Travel to the past in the car of the future
We propose a double journey, because it is also a journey through time. Let’s go in search of the first car in history, in Salamanca, travelling in an electric car. At that time, cars consumed more than 20 litres and were highly polluting. Ours does not require petrol and does not emit CO2.
It is complicated to situate the birth of the car in terms of an exact model or date. But experts agree that the first journey in a car as we know it today occurred in 1888. Bertha Benz, Carl Benz’s wife, sneaked the motorised tricycle patented by her husband out of the house and rode it for a distance of 106 kilometres. Therefore, the first trip with the Benz Patent Motorwagen was clandestine: neither the authorities nor its creator knew about it.
Let’s return to 2017: we propose that you follow, not the first, but one of the first medium-distance routes in our country in an electric vehicle: from Madrid to Salamanca, stopping in Ávila, a distance of 236 kilometres. Our destination? The origin of the car or, in other words, the Museum of Automotive History. In this way you can follow the evolution of the car over more than a century. Vehicles at the turn of the century consumed a lot of fuel. Yours, not a single drop, and its emissions are equal to zero: it is powered by electricity. Let’s go!
First stage of the route: your home
… Or your workplace. The Endesa Comprehensive Solution programme installs a charging point wherever you need it. This means that you can leave every morning with your batteries charged, since your car will have been charged overnight.
Bearing in mind Madrid’s heavy traffic, we prefer to get an early start. Counting the stop in Ávila, we estimate that we will take approximately five hours to arrive at our destination. There’s plenty of time: the Museum of Automotive History is open until 8:00 pm. However, it is closed on Mondays.
As mentioned earlier, the first stage goes up to Ávila, halfway along the route: we will cover just over 100 kilometres. Since our batteries are charged thanks to Endesa’s charging point, we do not have range problems. In any case, we drive smoothly and steadily, while the other cars spew noise and pollutant emissions. We circulate silently and smoothly and, above all, without emitting harmful gases. And we are travelling just as fast as the others. We take the AP-6, which allows us to maintain a constant legal speed, and then turn onto the AP-51, in the direction of Ávila.
Second stage: a T-bone steak opposite the fortified wall
Since we rose – relatively – early, we arrive at midday without trouble. We go to the Lienzo Norte Conference and Exhibition Centre. There they have a free quick charging point. In order to use it, we must request a card. We recommend calling 920 27 08 38 the day before and announcing our arrival. They will inform us where and how to collect it.
The good news? We do not have to go any further to enjoy a good T-bone steak typical of Ávila. At the El Lienzo de Ávila restaurant, located inside the Conference and Exhibition Centre, we will eat to our heart’s content while enjoying a splendid view of the fortified wall, just a few metres away. In a couple of hours, at most, our batteries will be charged again. Don’t you think it’s well worth the wait?
Third stage: this is how it all started
After resuming the trip, we are only 108 kilometres away from the first car in history. We take the A-50 again, which takes us directly to Salamanca. We enter the city and go to the Plaza del Mercado Viejo, where the museum is located. Tip: when you climb out of your electric car, take a close look at it, because you will be looking at the future, right before immersing yourself in the past. More than 100 models that span the history of the car await us, including the Benz tricycle, Hispano Suiza and Pegaso models and, naturally, the Ford Model T, from the turn of the last century and the first car to be manufactured in an assembly line.
To get a sense of how the car has evolved over all these years, below are some figures from a consumption test conducted recently by the The Daily Telegraph on a Ford Model T, in real conditions. It consumed exactly 20.4 litres per 100 kilometres. And we are talking about 20 HP car. Now think about the vehicle that brought you here: it has more than 100 HP, does not consume a single drop of fuel and driving it means not polluting at all. Additionally, it is silent compared to the deafening noise of a running Ford Model T.
“Electric motors almost prevailed over combustion and steam engines in the 19th century.”
-Luis Miguel Mata Pérez
Once inside the museum we speak to its director, Luis Miguel Mata Pérez, who, incidentally, is a strong advocate of the electric car, which is not incompatible with his passion for cars. “Electric motors almost prevailed over combustion and steam engines in the 19th century. But, as fate would have it, and probably the industry’s interests, it was the combustion engine that finally flourished,” he suggests, and adds: “If the electric car had continued along the path of improvement that it was following it would have evolved much earlier and would currently have the same range and features as the most powerful petrol cars, but without polluting.”
In addition to the permanent exhibition, the Museum of Automotive History offers various visiting exhibitions. “Three years ago we organised an exhibition of various current electric models, which was well received. I am aware that this type of car is the future. Although, in my opinion, they should have been so much sooner,” concludes Pérez. We take note of that.
Kilometres: just over 200 kilometres.
Roads: AP6 and AP51, stop in Ávila, then AP50 to Salamanca.
Charging point: Ávila, El Lienzo de Ávila restaurant, located inside the Conference and Exhibition Centre.
Destination: Museum of Automotive History, Plaza del Mercado Viejo, Salamanca.
Estimated time: 5 hours.