Audi Tradition have a new addition to their historic collection, a 1956 DKW Schnellaster “Elektro” electric car.
Between 1955 and 1962, Auto Union GmbH produced about 100 Schnellaster electric cars which the company aimed mainly at energy companies, public utility or battery manufacturers. This particular DKW was saved from the North Sea island of Wangerooge, where cars powered by internal combustion engines are banned.
Standard DKW Schnellaster’s were equipped with noisy two-stroke engines. However, the electric version offered a smooth and silent drive from its 5kW series-wound electric motor, while two lead-acid batteries supplied enough power (80V, 200Ah) to offer up to 80km driving range. Speed was not its priority although 40km/h was plenty for inner city driving or pottering about a tiny island.
Only two of the original 100 electric Schnellasters are known to survive today. The newly restored Audi Tradition electric car pays homage to the company’s electric past ahead of their current road-map of plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles.