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Special Possibilities with Electricity.

19th April 1917, Page 14
19th April 1917
Page 14
Page 14, 19th April 1917 — Special Possibilities with Electricity.
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

Application of Electric Power to Motor Traction.

The subject of this article seems to the writer to be of such importance that no opportunity should be lost in pressing home the points in regard thereto. The benefits to be accrued universally through the adoption of the use of elettricity as a power are immense : in its particular application to the motor-traction industry the possibilities are equally great. This has already. been pointed out so far as the use of electricity in and about a garage is concerned, in a recent series of articles published in this journal. But the subject generally is much wider, and the purpose of the present article is to deal with the question from the broad point of view.

"Somewhere in France."

It might be stated that these notes are being written "somewhere in France," and under difficulties, of course. It is well-nigh impossible, while sitting on one's pack in the early morning, in a hut containin40 other men, to do mere than barely express the facts of the case. The fact that the theme of the article was prompted to a large degree through observations made in the Allied French war zone, together with the extreme importance of the subject, combine to compensate for any difficulty experienced in actually writing the notes.

• Motor Traction and Electricity.

Taken from the point of view of the fuel question, the writer is of the opinion that, ultimately, even if not within the next year or two, electricity will be adopted as the power with which to drive traction vehicles. The supply of oil for fuel iii internal-combustion engines is undoubtedly limited. Further, in emergency it can easily be destroyed—vide the Rumanian oil wells. Alcohol as a fuel can be produced certainly ; but food is of primary importance, and from henceforth will have to be considered with all seriousness. The storage, transport and refining of oil fuel are also factors of the case. Briefly, at the present time, the oil used in commercial-motor vehicles must be refinedand used in individual quantities for individual vehicles. To the contrary, it has been proved that .electricity can be stored : transport commercial vehicles are already in. working use in many of our large cities, and it is possible to produce in the most economical fashion electricity, to be used as a driving power for practically any purpose, in immense quantities by means of any variety of fuel, be it coal, peat, alcohol, refined oil, or crude oil. The steam turbine for land p'urposes, through the medium of which electricity is generated nowadays, can be said to be practically a perfect machine, while the electric generator is equally economical.


The Storage of Electricity.

The storage of electricity is not, perhaps, ISO vital a matter as it would seem at first sight. As previously remarked, electricity can be stored, and while the manner of storage may not be perfect at the moment, it is undoubted that, with the war reaction of the inventive genius, not only of the British Empire, but of the whole world, the problem of the storage of electricity will very soon be successfully surmounted. The real point of the matter is that electricity can easily be distributed, as well as easily and economically generated. The primary means of electric transmis

sion is the transmission wire or cable—a means comparatively simple, with a long,working life.

"Linking-up" of Electricity Stations.

Throughout the United Kingdom there are coordinated schemes in being in the various districts with the purpose of " linking-up " the existing generaing stations and generating electricity in bulk. Furthermore, it is intended to build electricity sub-stations and instal the requisite plant for "handing out" the current. When this scheme is worked out to its full extent it will mean, so far as motor traction is concerned, that propelling energy (in the form of electric current) of the cheapest possible character will be available at all convenient centres throughout the country. Commercial vehicles will be enabled to call at any one of these centres to be charged with current for driving purposes. There will be no need to carry petrol. Crude oil will be used for generating the current in the generating stations. There will not lee so much need for refining the oil wealth of the world to the same extent as has been done hitherto. The oil supply will last considerably longer, and a large portion of it will prove to be well adapted for other domestic and commercial purposes.

In France.

At the present time, and during the whole period of the war, if such a scheme had been working in the war region of France, the transport facilities would have been inestimably bettered. The transport of oil fuel alone would have relieved an immeasurable amount of transport difficulty both on and off the seas. No oil would have been necessary for lighting the transport vehicles, neither would it have been necessary to carry acetylene or other gas-generating plant for lighting purposes. The whole programme of transport would have been vastly simplified. A periodical charging of the commercial car with energy, both for driving and lighting the vehicle, is comparatively a simple proposition. There is no sufficient reason why such facilities should not be organized in all industrial countries. The resulting benefits would be unbounded., Electric Motor Transport in General.

Briefly, with such an organized scheme as is outlined above—and it is certainly coming—the complete traction-vehicle industry would become simpler in working, and, on account of the depth of the organization alone, cheaper in working. Mechanical road traction will almost undoubtedly become at once the cheapest form of transport obtainable, and, consequently, would be capable of successful competition with any other form of carriage. A further most important factor of the problem would be a most appreciable diminishing of smoke, while, of course, no fumes or waste oil would be given off the electric vehicle. The whole industry would become cleaner. Electricity for a long time has played a very important part in the manufacture of the commercial-motor vehicle. The time is now drawing nigh when it will play an even greater part in the driving of individual vehicles. It behoves the members of the industry to take important notice of the possibilities of electricity in connection with motor traction.


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