This electric car from 1912 had a better range than the Nissan LEAF

We know that you know that electric cars weren't invented in the last 20 years—that the GM EV1 (or Toyota Prius, or whatever) wasn't the industry first some members of the general non-Jalop public think it was, and that autos that run on bottled lightning actually date back to the turn of the century.

But we don't know whether you know that the technology was basically locked in as the energy source of the future way back in the early aughts, before these newfangled infernal combustion engines took off.

This electric car from 1912 had a better range than the Nissan LEAF

"Range anxiety" wasn't as big a deal as it is nowadays—in fact some electrics of the period could go further on a charge than new EVs can. This 1912 Detroit Electric, for example – yes, the same Detroit Electric company Proton is trying to bring back from the dead – used to net 80 miles on its old Edison battery packs.

That's 130 km for us folks north of the border, i.e. better than a 2012 Nissan LEAF's EPA-rated range. It gets half that, now, on modern lead-acid batteries: the originals had to be replaced in the 1980s after some sixty-odd goddamn years of service.

Our feature on this oft-driven example from British Columbia – did I mention we're Canadian, eh? – goes into a little more detail. Read it, so then we'll know that you know. That we know. Or something.

This electric car from 1912 had a better range than the Nissan LEAF