Development of the uses of electricity having begun approximately three decades ago, about the time that the automobile made its appearance, the application of electricity to the needs of the automobile has enabled manufacturers to meet the demands of the public for its production. When electricity was applied to starting the internal-combustion engine and to lighting the automobile 15 years later, the popularity of the automobile greatly increased. Now, 5 per cent of the weight and nearly 10 per cent of the selling price of a five-passenger sedan represent electrical apparatus that adds to the comfort and convenience of the public.
Inasmuch as practically all transportation of passengers in cities and suburbs during this period has been carried on by electric street-railways, they have reached a high state of development and efficiency, and the experience of the companies with electric motors has established great confidence in their reliability and durability under all conditions of service. Realizing that new conditions have arisen, the public utility companies now look to the motorbus to act as a feeder to their lines and to relieve the pressure of traffic by utilizing boulevards and highways on which rails and trolley wires are not permitted.
Beginning with a description of the first application of the electric drive to motorbuses in this Country in an experimental single-deck vehicle operating on Fifth Avenue, New York City, in 1904, the author follows the course of its progress up to the present time. In 1908, 10 electric-drive motorbuses were placed in operation and continued over that route for 6 years, together with similar DeDion coaches equipped with mechanical drive. In 1909, 25 additional mechanically driven motorbuses were ordered because they were available, whereas those of the electric-drive type, although they had proved successful, were not yet in regular production.
Having been tried in motorbus service, the electric drive was then extended to railroad passenger cars; later, in connection with Diesel engines, it has been applied to ship propulsion, and, more recently to oil-burning locomotives. In England, out of more than 1300 electric-drive motorbuses built by the Tilling-Stevens organization, 460 were put into service in London by the London General Omnibus Co. and Thomas Tilling, Ltd.
A modification of the electric-drive system in which all the electrical energy passes directly through the driving-motors has been recently devised by Prof. Morton Arendt, of Columbia University, and includes a storage-battery. Illustrations and wiring diagrams of this and of numerous other systems are shown, including the Yellow Coach motorbuses in use by the Philadelphia Rural Transit Co., of Philadelphia, the Fageol Motor Co. motorbuses used by the Capitol District Transportation Co., of Albany, N. Y., and the single-deck White chassis operated by the Northern Ohio Traction & Light Co.; and space is given to a discussion of the advantages of the electric over the mechanical drive.


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