Featured Truck of The Month
- A Bit of History:
- Most people are surprised to learn that, over 100 years ago, electric vehicles were not an uncommon sight on city streets. It’s true! In the early 20th century electric, steam, and gasoline powered vehicles were all viable options for someone looking to purchase an automobile. Each offered select advantages and disadvantages over its counterparts.
- Electric vehicles, like this 1918 Walker, were particularly useful in commercial city applications. This was because delivery vehicles on a city route travelled shorter distances at slower speeds. Electric trucks were slow (this Walker had a top speed of approximately 20 mph) and had limited range (this truck could run 50 miles on a charge). In addition, urban areas were more likely to be electrified. Some of the advantages of electric vehicles then are the same as they are now: they are quiet, don’t produce noxious fumes, and feature low-maintenance drivetrains. However, the batteries add a lot of weight, and long charging times limit the versatility of these vehicles.
- As internal combustion engines continued to improve, electric vehicles became less and less popular. Walker trucks stayed in production for much longer than most of these early electric brands, though, ceasing production only in 1941.
- Walker electric trucks were quite popular in their day. Although most often seen in US cities, some were exported as far as New Zealand. Unfortunately, few have survived to the present, and even fewer are on public display.
- This Walker was used by Edison Electric Service. Inside the cargo box, it contains a winch that would likely have been used to erect electrical poles.
- The Iowa 80 Trucking Museum is fortunate to own not just one, but two Walker electric vehicles! The other, a Bowman dairy truck, is a 1911 model. Key differences between the two trucks include the solid rubber tires on the 1911 versus the pneumatic tires on the 1918, and the higher top speed of the 1918 (15 vs 20 MPH).