Electric cars have almost made a mainstream debut and we are getting used to the new silent mode of transportation. But things were not quite so in the mid-1900s and clearly an oddity when your electric car looked like a ball! The French were always great with art and automobile and it showed up quite well in whatever they made.
And they were fluidic with welding metal. The L'Oeuf Electrique Concept Car is a one-off creation by Paul Arzens who was an industrial designer. He had a keen interest in alternate fuels and electricity was his choice. This Egg was his personal vehicle and only one was ever made. So, it is quite a rarity by all means.
The L'Oeuf Electrique Concept Car was what Arzens thought of the future to be. And he was partially right and we believe that this oddity was in some way or the other inspiration for the Smart ForTwo. The whole car was built by hand and Arzens's artistic touches can be seen all over the body. This classic car is currently in its crude untouched state and hasn't been repaired, which makes it even more special.
Knowing Paul Arzens - Man Behind The French Electric Egg
Paul Arzens was a French industrial designer of railway locomotives and cars. He was primarily known for his artistic skills which are very well visible in all his automotive creations as well. His first ever automobile product was a 6-Speed automatic transmission that he built for an old Chrysler. Robert Peugeot was also very impressed with this transmission, but it didn't make it into the Peugeot 402 as many expected then.
His first fully-constructed car was christened 'La Baleine' meaning 'The Whale'. It was a bulbous creation built on the chassis of an old Buick in 1937. Soon after this, the Germans invaded and gasoline was disappearing. He then created an all-electric model of 'The Whale' based on the chassis of an old Fiat. It was packed in a pack of accumulator batteries that weighed over 2425 lbs. This EV had a claimed 10 hp and a range of 125 miles. No so practical and clearly not the power-to-weight ratio you want!
Because of the gas crunch, Arzens shifted his ideas to the exact opposite of what he had applied in the La Baleine. And so the L'Oeuf Electrique Concept Car was born.
An All-Electric Vehicle Created Because Of The Petrol Crunch From War
The main reason for this oddity's creation was the German invasion and sudden disappearance of gasoline for public use. Clearly, his 'Whale' wasn't so efficient to tackle the crunch. And so Arzens built the L'Oeuf Electrique ( The Electric Egg). The whole vehicle was built by the main man, by hand, and was an EV. It packed an electric motor and battery pack that churned out 63 miles to a change with a top speed of 44 mph. With 2 people on-board the top speed shrunk to 37 mph.
Paul Arzens's Personal Travel Pod Was An Extremely Light-Weight Plexiglass Bubble
The body of the L'Oeuf Electrique Concept Car weighed in at just 66 lbs. which clearly made it a tippity-toe car! Adding the electric motor bumped up its weight to 198.4 lbs. and it was only after the battery pack was added that the total weight came up to 771 lbs. It clearly was one of the lightest road-going cars made. The major reason for its extremely lightweight layout was an aluminium shell with plexiglass covering almost more than half of the exterior. Arzens clearly loved to pick his Electric Egg up!
Cabin Built For Two, Had The Best View Of Outside World
There wasn't anything fancy about the cabin. It has a huge steering wheel sticking at the driver's face. Seating was confined to 2 occupants and was rather comfortable for a car of such proportions. Thanks to its bubble-shape, there was no dearth of headroom or shoulder room. The most interesting fact was the 270-degree crystal clear view of the outside world with no pillars to disrupt your view. Paul Arzens clearly had a wonderful time behind the wheel of his unique creation.
Hand-Beaten Aluminium Body Curated Its Artistic Appeal
Yes, the exterior is composed of aluminium sheets when not covered in Plexiglass. Arzens had hand-beaten every panel on the L'Oeuf Electrique Concept Car. It had a fair share of bulges and dents and in its current beat-up state, even more. But he actually managed to build it to the eye's content is impressive.
The rear section is what disrupts this egg's perfectly round shape. It is where the motor and the single rear wheel are located. Yup 'The Egg' was a 3-wheeled vehicle which also helped it be extremely manoeuvrable in tight city roads. And the L'Oeuf Electrique Concept Car came with the tiniest of lights of any car.
This one-off personal electric pod of Paul Arzens was an automobile way ahead of its time. In fact, even looking at it now invokes a futuristic appeal. The carved fender flares that went beyond the tire wall and its plexiglass design is something that still isn't so common, let alone way back in the 1940s.
People were not quite ready for such a practical option back in the day but Paul Arzens was a man well beyond his time. We can also argue the fact that this tiny egg might have been the trigger for the Smart ForTwo which has a similar approach to urban mobility.