Paul Arzens (1903–1990)
Paul Arzens was a French industrial designer of railway locomotives and motor cars. He was born in Paris, at an address along the Boulevard des Batignolles on the northern side of the city. As a young man he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts and soon gained recognition as a talented artist.
Unusually for a young artist of the times, he was able to live reasonably well on the sales proceeds from his paintings. This gave him enough time to pursue other interests in the realms of engineering and design. As his life progressed he accumulated a large collection of his own paintings and gained a reputation for an acute reluctance to sell any.
A fascinating piece of video found on 'YouTube.' There are sequences showing Paul Arzens driving L’Oeuf Electrique. Also images of other EV projects in France; the UK Electricity Council's 1966 EV contest entrants; the GPO pedestrian controlled mail cart and the Morris milk float. The commentary is in french but it is still worth watching for the images!
In 1935 Arzens turned his interests to automobile engineering. His first forays into cars began with ICE vehicles. During WWII his interest turned to electric vehicles his first (circa 1940) was an electric version of his La Baleine (the whale), of 1938, a futuristic 3500cc vehicle capable of 160 km/h.
Arzens' next automotive one-off appeared in 1942 and was instantly christened "L'Oeuf" (the egg), reflecting it's egg-shape. Other eye catching features were the tiny wheels and the high proportion of the bodywork formed of curved transparent plexiglas. The body itself weighed just 60 kg, although adding the electric rear mounted motor raised this to 90 kg. Once batteries were added the vehicle weight was increased to 350 kg, allowing for a range of 100 km (63 miles) at 70 km/h (44 mph) or at 60 km/h 37 mph if two people were on board.
Video above filmed at Musée des Arts et Métiers, Paris, France.
Two of Paul Arzens locomotives for SNCF
For a more detailed biography of Paul Arzens and his work see Wikipedia