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Sunday, 6 December 2015

1916 Detroit Electric car



A century ago we already had practical electric commuter cars. From Wikipedia

The cars were advertised as reliably getting 80 miles (130 km) between battery recharging, although in one test a Detroit Electric ran 211.3 miles (340.1 km) on a single charge. Top speed was only about 20 mph (32 km/h), but this was considered adequate for driving within city or town limits at the time.

I like this little car, it reminds me of an Amish buggy and a simpler, more rational life which was always within our grasp but we never grasped it.

Imagine a similar car made from modern materials used purely for shopping or commuting. For twenty years I commuted across Nottingham and only on a Sunday morning would I ever do better than an average speed of 20 mph. Usually it was well below.

8 comments:

Demetrius said...

If only I had kept my 1934 Austin Seven open top car.

A K Haart said...

Demetrius - I always fancied a car like that but don't have the mechanical skills or patience to keep it in good order.

Roger said...

Mmmm, I think the operative words are 'advertised as'. A Nissan Leaf (modern materials etc) advertises in these more regulated days an 80 mile range - although the more normal charging regime claims 60 miles. As for 211.3 miles, well I for one am a lot sceptical.

As you say, a lowish speed would not be a major problem in most cities but most people require their car to do the commute and also go much further and faster when required. This requirement is not met. As for a simpler more rational life, well that really would not suit the Treasury at all.

A K Haart said...

Roger - I don't believe 80 miles either, although it is worth remembering that low speeds would have made a major contribution to the car's range. In those days it is also possible that losses through braking were not what they would be in a city today, although now we have regenerative braking.

wiggiatlarge said...

Despite all the technology they don't seem to advanced that much further than the milk float, maybe it is all the technology ?

A K Haart said...

Wiggia - I assume it's the price of lithium batteries plus recharging infrastructure because lithium batteries essentially solve the range problem of electric cars.

Jenny Woolf said...

One of the problems is where to park a car used specially for shopping. It's already hard enough to park.

A K Haart said...

Jenny - a very small car such as a Smart car might work.