Around that time, Japan lost the war and gasoline and industry were limited by the Allied Occupation forces. But engineers at the time – particularly airplane engineers – took Japan’s logistics and transport systems into consideration and thought that they had to make some kind of automobile.
(Check out this infographic for a closer look at history of Nissan’s electric car development).
The Tama EV came to be made entirely by engineers at Nissan Motor, Prince Motor, formerly known as Tachikawa Airplane.
Because the state of industry was in burnt out ruins from the war, industrial options were stifled. Even in the home, there was nothing more than bare light bulbs and radios. But in the mountains there were electric power plants and hydro-electric power plants and electricity was rapidly generated.
So with the idea that they could make cars run using excess electricity, they built this Tama EV.
The Tama EV has a wood frame design that is covered in steel. The Tama EV also featured a hinged bonnet, nicknamed the alligator mouth. At the time it was a novelty and considered ugly, in a world where bonnets all opened at the side, but now of course, its standard practice.
The restored Nissan Tama EV car uses a direct current motor. Directly from the battery, the current varies through the resistor unit to accelerate. That controls the speed. So, it’s a very simple car. That it’s different from the LEAF. The excess electricity is immediately turned to heat and released. That’s why there’s a radiator of some sort to convert the heat energy.
The tiny Tama EV could travel 40 miles (65 km) on a single charge and hit a top speed of 22mph (35 km/h).
1947 Nissan Tama EV
Overall length / width / height: 3,035/1,230/1,630mm
Curb weight: 1,100kg
Seating capacity: 4
Cruising range per charge: 65km
Motor (36V): DC series-wound, rated at 3.3kW (4.5hp)
Batteries (capacity): Lead-acid battery (40V/162Ah)
Top speed (economical speed): 35km/h (28km/h)