Daily demonstrations at 11am, free with admission!

Jarret La Voiture Electronique-1969


The Jarret brothers designed electric motors of a new kind – called a Switched Reluctance Motors (SRM).This Brushless design uses a steel flywheel fixed to an axle. A series of 24 magnetic coils are switched in sequence to synchronize the current flow; this determines the direction of magnetism that moves the flywheel in a rotational direction. An electronic controller is used to precisely time the switching of current to the series of coils. This seems complicated but greatly reduces wear, noise, and to some degree simplifies the mechanical design as electrical current is not delivered to any moving parts.

The brothers used this motor technology to power their prototype La Voiture Electronique (simply translated to “Electric Car”). The Jarret is unique because the vehicle is driven entirely by an electronic joystick, making this the first drive-by-wire vehicle ever produced. Drive-by-wire means that vehicle functions that were traditionally achieved by mechanical linkage are now performed by an electrical system. The two SRM electric motors are directly connected to the each rear wheel; the vehicle is steered by changing the relative speed of either one of the motors. The front wheel is positioned caster-style so that it moves freely in all directions. The Jarret has a top speed of about 18 mph. Brakes are by mechanical hand brake. The Jarret’s narrow profile was designed to transport two people around a large factory and used four 12V lead/acid batteries in series to deliver 48VDC(Volts of Direct Current) to the SRM motors. This zero-emissions vehicle generated less heat than a petrol-powered car, and was ideal for indoor use.

When it was shown at the 1968 Paris Motor Show, the vehicle received quite a bit of interest. Only seven Jarret La Voiture Electroniques were built—two prototypes and five pre-production vehicles. Afterwards, a series of 100 Jarret Porquerolles were built but the new design had conventional DC motorization and mechanical steering, still with a joystick.


Manufacturer: La Societe Voiture Electronique
Country of Origin: France
Engine: 2 Jarret electric motors, 4-12V batteries
Drivetrain Configuration: Rear-motors, rear-wheel drive
Engine: Electric
Transmission: Direct Drive
Top Speed: 18 mph
Years of Production:
1968: La Voiture Electronique: 2 prototypes and 5 pre-production cars
1969-1972: Porquerolles
Number Produced:
7 Jarret La Voiture Electronique
100 Jarret Porquerolles

Original Cost: Unknown