Boosting the Battery Vehicle.
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By the Editor.
The Electric Vehicle Committee of the Incorporated Municipal Electrical Association has now circulated all supply undertakings in the Kingdom with regard to steps to facilitate the adoption and use of battery fehicles. The active co-operation of both joint-stock and municipal undertakings is confidently sought, and we quote the recommendations :—
(1.) That for charging which is carried out at times other than " peak load " hours, the rate should not exceed id. per unit at the supply authority's declared system and pressure.
(2.) As to charging during "peak load" hours, the committee consider that such, especially in the cane of conunereial vehicles, should seldom be necessary. In consequence of this, and the fact also that standing charges must, of necessity, vary greatly in different undertakings, they do not deem it desir. 'able to make any reemmendation as to a suitable tariff for such hours.
(3.) The committee suggest the wisdom of offering special encouragement to owners of vehicles to carry out charging operations between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. by fixing a lower tariff for such hours. They consider that the supply, under such conditions, could be remuneratively given at a price of id. per unit, (4.) The committee recommend that a scale of discounts be arranged to meet the case of large consumers. (5.) It is also recommended that a special additional discount of 20 per cent. should be allowed off the rates mentioned in Paragraphs 1 and 3 above for all electric energy pnrchased for re-sale and metered on the consumer's premises. This would, of course, apply in the case of a public garage where the energy is purchased from the electric supply undertaking and sold to cm owners bringing their vehicles to the garage to be charged.
(6.) When the charging of vehicle batteries is carried gut at a station under the control of the supply authority, tiro committee consider it would be advisable to make a minimum charge for the supply of energy, and they suggest that such charge should not exceed 2s. for any one charging operation. It is further suggested that such minimum charge should only cover standing room or housing for the vehicle while the charging is being carried out, and that should the owner desire storage of the vehicle for any period after the completion of battery charging, it is open to the supply authority to incite such further charges as it considers fit.
(7.) The charges recommended under Paragraphs 1, 3 and 6 above, while they should, in the case of charging done at a supply authority's charging station, include connecting up and disconnecting, adjustment of current, etc., would not, of course, cover such items as " topping up " cells, inspection work, and the remedying of defects, all of which should properly be charged as extras.
It is evident that the Committee attaches considerable importance to the establishment of tariffs throughout. the country which shall be as nearly uniform as possible. It is anticipated, as a matter of fact, that the Committee will shortly be in a position to publish a list of tariffs which are in operation for vehicle-battery charging, and the necessary data are
already being compiled with that object. Supply undertakings have been urged to provide charging facilities at the generating station, and at one or more sub-stations, and to communicate the full addresses in each case to the Committee. We shall evidently shortly see a handbook of the type which at one time was issued by the two big petrol-importing groups, and, perhaps, in the distant future, all necessity for the circulation of such a handbook not only =gone, but also forgotten, as with regard to petrol.
We are informed that several of the largest municipal supply companies in the Metropolitan acea are ready to supply current, between 11 p.m. and 6 a. iii., at so low a. figure as !-d. per unit. This rate, if if applies to any class of consumer, is almost a temptation to the buyer to make an extensive installation of stationary batteries, with a view to the purchase of low-priced electricity during the night, for con 132 sumption during the day. This point, howcvec, is one which we only mention in passing. Elsewhere in this issue we give a comparative report, in respect of a short trial between electric, petrol and steam vehicles, from the engineer to the Heston and Isleworth L.D.C. This authority, oif course, is desirous to encourage the use of the battpry vehicle, and its decision to pay 1220 extra for an electric vehicle was admittedly influenced by the consideration of advertisement effect in favour of the new proposition. We have reason to believe that other corporate bodies will accept an increase oh capital outlay on motor-transport account, in ordet similarlyto encourage the consumption of electrical energy in the first place, and to put forward the "decoy" in the second. We have already given publicity to our view in the matter : there is undoubted scope for the battery vehicle within a limited raNus of a power station. That radius may be extended in years to come ; the first hope is near home.
We fear that present estimates in connection with current consumption will prove to be sadly erroneous, for many of the sanguine estimates which we have seen make positively no allowance for common factors in any year's working. We more particularly refer to the differences which are inevitably introduced by running on soft roads, by the effects of wind pressure on the vehicle, and by the uneconomical use of the controller by the driver. These factors in combination may easily increase the theoretic consumption by 200 per cent., or more.
We happen to have before its the records of current consumption by the different units of a Berlin fleet of motorcabs. Astonishing fluctuations are shown, due to the frequency with which many drivers keep their controller handle in a high-speed notch, after a slackening of pace in traffic, instead of their coming down to a notch which ensures the more-economical use of current with a grouping of the cells and the windings upon which the designer and vendor had reckoned for low-speed travelling. Whilst waste of current can be automatically stopped during the act of braking, the more-serious waste due to exigencies of traffic has not, so far, been eliminated.
Wherever we have examined authentic records of inclusive energy costs per mile run for a fleet of bat,er,-,--driven vehicles, they have been very considerably higher than the corresponding inclusive costs for either a petrol-driven or a steam-driven fleet on the same class of work. We fail to see how it can be otherwise, and opinions about lower general maintom ace are, as yet., merely opinions.