The 1947 Tama: Nissan’s first electric vehicle was an innovation showcase

Nissan Tama

As Masahiko Isobe explains in the video below, in 1947, Japan had just come off a devastating loss in World War II. The allied forces controlling the island nation limited gasoline reserves for the public. What Japan did have an abundance of at the time was electricity, thanks to the hydroelectric powerplants tucked away in the mountains.

Eager to fill the need for cars without relying on scarce gasoline, early Nissan, formerly Tachikawa Airplane, designed and built the Tama electric vehicle.

Constructed of wood and covered in a steel skin, the tiny Tama EV could travel 66 miles on a single charge and hit a top speed of 22mph.

While the little EV looks romantically rudimentary to our modern eyes, the car was a bit of a lone wolf, in terms of design. The hood hinged from the firewall and opened, as Isobe describes it “in the same way and shape that a crocodile opens its mouth.” While this seems normal to us, most Japanese cars at the time still featured center hinges.

Propelled by a direct current (DC) electric motor, acceleration is controlled by limiting the current through a resistor. Interestingly, excess energy is turned to heat, which is why designers had to include a radiator. The design is both rather ingenious and simple.

Even the turnsignals, which pop out from behind little shields, are trick – or at least novel – by modern standards.

Isobe makes a point to mention how some parts were difficult to find during the restoration process of the Tama, like the headlight lenses and tires. He urges Japanese viewers to look to England for specialty tires, as the Nissan team did. Amusingly, he seems to ignore the car-obsessed continent between Japan and Europe, which can make specialty tires on demand as well.

It’s a fun little car and video to match. We’re glad that Nissan took the time and care to restore the Tama and share it with the world.

Tour the Tama in this video from Nissan:

Sure, Nissan makes the Leaf, but would a modernized Tama EV be a cooler car, along the lines of a retro Cube or a Scion Xb? Comment below.


Land Rover shows its artsy side by previewing the 2020 Range Rover Evoque

Land Rover made life-sized wire sculptures to preview the 2020 Range Rover Evoque. The all-new SUV will make its debut during a private event held in London on November 22, and deliveries will begin in 2019.

Born to run (forever): The most reliable cars you can buy right now

We all dread the thought of our car turning into a money pit, but choosing a dependable vehicle from the start can help us rack up countless care-free miles. Here, we've rounded up some of the most reliable cars available.

Our favorite fuel-efficient cars are as frugal as they are fun

You don't need to opt for a hybrid or an all-electric ride in order to achieve good fuel economy. These vehicles pack both performance and style, whether you're in the market for a luxury sedan or a game-changing pickup truck.

Where are you going this weekend? These 5 off-road vehicles say 'anywhere'

The body-on-frame SUV is going extinct, but there are still several options for buyers looking to skip the asphalt. To help you sort the good from the bad, we've rounded up the best off-roaders currently available.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in November, from 'The Witch’ to ‘Dracula’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.

These headlights have 4 color settings to help save lives under all conditions

Boslla headlights are an easy-to-install solution to achieve all-weather lighting for your vehicle. After a quick ten-minute install, these lights have up to four settings to get you through anything.

Car parts maker ZF is using drones to deliver components to its factories

ZF recently became the first entity in Germany to receive approval to use drones to deliver spare parts, and the company now uses them to deliver parts from its central warehouses to its workshops.

The DBX SUV will go where no Aston Martin has gone before

When it launches in 2019, the Aston Martin DBX will be the British automaker's first SUV. In the meantime, camouflaged DBX prototypes will undergo strenuous testing around the world.

Ford teams up with Walmart to study consumer response to autonomous delivery

Last week it was Ford and VW, and this week Ford and Walmart are signaling a desire to work together on autonomous vehicles solutions. Ford and the giant retailer will study consumer reactions to self-driving delivery vehicles.

Out of juice? Learn how to jump-start a car with this quick guide

Jumping a car is a simple procedure, but not everyone knows how to properly do so. To make things easier, we've put together a quick-hit guide on how to fire up your vehicle using jumper cables and a second power source.

Prep your car for the coming snow and sleet with these cold weather tips

Driving in the winter, whether downtown or across the country, is rarely easy. Luckily, we've put together a quick rundown of a few things you should do to winterize your car before the snow officially hits.
DT Daily

DT Daily: Waymo’s driverless cars, ‘Fallout 76’ tips, and Racella

In today's episode of DT Daily, we discuss Waymo's foray into the ridesharing sector, along with various tips for making the most of the recently launched Fallout 76. We also sit down with singer Racella to chat about her new EP, Waves.

Want to keep connected on the road? Here are 5 ways to add Bluetooth to your car

The best way to make an old ride feel young again is to bring it up speed with the 21st century. Here's how to properly add Bluetooth to your vehicle, via independent kits, vehicle adapters, or aftermarket head units.

Many adults believe fully self-driving cars are already traversing U.S. highways

The American Automobile Association tested cars with features such as lane-keeping and adaptive cruise control and found them lacking in real-world conditions. Forty percent of surveyed U.S. adults think self-driving cars exist now.