Long electric history
VEHICLES with a combination of a petrol engine, an electric motor and a traction-type battery are in the news these days. Yet this concept is far from new.
In the 1927, ’38, ’41, ’ 43 and ’ 52 editions of Dyke’s Automobile and Gasoline Engine Encyclopedia there is a description of the Woods GasElectric Car made by the Woods Electric Vehicle Co of Chicago.
One has a line drawing showing the vehicle that was manufactured from 1916 to 1918.
It has a four-cylinder engine in combination with an electric motorgenerator and with a ‘‘battery of 24 cells and 11 plates each’’, which suggests 48 volt current.
Information from another source is that initially the engine was designed and made by Woods but was unsuccessful judging by the number of warranty claims.
It was soon replaced with one made by Continental.
Clearly Woods had been successfully making battery-electric motor vehicles for many years but was less skilled at trying to give them more range than the batteries of the time allowed.
How differently automotive engineering might have progressed if the engine-motor-battery combination had been further developed.
K.E. Sandercoe, Chapel Hill