Sparky the Electric Auto

Chicago Daily News1963

Institute of Design (ID) at Illinois Tech

Institute of Design (ID) at Illinois Tech
Chicago, United States

An electric urban utility vehicle designed and intended for urban use (typically just one or two passengers), Sparky can travel at 30 mph and up to 60 miles on a single charge. With room for 4 people (2 up front, 2 in the back) or 800 pounds of freight, the car can be charged from any 115-volt outlet and operates at about one-tenth the cost of an internal combustion car. Marnie Averitt built Sparky in the shops at ID while a student here. Other than integrating some formed aluminum body panels, he used readily available industrial components, including the rear end, brakes, switchgear, and batteries. His teacher for the project was faculty member James S. Montague. In 1961, Averitt received a design award for Sparky from aluminum maker Alcoa, which sponsored the student design competition at ID.


  • Title: Sparky the Electric Auto
  • Creator: Chicago Daily News
  • Date Created: 1963
  • Location Created: Chicago, Illinois
  • Rights: Courtesy of University Archives and Special Collections, Paul V. Galvin Library, Illinois Tech.

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