Monday, November 23, 2015

A 1939 Electric Delivery Vehicle

1. Harrod’s Electric Vehicle No. 952 (side view)
This is a local 'carrying and delivering’ vehicle
Built in 1939 it was one of a fleet of 60 electric vehicles 

2. Harrod’s Electric Vehicle No. 952 (EYT 382)  
The restored vehicle is still being used: 
Covent Garden, London (November 2015) 
3. The story of Harrod’s inter-war electric vehicles
Display at Covent Garden, London (November 2015) 
4. Jonathan, a modern day chauffeur of E.V. 952
(Many original drivers were disabled ex-servicemen)
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 For additional information click on 'Comments' below.
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1 Comments:

Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information

Harrod's of Knightsbridge, the famous London department store first imported electic vehicles from the United States shortly after the end of the First World War, in 1919. These early vehicles were made by Walker's and had solid tyres.

Subsequently, between 1936 and 1939 the store built up its own fleet of 60 electric vehicles, most of which continued to be used throughout the war and in fact well into the 1960s. Of the original 60, about 4 are still in existence. Vehicle No. 952 is still owned and maintained by the store and periodically used for the store's promotional activities. For example, in November 2015 this 1939 Electric Delivery Vehicle was driven to London's Covent Garden [Photographs No. 1 and No. 2, above].

The history of the electric vehicles of Harrod's of Knightsbridge is used to show the innovative history of the store in using electric vehicles [Photograph No. 3]. This particular vehicle, ordered in 1939, has a top speed of about 19 m.p.h. when fully laden, or 25 m.p.h. without a load. It is charged overnight with two large batteries behind the front wheels. The electric charge would allow about four hours driving of a fully laden vehicle.

Jonathan, one of the modern day chauffeurs (drivers) of this vehicle [Photograph No. 4] said that many of the original drivers of the fleet of electric vehicles were disabled ex-servicemen, including many who had lost at least one leg during their military service. The vehicles were adapted and in some respects driving them was similar to operating an electric tram.

The vehicle seen in the photograph was one of the last to be commissioned. With the outbreak of the Second World War, production was switched to vehicles more directly relevant to the war effort. Other surviving models of the Harrod's electric delivery vehicles are found in the National Motor Museum at Beualieu and the Science Museum at Wroughton.
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Monday, 23 November, 2015  

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