The L’Oeuf Electrique (The Electric Egg) was a 3 wheeled microcar built in Paris in 1942, by Paul Arzens, an Engineer and Artist as a bespoke lightweight personal car. The designation of “Egg” car was soon attached to this unique car as it was seen driving around Paris in 1942 and was likely the first bubble car. The egg like shape was crafted from hand formed aluminium sheets and Plexiglas (Perspex) plastic sheets on a frame designed by Arzens of Duralinox tube (durable aluminium tubing). During the privations of the WWII occupation of Paris, Arzens scrounged the materials to make this 90 kg reverse trike with an electric motor (30 kg) turning the rear wheel, and 5 batteries (260 kg) which took the total weight to 350 kg, similar in weight to pre-war cycle cars. The car was not painted and being made of aluminium there was no risk of rust as corrosion which occurs with steel cars. The 2 Plexiglas doors and curved windscreen provided excellent visibility from the cabin which was unprecedented in small cars of the time. As the car tapered at the rear to cover the single wheel and motor the rear cabin window was a small oval resembling a porthole. The batteries provided a range of 100 km (63 miles) with a top speed of 60 km per hour (44 miles per hour) with the driver alone, or 60 km/h (37 mph) with driver and 1 passenger. After the war the electric motor was replaced with single cylinder 125 CC Peugeot 2-stroke internal combustion petrol engine, 5.5 hp, with a top speed of 80 km/h. The cabin had a long steering wheel and minimal features with no gauges to reduce weight, demonstrated by the single bench seat built over a wicker frame.
Arzens maintained and occasionally drove the Electric Egg until his death in 1990. The Arzen collection of cars and railway models were donated to the Musée des Arts et Métiers and in 1993 the cars were deposited and displayed at the Cité de l’automobile in Mulhouse (Haut-Rhin).
For more information, please visit our article on The Electric Egg (L’Oeuf Electrique) – 1942 here.