Current Affairs

The History of Electric Cars – The Middle Years (1930 – 1990) – Part 2

The History of Electric Cars – The Middle Years (1930 – 1990)
Electric  vehicles  had  all  but  disappeared by  1935.  The years following  until  the 1960s  were dead years  for  electric  vehicle development and for use as personal transportation. The 1960s  and 1970s  saw  a need  for  alternative fueled  vehicles to reduce the  problems  of  exhaust  emissions  from  internal combustion engines  and to reduce the  dependency  on  imported foreign crude  oil. 
Many  attempts  to  produce  practical electric vehicles occurred during the years from 1960 to the present. In the early  1960s,  the  Boyertown Auto Body  Works  jointly  formed the Battronic  Truck  Company  with Smith Delivery  Vehicles,  Ltd., of  England and  the  Exide Division of  the  Electric  Battery  Company.  
The  first  Battronic  electric  truck was  delivered to the Potomac  Edison  Company  in 1964.  This  truck  was  capable  of  speeds  of  25  mph, a range of 62 miles and a payload of 2,500 pounds. Battronic  worked with General  Electric  from  1973  to  1983 to  produce 175 utility  vans  for  use in the utility  industry  and to  demonstrate the capabilities  of  battery  powered vehicles.  Battronic  also developed and produced about 20 passenger buses in the mid-1970s.
Two companies  were leaders  in electric  car  production during  this time.  Sebring-Vanguard produced over  2,000  “CitiCars.”  These cars had  a top speed of  44  mph,  a  normal  cruise speed  of  38  mph  and  a range of 50 to 60 miles. The other  company  was  Elcar  Corporation which produced  the “Elcar”.  
The  Elcar  had  a top speed  of  45  mph,  a range  of  60 miles  and cost between $4,000 and $4,500.
In 1975  the United States  Postal  Service purchased 350 electric  delivery  jeeps  from  the American Motor  Company  to be used in  a  test  program.  These jeeps  had  a  top speed  of  50 mph and  a range  of  40 miles  at  a  speed  of  40 mph.  Heating and  defrosting  were accomplished with a gas  heater  and the recharge time was 10 hours.

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