First To Sixty: Driving 'Never Satisfied'

Don Sherman drives replica of Camille Jenatzy's La Jamais Contente, the first vehicle to travel faster than 100km/hr

Published: 04-Jan-2011

Flooring the accelerator delivers a low-voltage shock to the cerebellum. Creeping slowly from rest, there are relay clicks and a buzz of electricity hard at work as this horizontal rocket takes flight. Then the drive motors begin making soft mooing sounds. Only in France would a vehicle instrumental in sending horses to pasture sound like a contented cow.

SEE ALSO On the Trail of Camille Jenatzy

Revelations are inevitable when you travel back more than a century to the dawn of speed records. One such revelation is that electric-car pioneer Camille Jenatzy earned so little lasting acclaim for his achievements.

This son of a wealthy Belgian rubber goods manufacturer was one of the first car enthusiasts and the designer, engineer, and driver of La Jamais Contente ("Never Satisfied"), the first car to top 60 mph. Fortunately, Jenatzy's concoction survived to inspire the replica I drove at Paris's Le Bourget airport.


TREV two-place electric car

Student-built vehicle can do 0-60 in 10 seconds with top speed of 75 mph. Photo courtesy of University of South Australia.

Arcimotor plans to sell the vehicle for under $20,000.

The all-electric prototype took two years and $100,000 to build and has range of 50 miles.

Front view of Arcimoto Pulse being developed outside Portland, Oregon.

Professional planner Larry Weymouth thinks our urban transportation system can be adapted to the realities of the new century.


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