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Jay Leno has a running EV made early in this century, a 1909 Baker Electric.
I became aware of electric cars when the EV-1 came out.
 

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I was on my college solar car team for Sunrayce '97 and did the preview drive from Indianapolis to Colorado Springs in 1996. Sadly we were all engineers with grand plans but not enough PR skills to raise the funds to make them reality. Highlights of the preview were seeing a GM EV1, and getting rides in several electric cars along the way including a prototype BMW at our motor supplier UNIQ Mobility's headquarters.

The motor controllers contained large input capacitors and you couldn't just connect your batteries to them without getting a large and damaging arc across the switch. You needed a circuit called a soft starter, and UNIQ explained to us both the expensive and cheap ways to do it. The cheap way was to switch a trouble light in series when making the connection, then throwing the main switch after the lamp went out indicating that the capacitors were charged and no more current was flowing. Before they gave us a ride in the BMW an engineer opened the trunk (boot) to throw a switch, and the whole trunk lit up then faded out before he threw another switch... :)
 
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