Door-to-Door Delivery by Electric Van
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WE learn with satisfaction that Victor Electrics, Ltd., Southport, has produced a special type of battery electric vehicle for the retail distribution of
milk and dairy priiduce. Wingrove
and Rogers, Ltd., of Arundel Chambers, Strand, London, -W.C.2, which
handles the sales of this concern, has demonstrated this new machine to us in actual service conditions and it really seems that, at last, a mechanically propelled vehicle suitable for door-to-door delivery work has been evolved.
Such service means innumerable starts and stops, the distances tra velled intermediately being often only a few yards. The driver is also the salesman; he must, there fore, be able to step out in a moment as the vehicle is stopping and to drive forward instantly upon step ping aboard. It is not necessary for him even to sit down—that involves a waste of time.
In the new Victor vehicle the requirements are catered for by utiliz ing small solid-tyred wheels and a stepped frame, the rear portion being about 1 ft. higher than the forward portion, the level of which is about 1 ft. above the ground. The driver may step into the cab from either side, there being no doors to open, and the controls are instantly accessible.
The wheelbase is 8 ft. 4 ins. and the track 4 ft. 8 ins. Of the overall length of about 12 ft. the useful body length behind the driver's cab and the batteries, which are housed at the front, amounts to 7 ft. 6 ins.
The width is 5 ft. 4 ins, and the racks afford space for 54 boxes, each containing 20 milk bottles of various sizes from half a pint to one quart. These cases weigh on an average approximately 56 lb., so that the load comes to about 27 cwt. The small horsed vans used by many large dairy concerns carry
approximately half this load. So,
that, with a considerable reduction of overhead charges, no extra time shall be needed for a given delivery round, two men may, if necessary, be employed on one vehicle.
As to the constructional details. the longitudinal frame members are of ash, 6 ins, deep, reinforced along the top and bottom edges with channel steel. The deep step connecting the lower front portion with the upper rear portion is effected by steel plates 1 ft. 6 ins, high and 111 ins, wide, these being bolted to the sides of each frame member.
The front axle is fixed directly to the frame, a special type of coilspring suspension for the stub axles
being combined with an Ackerman steering. The steering gear is of the worm-and-quadrant type, with a vertical column.
The D.P. Kathanode batteries, oC 168 amp.-hour capacity, are in 40 cells and weigh about 19 cwt. Six crates are provided for 36 of these cells, the batteries being housed in a compartment above the front axle. The Metro-Vick motor is located amidships, just where the frame rises, the drive thence being by a solid exposed shaft with two fabric universal joints to an overheadworm axle, with differential gear. The pressed-steel wheels have 22-in. by 3A-in. solid tyres. A single resistance is bolted to the frame.
The hand control gives four forward and three reverse speeds, and is ineffective unless the driver be standing upon a spring-loaded floor button. Should the button be released the hand control must be brought to the off position before contact can again be made. The control is also rendered ineffective when the hand brake is applied, for the brake is held on by a bar, which, when swung aside, switches on the current. These safeguards virtually eliminate all fear of interference by children, etc.
The hand-brake lever actuates a contracting band around a drum on the transmission shaft, just ahead of the axle. A separate control, by pedal, is provided for large-diameter expanding brakes in drums on the rear wheels.
We watched the vehicle for some time in the course of its daily work with United Dairies (London), Ltd., in the south of London, and were impressed by its general suitability, notably the quickness of control, easy entrance and descent of the driver and mate, the quick acceleration, braking and reversing, and the
small turning circle. Some more experience is needed to determine the range of the battery equipment on one charge, and this will vary with the gradients, etc. It is expected to average about 25 miles.