Built for him by Fred M. Kimball of the Fred M. Kimball Company, the vehicle’s 10 lead-acid cells created 20 volts to a 0.5 horsepower DC motor. The driver sat above the battery assemblage. The whole setup weighed about 300 pounds and had a top speed of eight miles-per-hour.
The Pratt-Kimball device wasn’t the first electric tricycle in the world — that milestone belongs to British engineers William Ayrton and John Perry — but it led the way to American innovation in self-propelled vehicles.
Considered the father of the American electric automobile, Pratt and his invention might have gone unnoticed but for the journalistic professionalism of the editor of a short-lived Boston magazine devoted to the wonders of electricity, Modern Light and Heat.
Words of Wisdom for July 27, 2016
“We received an invitation last Friday from a gentleman who is giving much attention to electric vehicles — Mr. P.W. Pratt of Boston — to take a ride on an electric tricycle that had just been completed for him by a well-know electrical manufacturing concern of this city.”
— editor of "Modern Light and Heat" magazine, August 2, 1888