New in the collection: the Witkar
This electric car was the world’s first car-sharing vehicle. Its creator and designer, Luud Schimmelpennink, a so-called “provo,” wanted to address traffic problems with this innovation.
The city of Amsterdam was becoming congested—why did everyone need their own car? Introduced in 1972, the Witkar was way ahead of its time. Initially, you had to pay with coins, but soon you could use your own coded magnetic key. One downside was that the Witkar needed frequent charging. In 1974, the first electric charging station for the Witkar was opened, quickly followed by three other stations. The goal was to eventually have 25 stations and 150 Witkars, but that turned out to be unfeasible. For 25 guilders per year and 10 cents per kilometer traveled, you could use these vehicles ‘for life.’ Several thousand Amsterdammers became members of the association, but it wasn’t a resounding success. However, it wasn’t until 1988 that the city of Amsterdam decided to discontinue the project.