The genesis of the Prince Motor Company begins here in 1946, when the Tachikawa Aircraft Company, no longer allowed to build aircraft after the end of the war, decide to turn their hand to car production instead. Prior to, and during the Second World War the Tachikawa Aircraft Company assembled military aircraft for the Imperial Japanese Army. They built mainly training aircraft of their own design, but they also built Lockheed Super Electras and Mitsubishi Zeros under licence.
In the closing stages of the war the Tachikawa factory and airfield was extensively damaged, and after the surrender much of the remaining factory and the airfield was taken over but the US Army. Many of the employees moved across to Nissan and Toyota after the war, but a small group remained and in 1946 the decision was made to move into car manufacturing.
At that time fuel was still being rationed, so instead of a standard petrol engined car they designed an electric one.
The first prototype they built was actually a small electric truck that was based on an Ohta small truck chassis, and was designated the EOT-46. The prototype tested well, and in April 1947 it was ready to enter production, but with the factory now under US military control there was nowhere to actually build the car. Luckilly, in the nearby Tama prefecture of Tokyo, the old Ohta car factory in Fuchu was sitting idle, so a deal was struck and on the 30th of June 1947 the company was renamed the Tokyo Electric Car Company, and the car went into production as the Tama.
Two versions were available, the EOT-47 small truck went into production first in April 1947, and the E4S-47 passenger car followed a month later in May 1947. It was powered by a 35volt 4.5 hp electric motor, which drew is energy from a 40 volt, 162 amp/hour series of batteries. The car had a top speed of 35kph, and could travel 65km on a single charge. A novel feature was that the batteries were stored in a large metal drawer that slid out from under the passenger side door. This allowed you to potentially remove the spent battery pack and slide in another newly charged battery pack to extend the range again.
The car was 3200mm long, on a 2000mm wheelbase. Due in large part to the 327kg battery pack, the car weighed in at a not insubstantial 1050kg, which was over double that of the similarly sized Datsun DA of the same year. With only 4.5hp pushing along a 1050kg car you would expect it to be painfully slow, but with maximum torque available right across the rev range in an electric motor it actually accelerated quite nicely from a standstill, and got to its maximum speed of 35kph fairly briskly. No production figures seem to exist, but the total production run was tiny.
The EOT-47 was the small truck version of the E4S-47.
Length - 3200mm
Width - 1270mm
Height - 1650mm
Wheelbase - 2000mm
Weight - 1050kg
Top speed - 35kph
Transmission - 2 speed
Model - Tama
Electric 40 volt
Power - 4.5hp
Final drive - unknown
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