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1912 Baker solar car


wws944
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I saw this post, and it rang a bell. I checked my files and found this newspaper article that I saved, back in 1963, about a solar powered Baker Electric. Seems like it's probably the same car. It's not much help regarding its current whereabouts, but adds a bit of history on an interesting vehicle. Hopefully, it can be blown up big enough to be read.

Bob

IMG_20210410_122919004_HDR.jpg

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Wow, 50 mile range and 60 mph? With batteries and solar panels today being much more efficient I'm surprised that this plan hasn't really come back. It's a pretty cool idea.

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27 minutes ago, AL1630 said:

Wow, 50 mile range and 60 mph? With batteries and solar panels today being much more efficient I'm surprised that this plan hasn't really come back. It's a pretty cool idea.

 

Hyperbole.

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Its been a couple of years but I got parked next to some brand new fancy sporty car that was covered with solar panels at a local show.

The guy wasn't around his car much so I never did really talk to him about it.

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16 hours ago, AL1630 said:

Wow, 50 mile range and 60 mph? With batteries and solar panels today being much more efficient I'm surprised that this plan hasn't really come back. It's a pretty cool idea.

Actually there are several but the level of charge they provide is just enough to squeeze out a just few more miles of range.  Big players in range gain are battery charge/discharge management, vehicle weight and aerodynamics.  Looking at the Baker car you can see there is plenty of room for better aerodynamics.

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1 hour ago, JACK M said:

Its been a couple of years but I got parked next to some brand new fancy sporty car that was covered with solar panels at a local show.

The guy wasn't around his car much so I never did really talk to him about it.

 

Maybe a Fisker Karma?  They were PHEVs that have a neat solar panel integrated into the roof.  It and a number of other cars that have been available for a while now.  The panels can basically tender the 12V battery and in most cases, usefully, run the HVAC fan when the car is parked.  Helps keep the interior cooler.

 

Charging the traction battery pack in a hybrid or full EV is another matter.  Hyundai/Kia are starting to put 200W of solar on some of their hybrid cars now.  When parked outside in the sun, e.g. while at work, it can ideally give a couple of free miles of driving per day.  Not really a big deal.  But over, say, a 15 year life span of a car, that can translate into as much as 10-15,000 miles of free driving - depending on where one lives.

 

There are some other EVs on the horizon that may offer more panel space and/or higher efficiency that make solar even more practical.  Thinking Aptera, Lightspeed (Dutch), Sono (Germany), etc.  Elon even said they are looking into it as an option on the Cybertruck.

 

And thank you @Bob Barrett and @alsancle for posting the interesting news clippings!

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32 minutes ago, TerryB said:

Actually there are several but the level of charge they provide is just enough to squeeze out a just few more miles of range.  Big players in range gain are battery charge/discharge management, vehicle weight and aerodynamics.  Looking at the Baker car you can see there is plenty of room for better aerodynamics.

 

With a 20 MPH top speed, aero probably isn't a big factor in a Baker.  As most of us probably know, a lot of the early electrics were sold to women in big cities - who often wore Big Hats.  The motors and their controllers weren't very efficient back then compared with what is being done in modern times.

 

Actually I do have a question about the controllers in antique electrics.  But at the risk of drifting my own thread, perhaps I'll post it in the "Electric Cars (Milburn, Baker, etc.)" forum.  Lot less traffic in there tho...

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Restorer32 has done a couple of electric cars in his shop.  The controllers were quite basic from what I saw in the pics he had posted.  No need for WiFi updates in the garage.  Some of the early electrics used leather for the fenders to reduce weight.

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  • 3 months later...
On 4/11/2021 at 4:04 PM, TerryB said:

Restorer32 has done a couple of electric cars in his shop.  The controllers were quite basic from what I saw in the pics he had posted.  No need for WiFi updates in the garage.  Some of the early electrics used leather for the fenders to reduce weight.

Restoring a Milburn Electric right now.  Hoping to show it this year at Hershey.  On this car the controller contacts are in good shape but on others we have had to fabricate new contacts from electrical grade copper as original. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)
On 7/14/2021 at 12:50 PM, 46 woodie said:

The early speed controllers were simply a series of contacts. Each progressive contact gave the motor more voltage/speed. All the new controllers are electronic.

 

Now that I've retired from a Real Job and the pandemic is somewhat behind us, I've recently started volunteering at a local history museum that includes a trolley barn and several antique trolleys.  I've almost completed my 'motorman' training!  We give free rides on weekends.  The trolleys run off a 600V DC overhead power line.

 

It has been interesting to learn how the antique trolley controllers work.  Handle on top for the motorman which is connected to a vertical cam with electrical contacts.  As one moves the handle from 'point' to 'point', the motor windings and resistor banks are selected in various series and parallel configurations.  A 'no-no' is to keep power on any of the intermediate points that involve the resistor banks - as they can heat up in just a few seconds to the point where they can become a fire danger to the wooden car body.  (This isn't a problem at higher speed points when only the motor windings are in the circuit.)  So the game is to step through the points until the desired speed is achieved, then shut the power off and coast until you need to add some power again.

 

The controllers in antique electric cars seems to be a miniaturized version of those used in the trolleys of the day.  Though I've not heard if there is a similar problem with staying on one of the intermediate 'points' like there is with the trolleys.  The trolley barn also has a fully operational 1916 Detroit Electric on display.  I'm hoping that one day I'll get a chance to drive it around the park.  There is also a same era Metz on display next to the Detroit Electric, and a few other antiques behind the scenes.

Edited by wws944 (see edit history)
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Interesting. I have ridden in a number of vintage electric trolleys years ago, just as hobby and historic interest. With some engineering background, I had noticed the motorman switching up and down more than I would have expected from a simple driving requirement. Now, with your bit of experience shared, I know why. Thank you for sharing that!

 

Years ago, I read a wonderful article in a hobby magazine about Andrew L Riker, who around 1900 was considered one of the world's top engineers for electric automobiles. A considerable portion of the article covered his involvement in early automobile racing. About 1900 (as I recall, it could have been 1901?), A L Riker built a special electric racing car, and entered into one of the earliest sanctioned automobile races in this country. It was sanctioned by one of the early iterations of what soon after became the AAA. The race was held in New York, on Long Island if I recall correctly. Being such an early race, it involved all three of the major motive powers, gasoline, steam, and electric. The race was an early effort to showcase and prove which of the motive powers was best suited for this newfangled automobile thing. And Andrew L Riker won! His special built electric beat all the gasoline (still very crude at that time), and all the steam (which had been favored to win) automobiles that day.

One of the interesting things in that article, was that the electric controller, which had been designed and special built for the extra batteries and power, of the racing car, began to fail about half way through the race. Riker wanted to show all that the electric car was the way of the future. So he started the race pushing his car as fast and as hard as he could. In the first half of the race, he got so far ahead of everyone else, that it looked like he was a 'shoe-in'! Then some of the contacts began burning out. With losing the most desirable speed ranges, he had to push on in other combinations of contacts. This also taxed his batteries, and they became weaker than he had envisioned. Near the end, he pushed on, with failing batteries and only a couple controller options still working. Running only about a quarter of the speed he had started out with, and the various both gasoline and steam cars quickly gaining ground, he crossed the finish line! Both victorious, and slightly humbled.

 

Interesting also to note, that A L Riker continued to engineer, improve, and manufacture electric automobiles. For just a few more years. A L Riker was no fool. He saw the great strides made in gasoline engine designs. And one of the strongest supporters of electric automobiles, in 1904 switched sides. He became one of the chief engineers for Locomobile, in their bid to drop steam, to build the best gasoline automobiles in the world.

 

I am curious wws944, where you are located, and what museum you are working with. Maybe it is one I am familiar with? Or maybe not.

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4 hours ago, wayne sheldon said:

...

I am curious wws944, where you are located, and what museum you are working with. Maybe it is one I am familiar with? Or maybe not.

 

History San Jose at Kelley Park.  You might also be thinking of the Western Railway Museum on CA highway 12 near Fairfield.  A couple of the guys in San Jose volunteer there as well.  I've driven past the WRM a number of times, but have yet to stop in.  Need to.

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I am not buying the “60 mph” claim on a 1912 electric.  20-25 mph would be more like it.

 

I am currently completing the restoration of a 1918/32 Detroit Electric.  Will be showing it at Hilton Head this November.

 

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1 hour ago, wws944 said:

History San Jose at Kelley Park.

 

I thought it would be Kelly Park! I haven't been there in way too many years. Never been to the 'History in the Park' Meet the Santa Clara Valley Model T Ford Club puts on there in September (almost) every year. Really sad. Most years I keep up my membership in the SCVMTFC (currently lapsed), and several good friends volunteer at the museum there. I knew about the Metz, and knew its owner fifty years ago! I also knew the man that owned the Osen & Hunt automobile manufactured in San Jose well over a century ago. (Well, I didn't know him over a century ago?!)

Maybe my situation can improve before too much longer, and I can get down there again.

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21 minutes ago, 1937hd45 said:

How much of my back yard needs to be covered in solar panels to run the coffee maker and toaster? Will the cars stored under them be negatively effected? 

 

I know your post was in jest.  But you might be surprised.  A couple of relatively small panels combined with a modest Lithium battery would handle your perking and toasting sessions.  Something like a Jackery 1000 Solar Generator (https://www.jackery.com/products/jackery-explorer-1000-2-x-solarsaga-100w-solar-generator) would probably do the job.

 

On a recent camping trip, one of the guys brought along two Jackery 1000s and solar panels.  They powered all our needs over the weekend.  This included powering an amateur radio station and computers.  (ARRL Field Day.)

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1 hour ago, wws944 said:

 

I know your post was in jest.  But you might be surprised.  A couple of relatively small panels combined with a modest Lithium battery would handle your perking and toasting sessions.  Something like a Jackery 1000 Solar Generator (https://www.jackery.com/products/jackery-explorer-1000-2-x-solarsaga-100w-solar-generator) would probably do the job.

 

On a recent camping trip, one of the guys brought along two Jackery 1000s and solar panels.  They powered all our needs over the weekend.  This included powering an amateur radio station and computers.  (ARRL Field Day.)

How many monthly Tesla payments cover the cost? 

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  • 1 month later...
On 7/24/2021 at 7:58 PM, wayne sheldon said:

 

I thought it would be Kelly Park! I haven't been there in way too many years. Never been to the 'History in the Park' Meet the Santa Clara Valley Model T Ford Club puts on there in September (almost) every year. Really sad. Most years I keep up my membership in the SCVMTFC (currently lapsed), and several good friends volunteer at the museum there. I knew about the Metz, and knew its owner fifty years ago! I also knew the man that owned the Osen & Hunt automobile manufactured in San Jose well over a century ago. (Well, I didn't know him over a century ago?!)

Maybe my situation can improve before too much longer, and I can get down there again.

 

If anyone is interested, the annual Antique Autos in History Park (San Jose CA) is coming up on September 19th.  Details at:

  https://historysanjose.org/programs-events/

 

The Trolley Barn will be open, but unfortunately we won't be doing trolley rides through the park.  The high voltage rectifier has been on the fritz lately - so we can't energize the overhead power line.  It won't be fixed until at least late September.

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