First Electric Vehicle to Mt. Vernon
1915 Rauch and Lang Makes Tour to the Historic Homestead of George Washington
The first electric vehicle to visit Mt. Vernon, the historic home of George Washington, was a Rauch and Lang electric brougham on June 16, 1915. Rauch and Lang was an expensive luxury car, the Tesla of its day. The trip from Washington, DC to visit Mt. Vernon was made by Alfred Young, H. A. Hall and the automobile editor of the Washington Star, Howard S. Fisk who wrote about the trip in a feature article in the July, 1915 issue of Electric Vehicles magazine.
In 1915, a new gravel road between Alexandria, Virginia and the area of Mt. Vernon had recently been constructed, opening the way for automobile travel to visit the home of the first president. According to Fisk’s article, Young and Hall, who were employed by the Rauch and Lang dealer in DC, “elected to make the overland journey in true modern style by attempting to operate an electric to this place.” The 18 mile trip took about 90 minutes on the new highway. The top speed of electric vehicles in those days was around 20 MPH. So was the speed limit.
After stopping at Mount Vernon, the men traveled farther in to Virginia to the village of Accotink, where the residents “viewed with astonishment the type of machine which had wended its way this far into the Old Dominion, without the aid of horses.”
After a few more stops, the men arrived back in DC at 4:00 in the afternoon. Fisk reported, “no trouble of any character developed, and as a result of this run… the way has been paved and confidence displayed in the electric storage vehicle.”