The Use of Electric Vehicles.
If you've noticed an error in this article please click here to report it so we can fix it.
A Summary of a Report Presented by the Electric Vehicle Committee, Followed by a Note of the Discussion and a Description of the Parade.
Thursday last, the 17th inst., was a gala day for the supporters of the battery-propelled vehicle, the occasion being the reading of a report by the Electric Vehicle Committee on the use of Electric Vehicles in Municipal Service, • before the Incorporated Municipal Electrical Association. Mr. F. Avton, M.I.E.E., Hon. Secretary of the Committee, read this report, which was followed by a discussion, and afterwards by a parade of electric vehicles along the Embankment. The report itself, although it naturally put the case of the battery vehicle in most favourable light, was, nevertheless, quite a useful one.
Cleanliness and Simplicity.
For municipal work in particular, the undoubted cleanliness and silence of the vehicle is claimed to be an asset. It is further Considerexi that in this respect municipal engineers ought to set a good example to others of the community. The author has gone most thoroughly into detail and, if the smallest possible point can be made in favour of this type of machine, he makes it. As an example of this thoroughness we might point out that, in laying stress on the simplicity of the drive, he suggests that, in order to bring this essential fact before the general public, any electrical department using these wagons should engage as a permanent driver a youth, only iust old enough to be eligible to hold a licence, thus testifying to the ease of control and simplicity.
Most Suitable Field for Use.
He points out that perhaps the most suitable field for the emnloY merit of the electric-battery vehicle is that connected with municipal service, and he quotes several examples of its use, giving details of experiences. Unfortunately all of those which cover a considerable mileage are situated in the United States. Those which refer to corporations in this country are usually about recent purchases, and cannot refer to any great length of service. The Glasgow Corporation :Electricity Department and the case of Harrods are also referred to. He again draws attention to the fact that by the. general use of elsctrie vehicles a new use for current will be opened un. and that this will only be needed in the hours when off-peak loads are general.
Running Costs Not Complete.
In discussing. the several departments of municipal work in which the electric vehicle may be employed, he refers particularly, of course, to the established Supply Department. As regards costs in general, he is frequently only able to give particulars of the current consumed. Glasgow, for example, is running a one-ton van which has up to the present covered a total_ mileage of 22,284 miles, and has consumed on the average .62 unit per battery mile. The West Ham Electric Supply Department oneton van, although it has only covered 1788 miles, also consumed from .5 to .6 unit. With current at ld. per unit, these figures also represent cost per mile Q,ua power. In the one case where the detailed expenses are given the vehicle is not, correctly sneaking, a commercial motor. The costs referred to are for a two-seater employed by the Croydon Corporation. This has been running for a little over 2000 miles and has cost 5.785 pence r er mile.
An advantage of the electric vehicle for use by Electric Supply Corporations, and one which we do not remember to have seen noted previously, is relative to its use on demonstration work connected with the obtaining of new business from householders and shopowners in any particular district. It is pointed out that for this work such a machine i.s useful, even if only on account of the supply of electric energy which it carries with it. By the aid of flexible cable carried through the front window of the house or shop, and with the carriage standing in the roadway outside, the canvasser is able to demonstrate before the housewife at home, or the shopkeeper, as the case may be, the utility of the electsic iron, the vacuum cleaner, the
electric fire, and so on. There is no doubt that by using it in such a manner the vehicle would prove an important factor in "new business getting."
For the Collection of Refuse. The Example of Paris.
As regards the use of the " electric " for the collection of house refuse, it is pointed out that this vehicle will show the best results where the refuse destructor is at a distance from the area of collection, and it is further suggested that in such a case, one of the two following alternatives might be adopted : either the collections might be made by horse-drawn vehicles with detachable tops, which could be transferred to a large electric -vehicle, to be carried thence to the destructor, or, on the other hand,
electric vehicles with tipping bodies might be used instead of the horsedrawn lorries, and these tipped into hoppers at the depot, whence collection can be made as before by the larger machines. The notable example of Paris was quoted as being a case where extended use of such vehicles has been made for this purpose. No fewer than 100 electric refuse-collecting vehicles are there employed, each of which is capable of carrying five torts.
Figures from Barnes U.D.C.
The Urban District Council of Barnes, as a result of the trial of electric vehicles for refuse collection, has placed an order for four The surveyor of that Council has reported that with an electric van the capacity of which is 4 C. yds., in comparison with a horse-drawn van with its capacity of 21c. yds., the costs are 198. 4d. and lls. per day respectively. These figures coves interest on first cost, as well as a fair share on charging equipment, redemption of loan on both these items, wages, electricity, tires, maintenance of battery and chassis,. insurance, lubricants and sundries. Basing his estimate upon these figures and an expenditure of £4000 on the vans and charging plant, Mr., Tomes, who is the surveyor, expects to be able to save by the instal,. ment of these four vans at least £400 'per annum.
Unvsually Exact Data.
Some unusually-detailed data were obtained by the Heston and Isleworth Urban District Council. This Council made experiments with three types, electric, steam and petrol. The electric van's safe load was 2.68 tons, the Garrett steam wagon had a capacity of three tons and the Thornycroft pe■roI wagon carried a2 tons. It was found that any one of the three motor wagons could do the same work as previously done by four of the Council horses, but in point of saving in cost over the horse, the electric vehicle showed ,C71, the steam wagon £66, and the petsol wagon is. id. per annum. [We question these data on publication. —ED.] The suitability of this type of purchase for fire-brigade work is also touched upon and a great deal is made of a statement that a turnout can be effected in seven or eight seconds, which is stated to compare with other motors which may require 15 seconds. Other forms of municipal enterprise such as watering carts, street-sweeping machines and omnibuses are also referred to. Discussion of Report.
In the course of the discussionwhich followed, it' was evident that' the !s,eneral opinion was that electri:c velicles for pleasure purposes cannot be regarded as a practical proposition, but at the same time for commercial purposes it was advisable that municipalities should develop their use. It was pointed out that the first cost of these vehicles was undoubtedly high and there was also found a difficulty in obtaining suitable types for certain purposes. Much was made by several contributors to the discussion of the fact that the commercial electric vehicle could easily attain the legal limit of speed on the level, and claimed this as a refutation of the statement that this class of vehicle is slow. The real crux of the 'ulatter, however, as is well known, lies in the speed on hills. As our own experience proves, a very slight-incline has a considerable retarding effect, and over a give-andtake road the electric quickly drops behind. In traffic, on the other hand, different conditions hold, and some machines of this class, as we have personally observed, possess really exemplary powers of acceleration when on smooth level roads, and this, ,coupled with not inconsiderable manoeuvring capabilities, enables a good overall sneed to be main tained in such circumstances. Mr.. C. H: Wordinghant doubted, whether battery driven :vehicles would ever be a success, and quoted the notable failures. on_ tramcar work as examples. Fortunately for himself Mr. Wordingham laad almost immediately after his' speech to retire on other'and more urgent business. .
Mr. H. 5, Ellis,. tramways manager of -South Shields, anticipated trouble due to high first cost • and also on account of the slow, speed. . Mr. C. H. Cooper of Wimbledon complained that it was difficult to obtain suitable designs of electric vehicles for municipal purposes. Even the dust-collecting vehicle at Barnes has perpetuated the dustman's ladder. He believes that in Paris and New York much better vehicles are available. In his opinion the road roller lent itself admirably to electric driving, if only on account of the weight of the batteries, but inquiries had failed to obtain quotations.
Mr. J. K. Bridges, Chief Electrical Engineer of •Eastbourne, inquired about 18 months ago for yehicks for collecting coal. The first cost of 21100, however, was prohibitive, and he had eventually to parchaae a steam wagon at £550.
Mr. W. H. L. Watson of Edison Accumulators Ltd impressed upon the meeting the fact that high speed was all against economical running. Many petrol-driven vehicles had an ability to be driven
much faster than they usually were, but why provide 'ugh speedcapacity whieh is not used I Electric vehicles had been tested in London against petrol-driven-cars, and although the latter were able from time to time to get away in traffic, nevertheless, the electric car. was net very .much, behind at the end of the journey ; sometinies it was in front. Notwithstanding the criticisms on high price and
slow speed, many railway, were taking up electic ve
hicles. The Midland Railway Co., for instance, has just purchased 20 vehicles at the same price as had been quoted to municipalities. Mr, A. E. Meaden,of Wolseley Motors, speaking as a rep esentative of a firm which had recently taken up electric vehicles, said there was undoubtedly a splendid future for them if kept within their own sphere. The electric vehicle did not compete with . the petrol vehicle, as both types had I their own spheres of usefulness. He warned users of electric vehicles not to set too great a ,store upon speed. Speed was everything for the petrol vehicle andeverything against the electric vehicle.: The reason why there were so many electric vehicles in America was, there were no roads between the towns, and consequently the petrol lorry had never, had a chance. As to cost, he agreed that this must come down considerably, and that was a question -which must be gone into by.the Makers.