Electric cars are not only cool, they are environmentally friendly. It is easy to see why people are excited about the idea. As a matter of fact, electric vehicles can save thousands of dollars a year in fuel and maintenance costs. However, it is not always easy to understand who invented electric cars.
Henney Kilowatt is an electric car that was manufactured in the United States in the 1960s. It was one of the first electric vehicles to be produced after the prewar era. The first model used 36-volt batteries, while the second version featured 72-volt batteries.
This model was designed as a compact, efficient car. In order to achieve this goal, the car used a combination of diodes and relays to switch the battery and motor windings in different modes. With the help of this powertrain, the vehicle had a range of sixty miles on a full charge.
Although it never reached mass production, the car did have a few notable supporters. Linus Pauling was a consultant for the project. Wouk also recruited Lee DuBridge, a former president of Caltech, to work on the project.
The first commercially viable electric car didn’t happen until the late 1800s. It took a couple of years and a bit of refinement to bring it to the public. Some of these vehicles were still running in New York City by the turn of the century.
The first was a hefty four-wheeled electric wagon that ran at 15 miles per hour. These vehicles were relatively quiet compared to horse drawn carriages and didn’t contribute much to the problem of heavy coal pollution in larger cities. Although the battery lasted for only a few hours, charging stations were available at a nominal fee.
In 1895, the Morris and Salom Electric Carriage and Wagon Company was born. As part of the company’s mission to provide “electrified transportation to the public, to promote the efficiency of the public service system, and to improve the health, comfort and convenience of passengers,” the Electrobat was conceived. They opted for a two-motor configuration based on a direct drive 25 kW motors that ran at 200 volts. A prototype weighed in at 800 pounds.
Henry G. Morris
Several years ago, I heard a story about Henry G. Morris, who invented the world’s first successful electric cars. Apparently, he was a chemist in Des Moines, Iowa. He decided to develop battery street cars because he saw the potential for using electricity on smaller road vehicles.
The first prototype was built in two months. After several improvements and modifications, it was patented on August 31, 1894. It was able to travel 25 miles at a speed of 20 mph. A police escort was included in the prototype.
Electric cars were used to replace horse-drawn cabs. Many of them were in use in New York City by the turn of the century.
When the first electric car became available, the market was limited to urban residents. Although they were quiet and could go for short trips around the city, the availability of fuel and poor roads made them unpopular for use out of the city.
Dr. Andy Frank
Andrew Frank is the father of the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). Using his inventions, he has been able to design cars that use less energy and offer a cleaner driving experience.
Frank has been researching and developing electric vehicle technology for nearly two decades. He was a mechanical engineering professor at the University of California in Davis. After transferring to the Mechanical Engineering Department in 1985, he started working on hybrid vehicles.
After 20 years of research and testing, his work attracted the attention of some major car manufacturers. For example, Toyota, Honda, and Nissan were interested in his work.
In 2006, Andy Frank started his own company, Efficient Drivetrains Inc. Currently, the company is working on commercial development of a PHEV. The company also licensed some of Andy’s patents.
When he published his book Unsafe at Any Speed: the Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile in 1965, Ralph Nader became a world-famous auto safety advocate. His book’s scathing criticism of American automobiles influenced the formation of federal agencies and laws that have kept people safe on the road for over five decades.
In the mid-1960s, automobile crashes were the fourth largest cause of death in the U.S. Automakers knew they were selling a dangerous product but resisted the urge to install safety innovations in new models.
As a Harvard law student, Nader began investigating the safety of automobiles in the 1950s. He discovered many problems with the design, including inadequate brakes for powerful engines and sun-reflecting chrome trim on the dashboard.
In 1965, the fatality rate was 5.3 per 100 million vehicle miles. This figure was reduced to 3.3 per million over a decade. While it is a small number, it still represents a major improvement.