Car That Was a Non-Starter; ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS

Daily Mail (London), January 13, 2016 | Go to article overview

Car That Was a Non-Starter; ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS


Byline: Compiled by Charles Legge

QUESTION

What is the story of the early electric car, the AMC Amitron?

THE AMC Amitron was developed after the American Congress passed the 1966 Electric Vehicle Development Act and also the Clean Air Act 1963 amendment.

American Motors and Gulton Industries in New Jersey were to develop two types of batteries -- lithium-nickel-fluoride and nickel-cadmium -- to overcome the high power demands of acceleration and braking.

The vehicle would have had slow power release from the lithium, which should be needed instantaneously, so the ni-cad batteries were added for acceleration power peaks, to be charged by the lithium battery during cruise so it could power the motor. The whole unit weighed 91kg.

Regenerative brakes were used to give the feeling of normal braking. A prototype 7ft-long car was developed in December 1967. It seated three and had a range on a single charge of 150 miles at 50mph.

Initial marketing suggested it would be well-received by commuters and city users, but it wasn't developed further due to the high cost of its batteries and the lack of a reliable power supply.

It was several more years before further research on batteries in the U.S. produced significant results, though an experimental range of cars and vans renamed Electron appeared in 1977. It failed when the power train was not developed.

David Shelton, Worthing, W. Sussex.

QUESTION Cricketers Andrew Strauss and Dean Elgar share surnames with classical composers. Is it possible to make a team of composers?

YOU can rustle up a complete Test team of classical names, though the bowling quality is questionable. It would be: Strauss, Hayden, Elgar, Williams, Greig, Parry, Walton, Arnold, Barber, Foster and Wagner.

Opener Andrew Strauss (born 1977), who played 100 tests for England averaging 40.91, would make an excellent captain. There was a dynasty of musical Strausses to choose from, but the most famous was Johann Strauss II (1825-99), 'the Waltz King' known for the Blue Danube.

Strauss could open with Matthew Hayden (1971), a brutally effective batsman who played 103 matches for Australia, averaging 50.73. He shares a name with Austrian composer (Franz) Joseph Haydn (1732-1809). Dean Elgar (born 1987) is a gritty early-order South African batsman, with 23 matches at 38.90. Edward Elgar (1857-1934) was the quintessential English composer, known for his Enigma Variations and the Pomp and Circumstance Marches.

Basil 'Shotgun' Williams (1949-2015) played just seven matches for the West Indies in the late-Seventies, averaging a decent 39.08, but was dropped when a plethora of West Indian greats returned from the Kerry Packer tour.

One of Britain's greatest composers was Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958, Fantasia On A Theme by Thomas Tallis and The Lark Ascending) and there's also American film composer John Williams (born 1932), who wrote music for Star Wars, Jaws, E.T. and Indiana Jones.

A great all-rounder would be Tony Greig (1946-2012), a 6ft 6in giant who played 58 matches for England, averaging 40.43 with the bat while facing awesome fast bowling. He took 141 wickets for an average of 32.20. Allowing for the switched vowels, his counterpart would be Norwegian Edvard Grieg (1843-1907), composer of Peer Gynt.

All-rounder Derick Parry (born 1954) played 12 matches for the West Indies, averaging 22.41 with the bat. He took 23 wickets at 40.69, but he could provide a spin option. English composer Hubert Parry (1848-1918) is particularly apt as he wrote Jerusalem, the music that introduces the England cricket team.

West Indian wicketkeeper Chadwick Walton (born 1985) played twice for his country following a strike by senior players. …

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