New Battery-electric Announced
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THE battery-electric vehicle is a type of machine welt suited to the requirements of house-to-house collection or delivery work, and the gradual increase in the numbers of such vehicles employed in towns and cities (throughout this country, at any rate) is evidence that the type has come to
stay. Indeed, we anticipate that a more rapid increase in popularity will be observed in the immediate future, because there is a noticeable growth in the number of electric-vehicle manufacturers.
We are able this week to announce an entirely new 10-15-cwt. batteryelectric chassis, produced by Midland Vehicles, Ltd., of Upper Grove Street, Leamington Spa, and named the Midland Electric. The mechanical and electrical specifications have been planned by Mr. J. Parker Garner, who. as is well 'known, has been in the vehicle-manufacturing industry for a number of years. As will be seen from the accompanying illustrations, Mr. Gamer has made an endeavour to produce a machine not only able to do the work for which it is designed, but also capable of being maintained with a minimum amount of trouble.
Owing to the special exigencies of B22 the work upon which battery-electric vehicles are normally engh.ged, certain factors concerning operatibn are of far greater importance than in, say, a normal type of petrol od oil-engined goods chassis, which is used for general haulage work. The height of the platform in the cab and the ease of entry to and exit from the vehicle are of paramount importance, whilst facilities for reaching the freight also have a distinct bearing upon the usefulness of a machine designed for such work as milk or bread delivery.
In the Midland .Electr c design the height of the platform ig but 10 ins. from the ground, whilst the doorways —no doors are fitted as standard—are wide enough to allow unrestricted entrance for a man carrying a basket or crate. At the rear the two doors open to the full width of the standing pillars and, what is more they can be folded back alongside the body panels.
With a 7-ft. 4-in. wheelbase and front and rear track dimensibns of 4 ft_ 5 ins. and 3 ft. lls ins respectively. the standard body length, measured from behind the driver's' seat, is 7 ft. The normal proportions for the width of floor and the height of the roof give a freight space of about 130 cubic ft.
The chassis frame is of simple and straightforward design, the side members being of the normal channel section with a pronounced drop at the front in order to give the low platform. Adequate cross-bracing is provided, additional stiffness being afforded by channels running athwart the fratne to carry the batteries.
As will be seen from the illustrations, this part of the construction is of more than ordinary interest, as provision is ma de for the trays containing the batteries to be withdrawn from the sides of the vehicle for topping-up the cells, or for replacement purposes. • The framing for the trays is carried by rollers, and, as we proved to our satisfaction, no undue effort is required to slide the whole assembly outward, or to push it back into position again. Attached to the body framing and lying With the panelling are removable , side panels giving direct access to the trays, the batteries and the two-bolt securing attachment for the runners. If, at the end of a round, it he desired to send the vehicle out again, the exhausted battery can be lifted (by suitable tackle) off the trays and replaced by-fully charged cells in a matter of 10 minutes,
The 60-volt motor is series wound and of the ventilated type. It is mounted in the frame on cross-members with spring-steel securing straps, the whole being insulated with thick rubber. pads. It is interesting to note that the cornmutator projects into the driver's compartment, so that it can; be .iiispected easily. Providing three
speeds forward and three in reverse, by series-parallel contactors, the controller has quick make-and-break control fingers with magnetic blowouts. This unit is mounted above the motor, on the left-hand side of the driver, all parts being readily accessible for inspection and maintenance. From the rear of the motor, a Layrub propeller shaft transmits the drive to an Overhead-worm-driven rear axle.
All the steering connections have self-adjusting ball joints, the Manes Weller cam-and-lever type of box being actuated through the medium of a 16-in.-diameter steering wheel.
Operating brakes on all four wheels, the brake pedal is coupled to expanding shoes by cables, the hand brake having a mechanical linkage to the rear wheels, with an inter-locking . mechanism ensuring that the electrical current is broken when the brakes are applied. All four drums are 12 ins. in diameter.
The chassis is standardized with India 5,25 by 17 tyres and its price is £145.
In the body construction great care has been taken to ensure easy replacement of any panel. The dashboard, for example, although of streamlined form, consists of three aluminium panels any one of which can be detached for replacement merely by removing a line of screws ; the body is built on precisely the same principles. Normally included in the specification are an ampere-hour meter, a charging plug with isolating switch, front wings, and a 12-volt electric horn and lamps.