April 29th, 1882 – All Aboard the Electric Bus!

Today-In-History

The Electromote was the world’s first vehicle run like a trolleybus, which was first presented to the public on April 29th, 1882, by its inventor Dr. Ernst Werner von Siemens in Halensee, a suburb of Berlin, Germany.

The Elektromote operated from April 29th to June 13th, 1882, on a 540 m (591 yard) trail-track starting at Halensee railway station, and thence to “Straße No. 5”, today’s Joachim-Friedrich-Straße, and “Straße No. 13”, today’s Johann-Georg-Straße, crossing the upper Kurfürstendamm at former Kurfürstenplatz.

First_Trolleybuss_of_Siemens_in_Berlin_1882The Electromote built by the Siemens & Halske company was a converted four-wheel landau carriage, equipped with two 2.2 kW electric motors transmitting the power using a chain drive to the rear wheels. The voltage used was 550 V DC. The electric power transmission to the coach was by a flexible cable pulling a small eight-wheeled “contact car” (Kontaktwagen) that ran along the overhead power lines. In English language use, the Kontaktwagen was later named the “trolley”, giving the trolleybus its name.

This experimental vehicle already fulfilled all the technical criteria of a typical trolleybus. After the demonstration runs closed on June 13th, the test track was dismantled on June 20th, 1882.

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