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Fritchle Electric

Founded by Oliver Parker Fritchle. Denver, CO
Filed under:  Companies
 
Comment(s): 0
 
 

Oliver Parker Fritchle was an American chemist, storage battery innovator, and entrepreneur with electric vehicle and wind power generation businesses during the early twentieth century. His initial battery patent was awarded in 1903 and by 1904 he had established what was to become the Fritchle Automobile & Battery Company in Denver, Colorado.

fritchle electric ef icon

Fritchle Electric "FE" crest.

He was an early adaptor and developer of significant automotive technologies, such as regenerative braking and hybrid drivetrains, that did not reemerge on production vehicles of major car companies until late in the twentieth century.

Fritchle achieved national celebrity for his 1908 Lincoln-to-New York endurance run in one of the first electric automobile models produced by his firm.

Fritchle produced a number of practical innovations in addition to his battery and vehicle patents, such as one of the first automobile child seats. The Fritchle Milostat was a clever solution to the problem electric vehicle operators had accurately estimating the driving distance available from their batteries. It was simply a hydrometer calibrated to display the percentage of charge remaining rather than the normal, but difficult to interpret, specific gravity reading.

The Fritchle Automobile products evolved over five years from the carriage-like Phaeton to a broad line of cars and a commercial truck. Models made at various times during more than a decade of production included the Victoria Phaeton, four-passenger coupe, roadster, Stanhope runabout, two-passenger torpedo runabout, four-passenger tourer, a luxury five-passenger brougham, and a one thousand pound commercial truck.

As robust as the Fritchle electric vehicles were for their time, initial growth of the electric vehicle segment peaked in 1912 and became a declining niche unable to compete on price, range, or servicing with the substantially higher volume gasoline powered alternatives.

A Fritchle hybrid gas-electric model utilizing a four-cylinder air-cooled engine was developed in 1916, but failed to sustain the automobile business. Production ceased sometime after 1917, though the last Fritchle Electric may have been sold as late as 1922.

(This article is licensed under the . It includes content from this article.)

1908 fritchle elec bro p 3

First page of the 1908 100-Mile Fritchle Electric brochure. (source: )

1908 fritchle elec bro bc

Back cover of the 1908 100-Mile Fritchle Electric brochure. (source: )

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100-Mile Fritchle Electric emblem.

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1913 Fritchle Electric Roadster. (source: )

VIDEOS

1914 Fritchle Electric Automobile at History Colorado Center


1914 Fritchle Electric.

 
 
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