Of steam engines and electric cars

Where can we obtain details on a steam engine which is small enough to work in a house in conjunction with solar energy perhaps? Do you have any suggestions on books, individuals to contact, etc. Also, who is building electric cars that can go 50 miles an hour for 50 to 100 miles? What are the prices? Ann Hattes Danvers, Mass.

I've checked with a research company in the Boston area which has done considerable work in steam engines over the years, including work under contract for a major US carmaker.

Get in touch with the Skinner Engine Company, 337 West 12th Street, Erie, Pa. 16512. If this company cannot supply your need, it can more than likely tell you whether or not your plans are sound as well as steer you in the right direction for the hardware you may need.

* As for a electric car that can go 50 miles an hour for 50 to 100 miles, I'd write to the Electric Vehicle Council, 111 19th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036. Ask for a free copy of the Electric Vehicle Mini-Guide which lists the electric vehicles now on the market.

Gulf and Western not long ago announced a new energy-storage system which, the company says, brings the era of the electric car much closer. A few thousands electric vehicles are now on the road; but within the next 15 to 20 years, the figure could be in the hundreds of thousands if not millions.

Mighty General Motors also tells of what it calls a major breakthrough in battery technology, thus providing the needed range to an electric car which the buyer will probably demand.

There are conversion kits on the market shelf, of course, which can be used with such basic cars as the old Volkswagen beetle sedan. Bradley Automotive, 14414 21st Avenue North, Plymouth, Minn. 55441 offers such a kit. The phone number of the company is (612) 475-2990. There are other similar kits as well.

As to cost, an electric car can be expected to cost more than a conventional car simply because of the very low volume of output. As the demand and production go up, the prices will drop.

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