Route 66 EV Museum

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World’s First International Electric Vehicle Museum Opens in Arizona
Friday, August 15th, 2014: The Historic Electric Vehicle Foundation (HEVF) opened it’s first International Electric Vehicle Museum in Kingman, Arizona in conjunction with the Route 66 International Festival being held there. The theme for this year’s festival was “The Crossroads of the Past and the Future”.  At the three day opening, the museum was visited by people from 28 states and 20 countries making it a truly international event. The name chosen for HEVF’s very first electric vehicle (EV) museum – the only one in the world solely dedicated to electric vehicles, was the “Route 66 Electric Vehicle Museum”. It all started out as a commitment by the HEVF to bring a couple of EVs to display in support of Route 66 becoming an “Electric Highway” with charging station’s installed along it’s entire route. This snowballed into the HEVF’s very first museum location. The site chosen by the City of Kingman was the historic Powerhouse Building, constructed in 1907 and fitted with oil-fired,  steam-driven generators to provide electricity to the area. It couldn’t have been a better match! The construction of the Hoover Dam displaced the Power House’s role, and having survived attempts to demolish the structure in the 70s it currently houses the Kingman Visitor Center and the award winning Route 66 Museum on the second floor.
To make this all come together, HEVF’s Executive Director, Roderick Wilde, worked with renowned Kingman resident and author Jim Hinckley and Kingman’s City Manager, John Dougherty. “The city was most welcoming and all the people we met there were great!”, exclaimed Roderick. Jim Dougherty said the EV display was an exciting addition to the Powerhouse complex and that the city looks forward to further cooperation with the HEVF. Josh Nobel, Executive Director of Tourism, for Kingman stated: The Route 66 Festival provided a suitable platform for the historic electric vehicle symposium, but it became evident the display was solid on it’s own.”

There was a very wide range of vehicles displayed from 1909 to the present, the oldest being a 1909 Ellwell-Parker baggage tug owned by Bob Oldfather, HEVFs Archivist. This is only one of two known to exist in the world. The newest EV was a sleek Tesla Model S graciously displayed during the opening day by its owner, Tudor Melville. John Wayland, another HEVF board member, brought his famous street legal electric drag car, “The White Zombie” all the way from Portland, Oregon. Also on display was the world’s first electric street rod, built by Wilde Evolutions in Jerome, Arizona back in 1995. Roderick Wilde brought his 1930 Detroit Electric and several US made electric micro cars which were built in California in the 1940s to 1960s. Earlier this year, one of these micro cars was on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, and was also at the Californian Automobile Museum in Sacramento. Another vehicle of note was the late Ed Rannberg’s high performance electric drag bike, the “Kawashocki”. Ed was one of the pioneers in the EV movement in the US. He is honored by the National Electric Drag Racing Association, which has a yearly award, “The Rannberg Cup” in recognition of those who have done great things to promote EV awareness. Kawashocki was brought out from Oklahoma City and was donated to HEVF by Geri Rannberg, Ed’s wife, and his son Randy.

The Power House is the HEVF’s first venue and it will hopefully live on just as Route 66 itself has, as a true crossroads of the past and the future. The HEVF plans to add several new vehicles to the Kingman display in the coming months, including a 1912 CT electric commercial truck from Bob Oldfather’s extensive collection. You have may have heard of duallys, but this serious electric truck has triple-wide solid rubber tires front and rear mounted on wooden spoke wheels. The driver sits ten feet in the air in the cab… it’s a real monster! Also coming in October will be our newest acquisition, a ‘Bombardier’ preproduction neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV) which the Canadian company used in lobbying activities to get the US federal government to enact NEV legislation that we now enjoy today. This vehicle is being donated to the foundation by Skip Dunn, the President of the Northern New Mexico Electric Vehicle Association.

There are EVs on display at car museums around the world, but they are rarely a focal point and given the attention they deserve. The HEVF exists to give EVs their own place in history and to teach the whole story of the development of electric vehicles and to restore, preserve and display examples for all the peoples of the world to learn from. As the museum moves forward with acquisitions the depth and breadth of the collection will continue to grow.  If it were not for our most gracious host, the City of Kingman, this museum would not exist.

2002 RAV4 EV donated by Heidi Locke Simon to honor her late husband Greg “Simo” Simon. Pictured with their daughter Macquarie.

2002 RAV4 EV donated by Heidi Locke Simon

2002 RAV4 EV donated by Heidi Locke Simon

2002 RAV4 EV donated by Heidi Locke Simon

In the background, 2002 RAV4 EV donated by Heidi Locke Simon.

Willie Nelson’s Rolls style cart next to Waylon Jennings’ Mercedes 450SL style one in the background.

Photo courtesy of “Leah Leandro Leo”

Photo courtesy of Jim Hinckley

Photo courtesy of Jim Hinckley

Photo courtesy of Jim Hinckley

Photo courtesy of Jim Hinckley

Photo courtesy of Jim Hinckley

Photo courtesy of Jim Hinckley

Photo courtesy of Jim Hinckley

“White Zombie” with “Lightning Rod II” and others in background, Photo courtesy Jim Hinckley

Left to right, 1930 Detroit Electric, 1929 model A electric street rod, “Lightning Rod II” and Ed Rannberg’s “Kawashocki” to the right, Photo courtesy Marijana Wilde

John Wayland in “White Zombie” at entrance to our new museum location, Photo courtesy J.Bills

1966 Autoette “Power Car” left & Lyman Electric right, Photo courtesy Marijana Wilde

Auto Red Bug foreground, 1930 Detroit Electric behind, Photo courtesy Marijana Wilde

Roderick Wilde on the left, Jim Hinkley center, and Bob Olfather of the right in blue, Photo courtesy Judy Hinckley

Photo courtesy Tudor Melville

“Kawashocki” Photo courtesy J.Bills

Circa 1922 Auto-Red-Bug, Photo courtesy J.Bills

Trailer for Elwell-Parker baggae truck, Photo courtesy J.Bills

1961 Taylor Dunn Trident, owned by Roderick & Marijana Wilde, Photo courtesy J.Bills

1970s Lyman Electric, Photo courtesy J.Bills

Roderick Wilde’s custom electric bicycle, Photo courtesy J.Bills

1930 Detroit Electric, owned by Roderick & Marijana Wilde, Photo courtesy Jim Hinckley

!960 Electric Shopper electric micro car in foreground, 1966 Autoette “Power Car” with 1959 Marketeer behind it, behind, Photo courtesy Jim Hinckley

1909 Elwell-Parker baggae truck, Photo courtesy Jim Hickley

“Lightning Rod II” World’s first electric street rod, 1995, Photo courtesy J.Bills

Photo courtesy J.Bills

The Powerhouse in Kingman, AZ, Photo courtesy J.Bills

“White Zombie”, Photo courtesy J.Bills

Photo courtesy J.Bills

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One thought on “Route 66 EV Museum

  1. Pingback: Report: Route 66 starts plugging in through the Midwest | Alphatech5 Energy Blog

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