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1937: Electric taxis for the Universal Exhibition

The Universal Exhibition of Paris (France) of 1937 was a place where one found many innovations. Among them, on the roads of the exhibition, there are 35 Renault Celtaquatre converted into ... electric Taxi. A novelty ? not quite since already in 1881, in this same city, at the first international exhibition of electricity alongside the Bell telephone and the Edison bulbs, the first electric car made an impression! A time when electric cars were on the rise before experiencing a period of disillusionment. But modern times seem to prove the past right.

Electricity, fairy of the modern world, source of light and beneficent heat, has never ceased to challenge the imagination of artists since its first developments at the end of the 18th century, it is then naturally that this edition of the Universal Exhibition, which lasts 6 months, is officially called: "International Exhibition of Arts and Techniques Applied to Modern Life", with the main theme: "The Electricity Fairy", a theme perfectly suited to these Electric Taxis. The exhibition hosted 190 pavilions spread over 100 hectares, which meant that it was not easy to get around on foot. The presence of Taxi was then essential to help move the various visitors.

However, these electric taxis are not the work of Louis Renault, but of another Louis. Indeed, the specifications required that the vehicles can accommodate 4 passengers at a speed of 40km / h and climb the Rue Magdebourd 10 times (the steeply sloping street that goes up the Trocadero where the altitude goes from 30 to 72 meters) with a single charge ". Louis Renault felt that no electric car could do it, he bid with cars with heat engines. The people in charge of the Universal Exhibition then turned to Louis Verney (who argued the opposite of Renault) , a coach manufacturer installed in LeMans (France) within the SCF workshops which uses this technology on these

utility vehicles thanks, among other things, to the patented body beam system. He is given a period of 30 days to present a working prototype. Bet won, Louis Verney takes for it the chassis of the Renault Celtaquatre, an uncovered bodywork covered with hardboard wood and painted white (as a sign of ecology, we were already in the context) and implanted a 48-volt motor supplied to it. by Vetra batteries.

The S.C.F. won the Grand Prix Diploma for this.

35 copies of these Taxis were ordered, it fulfilled their role perfectly during this period, but unfortunately we do not find any trace of them after the Second World War.


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