This Egyptian taxi driver converted his old Fiat 127 to electric
Although for many the Electric car It is a modern invention. The reality is that their introduction began more than a century ago. These very days are fulfilled 126 years since work began on Europe’s first electric taxi company and just a few weeks away from the world’s first initiative, the New York taxi company.
This is the story of a visionary, British engineer Walter Bersey, who created his first electric vehicle, a bus, at just 23 years old. Then a van came and then their most popular suggestion, a taxi.
This shows us that the technology of electric motors and especially batteries has been evolving for several years. Something that allowed us to make the technology sophisticated enough to bring it to the streets of London and offer a cheaper and quieter alternative to horse-drawn carts.
But the path was not easy. And this adventure, as usual, aroused the suspicion of those who had previously earned their living in the traditional transport industry with animals. Even the less developed technology was freed from problems and ridicule.
The company began operations End of August 1897 as journalists approached a warehouse in the London town of Lambeth for the inauguration of the London Electrical Cab Company.
The first model was a taxi powered by a small engine. 3 CVs attached to the rear axle, giving it a top speed of 16 km/h, and that was powered by a battery which consisted of 40 cells and 170 Ah which gives him an autonomy of approx 80 kilometers with every load. Enough to cover the daily shift.
A really complex section was perhaps the one we might think would be the simplest. How to charge the battery. The answer was not to register a contract and place a socket, as that was the case at that time There was no nationwide distribution network. To achieve this, a private electric company supplied electricity to the factory as needed to charge the batteries.
The taxi company has chosen a familiar format today. A platform on which the battery was installed, which could be removed from the vehicle to be replaced with a charged battery when necessary. Something similar to the current battery swap and that gave the whole thing a bit more flexibility.
The result was a simple and functional vehicle that became a significant source of income. According to records at the time, the London City Council levied a tax of 20 shillings a day (about £100 today) on a day when each unit could bill up to £6, about £630 today.
Nevertheless, he also encountered many difficulties. And despite the advancement of technology, the weight issue was too important. Was 1,500 kilos, half of it from the battery. On the one hand, this affected the speed at which the vehicle could move, especially on slopes where it could hardly keep up with the pace of a pedestrian, and on the other hand, there were also problems with braking.
The streets were also nothing like they are today, which meant that if the ground got wet you had to remember that it was London, which almost always means: The wheels sank in the soft areas.
Nevertheless, this model was able to achieve a more than respectable success rate and develop further within a short period of time a fleet of 75 units. A success that ended with the introduction of the internal combustion engine, which swept away an electric technology that could not maintain the required pace of development.