Electric Vehicle Charging, July 11, 1917

This photo was taken on 1917-07-11 at the Midland Railway St Pancras Goods Depot in London. Electric trucks were used for local deliveries in London. The trucks had a range of around 30 miles (48 km) per charge.


These trucks look like Walker Electrics, manufactured for 35 years:

Walker manufactured many different models of trucks and these trucks were sold all across the USA and even to Britain and New Zealand. These trucks had a 3.5 HP electric motor that was powered by many batteries to produce 66 to 80 volts and a maximum of 40 amps. The driving range of these trucks was about 50 miles and the maximum speed was 10 to 12 MPH. The trucks were plugged into a charging station in the evening after the daily deliveries were completed…These trucks were a welcome relief for the general public and the delivery companies. Previously the deliveries were made by horse and wagon. The horses were not the most sanitary because of their daily habits of relieving themselves anywhere they felt like it along the routes. This didn’t make the customers too happy. The horses were loyal in the task of pulling the wagons but their pace was slow compared the trucks. The first companies to use this style of delivery were dairies, bakeries, US Mail, retail store and freight companies. Marshall Field and Company had a fleet of 276 electric Walker Trucks in 1925.

Over the past decade or two, China has been developing ultra-capacitor technology which provides lower weight, much higher charging speeds, and higher efficiency - at the cost of having to provide distributed charging infrastructure.This works well for buses or industrial machinery that Sinautec has been developing. They tried to bring this technology to the US, but that effort hasn’t worked out.

Still, as existing infrastructure literally collapses because of electric car vehicle weight and burns because of battery instability, maybe it’s time to think again about ultra-capacitors.