Green and Forgotten: the future in the past – Kriéger’s adventure

The innovation of Kriéger cars, in addition to their engine, was the braking energy recovery system, a system very popular on today’s electric and hybrid cars but in Kriéger’s time a brilliant idea which positioned his cars at the forefront of modern propulsion.

The phenomenon of the car powered by electricity, which is becoming increasingly popular today, is only considered a phenomenon now.  In fact the electric motor already existed, as many of you will know, at the end of the 1800s, even though it only had a marginal role at the dawn of the motor age compared with the combustion engine. Already at that time, however, small car manufacturers just starting out could already see the validity of the electric alternative.

Among the first supporters was Louis Antoine Kriéger (1868 – 1951), who founded the Compagnie Parisienne des Voitures Electriques in Paris in 1897, marketing electric cars bearing his name. The innovation of Kriéger cars, in addition to their engine, was the braking energy recovery system, a system very popular on today’s electric and hybrid cars but in Kriéger’s time a brilliant idea which positioned his cars at the forefront of modern propulsion.

The range of his cars consisted of three models: the Brougham, the Landaulet and finally the Electrolette. In 1901 forty-three vehicles were produced, increasing to sixty-five in 1902, contributing much curiosity for these models on his home market as well as beyond the French borders, so much so that his cars were produced under licence by other companies, such as Namag in Germany, S.T.A. in Italy and Electromobile in England.

Later, Louis Kriéger continued to work on numerous projects and he is almost certainly linked to the first hybrid car in history, powered by both an electric and a combustion engine, the Electrolette, not to be confused with the car of the same name made by Kriéger’s Compagnie Parisienne des Voitures Electriques in 1902 but made as the result of a car project which only came to light in 1941, representing another example of how the figure of Kriéger left behind a  legacy of innovation and avante-garde which we still find in modern, sophisticated cars.

Text by Tommaso Lai

Translation by Norman Hawkes

Copyright © Cars Forgotten Stories. All rights reserved.


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