Electric accomplishment

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

Current page

132

Current page

133

Current page

134

Current page

135

Current page

136

Current page

137

Current page

138

Current page

139

Current page

140

Current page

141

Current page

142

Current page

143

Current page

144

Current page

145

Current page

146

Current page

147

Current page

148

Current page

149

Current page

150

Current page

151

Current page

152

Current page

153

Current page

154

Current page

155

Current page

156

Current page

157

Current page

158

Current page

159

Current page

160

Current page

161

Current page

162

Current page

163

Current page

164

Current page

165

Current page

166

Current page

167

Current page

168

Current page

169

Current page

170

The urge to build and improve electric cars is breaking out again, under environmental pressures. If the government continues the present new war on drivers, speed may soon be regarded as so criminal that pootling along at milk-float pace until the batteries give out will be avidly encouraged by politicians. Somehow. I cannot see myself ever commuting in an electric vehicle.

However, to mark this fresh ripple of interest in such things, I am about to recall an effort, made in 1913. to show something of the capabilities of the electric car as it was at that time. In this I am indebted to Mr Peter Warrilow, whose father, then on the staff of The Electrician, acted as observer of the accomplishment in question and wrote a report on it. The demonstration he observed was that of driving an Arrol-Johnston electric-car (pictured) from Dumfries to London as quickly as was reasonably possible. The start was from Dumfries because that is where Arrol Johnston, who had built the car for a Mr Monnet on behalf of Edison, had its factory. It finished in London in order that this Edison could take part in a rally of electric vehicles at Kingston, which was to be held in conjunction with a meeting of the Incorporated Municipal Electrical Association at which papers were to be read about electric vehicles by three experts.

Expected at this gathering were this Arrol-Johnston coupe. three Edison Andersons (coupe, roadster and 10 cwt van), an Edison limousine, a two-ton Edison-Lansden van, an Edison-Walker delivery van used by Harrod’s. Liberty’s Anderson van, a Silvertown one-ton van, an fwd Fram five-ton van, an Edison travelling crane, Krieger and Electromobile coupes and two Torpedo three-wheeled trucks — which shows the state of the “art” 81 years ago.

1 have no idea why the American Edison folk choose Arrol-lohnston to make them a car, unless it was their respect for Scottish engineers. For those who understand “electrickery”, the chassis was designed by A-I’s Mr EW Lewis and was powered by a 900 lb battery made by the Edison Storage Battery Co. It was in two sections, one of 36 cells under the coal-scuttle bonnet, as used on the Arrol-Johnston petrol cars, the other of 24 cells under the seats, each of 1.2 volts/ 150 amps.

The motor, rated at a nominal 3.3 hp at 1000 rpm, drove through a 6:1 gear, more suited to a town car than a long-distance one, as it restricted speed to about 18 mph. Palmer tyres were used and gave no trouble.

The car’s weight was 27 cwt, or 30 cwt with two passengers. Edison’s Mr Watson was responsible for the charging arrangements during the run and Mr Lewis watched over A-I’s interests. A Mr ME Fox drove throughout, with Mr Warrilow observing. The superiority of the new Edison accumulators, for which Mr Monnot had secured the rights for most of Europe, with Mr Watson his London manager, gave confidence in the demonstration, and young Mr Fox was one of their engineers.

The slow speed cf the A-I decided Fox to move the Monday morning start from 5.00 to 3.00; one hopes that his technical journalist passenger did not object! Indeed, preparations had started at the gruesome hour of 2.30. Although this was on lune 9 1913, the weather was against them, a gale-force wind blowing after passing Carlisle, with sleet and hail.

They fell four hours behind the set schedule, after 121/2 hours on the road and 81/2 recharging and boosting the battery, including manoeuvring in and out of the works at which this could be done. Shap Fell had been climbed at 5 mph, successfully, but this, the heavy roads and the lack of wipers for the high plate-glass windscreen in heavy rain held the Edison Electric back; it came into Manchester, where it had been expected at 7.45, at 11.45. They had been at it for over 21 hours, making charging stops at Carlisle, Penrith, Kendal, Lancaster and Preston.

To hell with the schedule! On the Tuesday the two men left at 7.00 instead of at the intended 3.00, after charging at Manchester Corporation’s Pologon sub-station. The hope was to arrive in London by late that night. But the 1 -in-15 Kidsgrove Bank reduced the Edison to a crawl, although it was considered a fine feat for an electric car to ascend it at all, as the battery was in need of a boost at the Burslem Electricity Works, reached only after completing the climb. Further stops for battery-boosting were made at Stafford, Walsall and Birmingham, where it was done very expeditiously and two cars provided to escort the Edison out of the town. In Coventry no charging was needed but a pause was made to show the vehicle to local press men.

In spite of this, Rugby was reached from Birmingham in three hours. Here BTH was very helpful. However, perhaps the strain on the driver and observer was beginning to show, because they did not leave for two hours, so that when the Edison got to Northampton 2 1/4 hours later the Electric Light & Power Co had been waiting some time to complete their ‘pit-stop’. That took until 16.15. Thereafter it was just a case of obtaining boosts at Bedford and Luton.

They left the latter at 22.30, after the stop had lasted 21/2 hours, and the final 30 miles into London brought the Edison to the offices of The Electrician by about 1 o’clock on the Wednesday.

Mr Warrilow reported that in the 382 miles, including an extra five going into and out of the charging stations, 13 recharging stops had been made. Some of these were free of cost. At others, the charge was one penny (1d) per Kilowatt/hour. Maximum charging was 125 amps for one hour, followed by 90 amps for half-an-hour.

The five-speed controller, although asked to break current at up to 150 amps. showed no arcing or excessive sparking. The battery, motor and back-axle were hand-warm during the run. A little oil was added after 340 miles and two gallons of distilled water were needed. It seems as if the chassis had been hastily prepared because the overhead-worm of the final-drive had not been subjected to the full grinding-in process — and any unwanted drag is a disadvantage where every amp counts! But the run was successful, the Edison having averaged a running-time 12.3 mph.

But with anything from 30 minutes to 21/2 hours needed for recharging, would many petrol-car owners, including those owning 15.9 hp Arrol-Johnstons, have wanted to change them for an Edison? I think not, and I cannot see myself ever going electric.

You may also like

Related products