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September 6: Andrew Riker sets a 29-mph speed record in his electric car on this date in 1900

September 6, 2013

On the way into the 20th century, the smart engineers of the era had many a debate as to whether electric cars or liquid-fueled ones stood for the future. Andrew Riker, an engineer who built his first car from two bicycles in 1894, showed what could be done on this date in 1900, driving his Riker electric to a new speed record of 29 mph over a five-mile course in Rhode Island. Riker would go on to build several successful electric and gasoline cars, eventually serving as the first head of the Society of Automotive Engineers. (And yes, in this model, the driver sits outside and behind the passenger compartment, just like a good carriage man would.)