Monday, January 17, 2011

Let's Take a Look at Some History

I was perusing Jay Leno's Garage over the weekend and found this book review. The book itself sounds interesting- a murder mystery based in 1910 in an electric car factory.

The more interesting part of the video is Jay and the author's conversation about the early 1900's and the history of electric automobiles. Especially when they discuss range and what killed the electric car a hundred years ago.

Another video Jay posted last week was this one; about a 1906 Steam Tractor. Jay drives this thing around the block- at its top speed of 4 miles an hour- and then discusses what killed the steam car.

If you don't study history, you don't know that most ideas are not new. Back in the day, before the internal combustion engine (ICE) became the norm, electric and steam powered cars were viable competitors. For a few years anyway. But both steam and electric had limitations that the ICE didn't have.

The electric starter, invented in 1912, was one of the biggest boosts; it removed the need for a strong arm to kick the engine over, making the ICE the easier and faster to start than a steam car.

Electrics have always had range issues, and always will, until they figure out how to recharge your battery in the time it takes to grab a cup of coffee and donut at the Stop and Go. Which will probably be never.

Electric cars are a fad today; just like they were a hundred years ago.

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