Monday, February 03, 2014

Electric cars - a long gestation

Arnold Bennett clearly liked electric cars. They must have been the coming thing and maybe they were also seen as a hint that the machine age could produce more than dark satanic mills. Here are a few quotes.

Richard’s car ran through the cutting — it was electrical, odourless, and almost noiseless.
He crept back to his own car, found it unharmed in the deep shadow where he had left it, and mounted.
Richard directed the car gently through the gate and then stopped; they dismounted, and crossed the great field on foot.
This vehicle, new and in beautiful order, and charged for a journey of a hundred and twenty miles, travelled in the most unexceptionable manner. The two and a half miles to the North-Western station at Dunstable were traversed in precisely five minutes, in spite of the fact that the distance included a full mile of climbing
Teresa of Watling Street (1904)

The electric brougham was waiting. I gathered up my skirt and sprang in.
 Oh, the exquisite dark intimacy of the interior of that smooth-rolling brougham! 
Sacred and Profane Love (1905)

Notice the reference to a range of a hundred and twenty miles. There are a number of explanations as to why electric cars were ousted by the internal combustion engine after an auspicious start, but are any of them satisfactory?

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