L’Œuf électrique (English: “The Electric Egg”) was a futuristic prototype electric cyclecar designed by industrial designer Paul Arzens (1903-1990) in 1938 and built in 1942.
The cyclecar was a small, light and inexpensive motor car produced in Europe and the United States between 1910 and the early 1920s. Cyclecars were designed to fill the market niche between the motorcycle and the automobile. This particular vehicle is on display at the Musée des Arts et Métiers in Paris and is currently on display at the Cité de l’Automobile museum in Mulhouse, Alsace.
The L’Œuf électrique’s rounded body and fast rear end are reminiscent of cyclecars of the interbellum (i.e. between the two world wars) period and its bionic shape of an egg, bubble or water droplet. The aluminium body is supported by a frame made of Duralinox tubing. The front windscreen and doors are also made of curved Plexiglas. The batteries make up the bulk of the vehicle’s weight, weighing a total of 350 kilograms.
Motorisation: during the Second World War, when fuel was limited in France during the German occupation, Arzens used an electric motor powered by five 12-volt batteries mounted under his seat. Each battery had a capacity of 250 amperes and weighed 60 kilograms. The car was capable of 70 km/h and had a range of 100 kilometres. After the war, Arzens replaced the electric motor with a 125 cc Peugeot single-cylinder petrol engine, which produced 5.5 horsepower, giving the car a maximum speed of 80 km/h.
Paul Arzens’ own car. At that time, he donated the car to the Musée des Arts et Métiers in Paris, where it is housed in the collection of the Conservatoire national des arts et métiers. The vehicle is currently on display at the Cité de l’Automobile museum in Mulhouse, together with another concept car called “La Baleine”.
This particular vehicle is a truly unique and exciting design, balancing on the border between past and future. The “Electric Egg” is definitely a memorable piece of automotive history!

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