.

Early EVs were far from carbon neutral.

That said, if gasoline had not taken over, we might have also developed off grid solar much earlier, etc.

Modern EVs aren’t exactly carbon-neutral either but using renewable energy sources such as solar gets them pretty close.

According to my calculations my VW TDI using Propel HPR renewable diesel is actually less carbon intensive than Nissan Leaf charged from the grid here in California. Of course the TDI is responsible for higher levels of other pollutants (NOx(!), SO2, particulants) which is one of the reasons I put down a Tesla Model 3 deposit.

What is this miracle ‘Propel HPR Diesel’ fuel you speak of?

Reviewed your link (thanks very much) but the fact that you are burning fats/oils, creating carbon and heat, means that it’s use is still more polluting than a BEV charged by a coal plant since in the refining of this fuel would also use energy from said coal plant.

Marks for being better than a fossil diesel, but not quite as virtuous as BEVs. ?

I’m not saying diesel is better. Obviously if I thought that I wouldn’t have reserved a Tesla.

And sorry, but I don’t think you’re correct about “creating” carbon. Burning fats/oils does not introduce more carbon because that carbon was pulled from the atmosphere by the plants that the fuel is made of. Only 2% or HPR is petroleum diesel which uses carbon that was previously trapped in the earth. If you look at the specs on HPR you’ll see that it’s 67% less carbon intensive including production and distribution than petro diesel.

As I said, the net carbon intensity of HPR in a 40 mpg VW TDI is actually slightly less than an equivalent BEV (e.g. Leaf) charged from the relatively clean grid in my area (California). Other emissions are higher which has a local impact, especially since VW cheated on the NOx controls :-{

I would not be so sure about that coal claim.

Of course the efficiency of early ICEs would have been abysmal along with no emissions devices so they still would have been dirtier than early EVs.

I don’t know if horses are carbon neutral, but they sure aren’t zero-emission.


LOL !!!!!!!!!! 🙂

They could do 70miles, impressive, but it’s at 20mph. Björn nyland went 460 miles in his tesla at that speed.

The Irony is, what with all the electric street cars nationwide until big-bad GM secretly bought up all the companies and forced them out of business, there was much more electric transportation back 80 years ago than now.