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Home > Henney Kilowatt Electric Car - 1959-1960

Henney Kilowatt Electric Car - 1959-1960


Henney Kilowatt Electric Car

The Henney Kilowatt was a project of National Union Electric Company, a conglomerate including Emerson Radio, and Henney Motor Company, which had purchased Eureka Williams in 1953. The project was initiated by C. Russell Feldmann, president of National Union Electric Company and the Eureka Williams Company. To build the electric cars, he employed the services of the Henney Motor Company coachwork division of Canastota, New York. Henney had been building custom coaches since 1868 and was a well-recognized name in the automotive industry because of its affiliation with the Packard Automobile Company. Henney produced thousands of custom built limousines, ambulances, and hearses, before being contracted to begin the Kilowatt project. National Union Electric Company was also the producer of Exide Batteries—and naturally had a vested interest in shifting American automotive focus from fossil fuels to lead-cell batteries. Morrison McMullan, Jr., controller of Exide Batteries, was also a participant in the development of the Kilowatt.

Henney Kilowatt 1960Henney Kilowatt Electric Car



Kilowatt Specifications
The 1959 models all ran on a 36-volt system of 18 sequential two-volt batteries. The 36-volt cars had a top speed of 40 miles per hour and could run approximately 40 miles on a full charge. After the 36-volt system was realized to be impractical, the Kilowatt drivetrain was redesigned by Eureka Williams as a 72-volt system for the 1960 model year. It employed 12 sequential six-volt batteries. The 72-volt models were much more practical than the 1959 36-volt models. The 1960 Kilowatt boasted a top speed of nearly 60 mph (97 km/h) with a range of over 60 miles on a single charge. Although the Kilowatt is described by some sources as "the first transistor-based electric car", the speed controller uses a combination of relays and diodes to switch the batteries and motor windings in different configurations for different speeds, not transistors.
Kilowatt Sales
According to the official Eureka Company corporate history profile there were a total of 100 Henney Kilowatts manufactured during the entire two year production run, but of those 100 cars only 47 were ever sold. A French Renault Dauphine enthusiast website also states that a total of 100 rolling chassis were prepared by Henney Coachworks for the project, but of those only 47 functional cars were actually completed.



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