Long-running APS Electric Light Parade returns to Phoenix on Saturday

By Matthew Casey
Published: Thursday, December 2, 2021 - 8:30am

Audio icon Download mp3 (1.36 MB)

1915 Detroit Electric car
Matthew Casey/KJZZ
The 1915 Detroit Electric car owned by APS

An illuminated holiday tradition is set to emerge from a pandemic-forced darkness.

Among the balloons and floats in a weekend light parade through north-central Phoenix after a year hiatus will be an electric car that’s more than a century old.

The 1915 Detroit Electric car was kind of like the Tesla of its day, but with no steering wheel.

“The drive system is pretty interesting because it’s a tiller system, which is basically a couple of bars and a brake on the floor,” said Monte Anderson with APS community relations.

The cars were popular with women. Time magazine reported that Henry Ford’s wife Clara used a Detroit Electric. Anderson said they had a range of about 90 miles. 

“Probably took forever to charge that thing, now that I think about it. But it rolled pretty good. Top-speed of about 25 miles an hour,” he said.

One of these vehicles will be part of the Saturday’s Electric Light Parade. APS wants those who go to wear masks and social distance.

Arts + Entertainment