Only around 100 or so electric versions of the DKW Schnellaster vans were ever produced, and Audi has restored one of the two remaining vehicles.
Between 1955 and 1962 DKW produced roughly 100 EV versions of its front-wheel drive Schnellaster van, primarily for electric companies, utilities and battery makers.
Regular production versions of the DKW Schnellaster featured, depending on the year, either a 16kW 700cc two-cylinder two-stroke motor or a 24kW 900cc three-cylinder two-stroke unit. The DKW “Elektrowagen”, however, was fitted with a 5kW electric engine fed by two sets of lead acid batteries.
Together these batteries delivered a total voltage of 80V and a capacity of 200 ampere-hours. Maximum speed for the DKW Schnellaster EV was 40km/h and the van had a maximum range of 80km with a set of fully charged batteries.
According to Audi, the car above took several years to restore and used to reside on the island of Wangerooge, on Germany’s north coast. Wangerooge is famous for its slow pace of life and has banned all cars with internal combustion engines, hence the DKW Elektrowagen’s many long years of service there.
DKW was one of the four constituent brands of Auto Union, alongside Audi, Wanderer and Horch. After Volkswagen’s take over of Auto Union, the Audi marque was only one that survived.