Thursday, February 7, 2013

Electric Vehicles...and nostalgia?

Uh...that's an odd combination. Well, I just stumbled across this.

Manufacturers have been toying with electric engines for a long time. In fact, in the UK, electric engines have been in regular, routine use for decades. Since the 1950s, in fact, although you don't see them very much any more.

For me, though, there's a strong association between battery electric power and one of these. And a strong sense of nostalgia. I remember when, in my parents' neighborhood, the milk floats stopped coming. Everyone went to the supermarket for their milk.

Why were milk floats electric? The truth is that these vehicles, with a top speed of about 20 miles per hour, were perfect replacements for horses. They could go so slowly that the drivers would routinely hop out, grab somebody's delivery, hop back on...and never actually stop the float. Also, they were all but silent, so people would not be woken up by 5am deliveries.Of course, they were also so slow that people driving normal cars hated them.

But it's odd. I am dealing with an influx, thanks to the images of the Detroit car, of nostalgic memories. The milk came in crates full of glass bottles. The night before milk day, we would leave the old crate and the empty bottles out. In the morning, as if by magic, we'd have fresh milk...as much as was placed in our standing order. The bottles would be sanitized and reused as many times as possible before they chipped or cracked. (What. Recycling's a new thing too, right? Nope).

And for all the jokes about people having affairs with the milkman, I wonder if we haven't lost something.

Well, maybe not. Some people still get their milk delivered by float, as this page proves.