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2012-12-20 11:01

WHO WILL WIN?: An electric vehicle or a horse-drawn carriage? You would assume that the car is more effective however it might be just as bothersome as the horse option.

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LONDON, England - More than 100 years ago the most common means of transport was by horse and carriage – a way of travel that we regard today as charming but impractical.

Oh yeah?

Today, battery cars are promoted as a cutting edge means of getting from A to B so British magazine Autocar investigated just how far these high-tech vehicles have really brought us in the passing of a century.

The idea of pitching these two seemingly dissimilar modes of transport together was the idea of Autocar contributor Colin Goodwin when he learned that a horse and carriage used to cover the 350km trip to Liverpool in 24 hours in the 1880s. With stops for charging, an electric car with a 120km range would take almost as long today.


Goodwin said: “100 years ago the rich travelled long distances in horse-drawn stagecoaches – and they either had to take long breaks to recharge their horses or swop to fresh new ones. That rang a bell, because owners of electric cars would have to do the same today. As a result, I decided to investigate just how similar the two modes of transport are.”

Goodwin concluded there were a number of similarities between the horse power of Lambert and Butler – the two trusty steeds used for the test – and the Nissan Leaf, Britain’s best-selling battery car.

Each is refuelled at the front end (oats and carrots versus a cable from the bonnet to a domestic socket or special charging point), each requires one to wear a big coat to keep warm on your journey (an electric car has a greater range without the heater on and you have to sit outside the horse carriage), and both require meticulous planning to "top up" with "fuel" along the route.

Colin Goodwin concluded, however, that the lack of progress between the 1800's and today shouldn’t be regarded as a bad thing.

“Driving long distances in an electric car could put the adventure and romance back into travel – things that the motorway, the modern car and even the airliner have taken away," he said.

"A trip to Cornwall, stopping off to recharge at inns while chatting up serving wenches and downing pies and mash... perhaps there is something in that.”

Read more on:    horse  |  car

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