Cars Rarunos: Peugeot VLV, the ingenious first electric Peugeot

The Second World War is one of the most tragic in the history of mankind. It was also a challenge for businesses due to the disruption of economic activities and, of course, the car manufacturers were not oblivious to this. it Is difficult to imagine the challenges you had to overcome to make cars during the great war conflict between the Allies and the Axis Powers.

civil automobiles passed to a second plane, and suffered strong limitations of raw material needed as fuel and metal, which are used primarily to military vehicles such as combat, transport troops or logistics of war. Peugeot was one of the manufacturers are forced by circumstances during the occupation of France by the forces of nazi Germany.

The engineers of The Garenne, the center of development of Peugeot in the north-west of Paris, were faced with the challenge of overcoming all the restrictions caused by the conflict to launch a new model to the market. Put their hands to the work in 1940, in the early stages of the military administration of German in the French territory.


Outline of the Peugeot VLV during its development

The first obstacle that had to be overcome was the fuel. The gasoline was destined for the military use and it was rationed to be extremely difficult to get to power civilian vehicles. Some alternatives of the time were the use of methane and gasógeno. Peugeot, however, chose the electrical energy and thus was born the Peugeot VLV, the first electric car of the brand gala.

The iron was also very difficult to obtain since it is allocated to the production of war machines. It turned to aluminum for the body and they drew a car of small dimensions to not need too much metal and, of step, to maintain a light weight. In fact, the initials VLV responded to the abbreviation Voiture Légère de Ville, that is to say, urban vehicle light. In their quest for savings in this material was designed as a convertible with a fabric roof.

on The 28th of march, 1941, he had completed the project, whose development had lasted less than a year. The car was presented on may 1, causing a great sense because it was the first adventure electric from a great French brand. Some media pointed out that “a convenient way to travel around the city and in the suburbs” and others stressed the benefits, which results in a speed “similar to that of a rider of a good standard but without the slightest effort”.


Only 33 inches separated the rear wheels of the VLV

The model, small but charming, went on sale in June. The front was wide and had a single headlamp to light the carts and their line was narrowing towards the rear. had Only 2,67 m length, 1,21 m in width and 1.27 m in height, leaving space for just two occupants. The roof folds up manually on the back or could be dismantled.

The charging took 10 hours with the charger supplied by Peugeot

The electric motor Safi encouraged to the rear axle while the batteries were placed under the hood of the front. The two rear wheels were very close to each other -the way back was only 33 cm – eliminating the need for a differential and to give the impression of a tricycle. Only had a single drum brake with a separate circuit for the front brakes.

four lead-acid batteries of 12 volts connected in series amounted to 160 kg on the scale, which led to VLV up to a total weight of 348 kg, Had a autonomy of between 70 and 80 kilometers, a fact that is not bad for the ancestor of the technology currently available in the modern electric cars. The full recharge took about 10 hours and could be done at any household outlet.


The benefits were very small, but the autonomy was quite remarkable

This Peugeot developed a power of 1 kW (1,3 HP), sufficient to reach the 30 km/h of top speed, a fact, discreet, but also needed a lot more to move in the city traffic. A nifty function boost raises the power up to 3.5 HP in a timely manner and allowed in the plain was reached a maximum speed of 36 km/h. This performance boost was achieved by stepping on a switch with the left foot at the same time that it quickened to bottom with the right.

The manual of use made many recommendations to the hour of driving on slopes. It is recommended to search for routes with gradients less than 4% even if it meant making a longer journey. The manufacturer advised against trying to climb slopes of more than 11% gradient because, in addition to the battery more quickly, the engine could overheat. Of course, traveling downhill with a sharp drop could exceed the theoretical maximum speed but Peugeot warned not to exceed 50 km/h as it may damage the electrical system -in addition to being a recklessness-.

The doors are closed with a bolt as the door of a house and the windows could go up and down manually, this being the only luxury the small car gaul. The interior of the utility electric was very austere and everything was done in metal, including the dashboard and even the steering wheel -although could be lined with synthetic leather-. A small lever allowed you to reverse the movement of the motor if you wanted to go forward or backwards.


Its design convertible should not be a question of style but of saving of metal, hard to get

The manufacturing process was almost handmade and very slow, especially because the production was interrupted constantly by difficulties in the supply of raw materials. Finally, the regime prevailing in France forbade it to Peugeot to do different activities to the production of war and marked the end of the utility power. Occurred 377 units until February of 1945.

Today there are few VLV because it was too expensive and it was tremendously difficult to get a driving permit in that time. Thus, it is not surprising that the majority of the units ended up being used by doctors, lawyers and postal service. Was the first and only electric car of Peugeot in the market for 50 years, until the appearance of the Peugeot 106 Électrique in 1995.

Photos: Charles01, dave_7, RM Auctions, planetcarsz, alienor