Laski's Account



Electric Auto

1249 Lane Street, Belmont, California 94002 (415) 591-6698


We in the EAA are undertaking a Research Project, which will bring us closer to the, future. This Project might be better understood and the significance appreciated if we were, to review a little history of the accomplishments of one particular man. You may see how our work and ambitions are somewhat similar to his, At least you may find the comparisons interesting and amusing. In fact, it might well shed-some light on how "American Industrial, Supremacy" of the past century can be carried over into the next century. Let's look at a famous inventor who helped in a very significant way to create this industrial, supremacy.

The inventor was Charles Kettering, later of General Motors fame. His first achievement was an improved automobile ignition sys stem. He also greatly extended the life of dry call batteries then used in automobiles General, Motors immediately bought 8,000 of his early components for their cars,

In 1910 a woman's Cadillac stalled on a bridge in Detroit, A passing man gallantly offered to restart the car for-her. Now days, how many of you know what is required to hand crank an automobile to start the engine? On this occasion, the crank snapped back breaking the man's jaw. Complications set in and he died.

This death greatly troubled the then President of General Motors. He approached Mr. Kettering again hoping he could develop a safe alternative for getting cars started. Kettering assumed an electric motor could crank an engine and more importantly serve as a generator of electricity as well, Then the addition of a storage battery would complete a system that would start the car, generate electricity for lighting and ignition as well as store excess electricity for future starting. In short a system we still use today but can improve on for tomorrow with our present knowledge.

In the beginning, in an old barn Kettering's men did such like we must do with our FAA members in the Bay Area. They designed, drafted, machined, wired and wound each component required for Kettering's now starting/lighting/ignition systems. EAA members must now design, draft, machine, wire and wind similar components for our research project, intended to extend the range and marketability of electric vehicles.

Kettering and his Delco Company was bought by General Motors. His next experiment was with air-cooled engines. He, like us electric car drivers, could see the advantages of eliminating all the fuss and troubles with radiators that boil over in the summer and freeze in the winter. His project failed and was a $31 million tax write off for GM in 1923. It was up to the German VW to do this successfully much later.

1 Kettering hoped to find an alternative to fossil fuels* He established and financed an independent investigative effort into the workings of photosynthesis that lasted fifty years. With today's space age technology, we are extremely close to his ambition, an economical substitution of photovoltaic electricity for fossil fuels.

The EAA for 20 years has been endeavoring, with some risk to do what Mr. Kettering did. He often referred to his approach as this quality of "intelligent ignorance". The EAA has been fortunate with this "intelligent ignorance" method. Not knowing that it was, impossible, EAA members have gone ahead establishing electric vehicle records and finding devices to improve performances. By such means as this approach, electric vehicles have been advanced toward marketable electric cars and trucks.

The EAA would like to help the public better understand these rather simple, trouble free systems which are similar to those that start their present cars everyday. It is possible for the United States to again lead in marketing better automobiles in a better world.

To EAA Members:

With hopes of early and successful passage by the Congress of the proposed Bill HR 5470 on the "Electric Vehicle Development and Demonstration Act of 1975" the time has come for us to take action in organizing a Supply Base for those who will be involved in constructing electric vehicles in the Federal Program or for their own use, and provide them with Conversion Kits and Components at reasonable cost.

The organization plan will be based on a co-operative arrangement with members producing independently components for the Kits of their own design and fabrication and selling them through a management group selected by participating members. The basic organization will consist of specialized groups, -4ith each group having a coordinator reporting regularly to the management.

The groups will be formed as follows:

Group A - motors Group B - controls, chargers Group C - Mechanical parts

Group D - instrumentation, batteries Group E - compacts for conversion

Members will also make contact with suppliers of materials and components and arrange a delivery of such on a dealership basis.

The time is now to take advantage of a most promising situation and start a new venture in a coming new industry. Those interested please write to:

Walter V. Laski 1674 Merrill Drive San Jose, CA. 95124 or call (408)264-8936

All members of the Electric Auto Association are very much elated about the "Electric Vehicle Development and Demonstration Act of 1975" and pledge a full support for the proposed Bill HR 5470 with hopes of it's early and successful passage by via Congress.

Frankly, it's about time we undertook a nationwide effort to provide the first step in the eventual electrification of personal transport. It is also proper that we should join other nations on this planet in this effort which was started by them already several years ahead of us.

The Bill itself is well put together and it is evident that this was done by individuals well acquainted with this particular field. However, there are some minor points we wish to make for the sake of conserving expenditures on certain proposals, such as; Section 5(c) and Section 6 on promoting basic research - R & D in this field has been going on for the past 20 years and many millions of taxpayers money were wasted in trying to come up with an electric Cadillac instead of an electric Model T Ford. Instead of this wasteful and unnecessary repetition a concise Report on the Present State of Art would bring up a good indication where we are and where to start the new program.

Basically the Administrator could use an Advisory Board composed of sufficient number of individuals with actual experience in a particular specialty such as, electric traction motors, speed controls vehicle design, traction batteries etc. Each specialty group should consist of several individuals in order to provide a consensus of decision based on real facts rather than theory.

In Section 7 (b) the development of performance standard and criteria would be helped by inspection and demonstration of a number already, available electric vehicles developed by individuals members of EAA and other organizations. Such demonstrations could be arranged on a regional basis by special investigating teams collecting the necessary technical data. This in fact would be a part of the Report on the State of Art the first step in the Program.

Section 9 (c) calls for studies and research on incentives to promote consumer acceptance of electric autos -- the EAA has been doing, this for the past six years by staging exhibits of the vehicles built by the members in various shopping centers around the SF Bay Area; at least 30 such Exhibits have been made and more are scheduled for this year.

Besides the Exhibits, the EAA conducted in 1979 a "Build-your-own-electric" Contest for high school students in the Bay Area and the winners came up with an electric motorcycle capable of 65 mph top speed and 50 mile range. This type of Contest could be conducted nation-wide for high school and college students. The EAA could provide practical assistance in organizing and conducting such a contest, which would help to awake the public at large and learn to accept the reality of tie coming change.

The Electric Auto Association is willing to share the experience of its members in designing, and building electric autos which is now represented by the membership of seven Chapters in California and well over 50 electric autos built by the members since 1967.

Respectfully yours,

Walter V. Laski

top of page to organizations

This site is dedicated to using the World Wide Web to record recent events in the history of technology and to make this history available to the wider public. Please address comments, criticism, and contributions to <>.