Baker Motor Vehicle Company was an American manufacturer of Brass Era electric automobiles in Cleveland, Ohio, from 1899 to 1914.
The first Baker vehicle was a two seater with a selling price of US$850. One was sold to Thomas Edison as his first car. Edison also designed the nickel-iron batteries used in some Baker electrics. These batteries have extremely long lives.
In May 1902, Baker took part in a speed trial on a public road on Staten Island, New York. The vehicle was built specially for racing, having previously raced in Cleveland, and was a streamlined and enclosed 'torpedo' body with a small conning tower and even smaller mica window for the driver. A crew of two were carried, one acting as brakesman whilst W C Baker, the driver, steered. Although carrying two people increased the weight, this was a small matter when the car already weighed 3,000 lb (1,400 kg), mostly of lead-zinc batteries. The intention was to exceed 60 mph and to cover 'a mile a minute' from a standing start, beating the performance of the more powerful gasoline cars and the 1901 electric record by a Riker of 1:08.
The Baker was car 39 from the start and set a good time for the first part of the course, but then lost control and slid sideways into the crowd. A number of spectators were injured and two killed. In the aftermath, the Automobile Club of America resolved to stop races on public roads and there was a general loss of confidence in the safety of electric cars.