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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Cool Photograph: 1948 Japanese Electric Car

I'm presenting this photograph, knowing full well that I can't find any information on the vehicle pictured there.

From what I understand, $2,400 mini-car utilizes a 30-volt battery, which is strong, but not all that strong.

Recall, if you will, sticking the common rectangular household 9-volt battery on your tongue. ZAP! But bearable enough for you to do it again and again… surely it wasn't just me who did/does that?

It's weird but fun - and while I am unsure if there is any correlation, I do have a very strong tongue now… go on.. try it! Whatever doesn't kill you, makes you stronger… Seriously… 9-volt.

Don't do the 30-volt batter that is in the micro car.

Apparently this car - of which I can find no model - was the design and manufacture of a former Japanese kamikaze pilot.

Wait? A what now? A former kamikaze pilot?

If you are a former kamikaze pilot… shouldn't you be dead?

Granted, only if you were successful… but even then… you were supposed to dive into the enemies ships at full throttle if you weren't blown out of the sky by anti-aircraft guns or enemy planes… how the hell did you survive?

Unfortunately, despite going the distance to provide this data, AP (American Press) photographer Charles Gorry doesn't tell us the name of the Japanese inventor… or the car model/manufacturer.

What we do know, however, is that the battery used in the car is not a regular car battery… no… this is a rechargeable battery… an electric car, if you will… that can travel for up to six hours before it needs to be recharged.

And, despite its size… and the fact that it is carrying a fully-grown Japanese man (who weights around 80-80 kg (132 -176 lbs), the car can travel at speeds up to 30 miles per hour (48.3 kph).

Granted I've probably pedaled a bicycle that fast, this little car's performance is quite impressive, because I quite doubt I could bike that speed for six hours, without my heart needing to be recharged. CLEAR!

Aside from the obvious safety concerns - it's so low and small that it could get run over by any normal-sized vehicle, or the fact that the windshield is useless because you are still going to get bugs in the mouth or rocks kicked up from other cars right in the noggin' - it seems kindda cool.… just not $2,400 cool.

We are talking 1948… and 1948 Japan… so $2,400 is a butt-load of money…

It's not horrendous, in 2015 dollars, that would be about $24,000 (according to the Inflation Calculator at…

Keep in mind that in 1948, one could get an average car for around $1,250 (which is around $12,500 in 2015)…

According to the write-up accompanying the photo, the micro car is seen here passing the main intersection of the Ginza street in Tokyo on December 21, 1947. The toy-like car get s Go-signal from Private Jackson Neeley of Hampton, Va, who is attached to the 720th MPs.

Obviously, it was more important at the time to make sure the soldier/MP gets his fair shake with regards to the photo… but dammit, couldn't the photographer have given us more information on the car?

Hell… he obviously found out something - he knew that the creator was a 'former kamikaze pilot'!!!

Anyhow… I found this image over at

What's interesting, is that nearly 70 years later, electric cars are still too damn expensive! I'd drive one if it was truly economically viable and feasible for me!

My gas is 30-cents a liter more expensive today than it was three months ago… yeah… that sounds fair. Apparently gas was rare, not so rare, and then rare again…

I gotcher gas right here,
Andrew Joseph

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