Today in Motorcycle History

Swan Electric Tricycles

Swan Electric Traction Co of London

  • Swan was an electric tricycle produced by them in 1909.
  • The design for the drive system appeared as a patent in 1908, under the name of C. Lassen. The machine had a single front wheel with the motor mounted above it, with the drive by shaft to bevels. The wheel was supported by semi-elliptic springs attached to a strengthened mudguard and steering was by tiller. The bodywork was constructed with a seat to take two passengers, under the seat was stored the batteries. There was also the option of a small van body. As the maximum speed was around 15mph/24kmh, it would have been intended for town use.

The Swan Electric Runabout, 1909

The accumulators are stored under the passenger's seat.

The Swan Electric Runabout.

WHEN the first electric tricycle was illustrated in The Motor Cycle last October quite a number of enquiries were received for the agent's address, proving that a runabout of this type finds favour with a large section of our readers. The electric tricycle which is the subject of the accompanying illustrations has recently been put on the British market by the Swan Electric Traction Co., of 16, Percy Street, Tottenham Court Road, W.

The car has been known in Germany as the Berliner or Harborn electric runabout; the British company will be known as the Swan Electric Traction Company , and the machines as the Swan runabouts.

The car is a three-wheeler, the single front wheel being both driven and steered, while the back wheels are merely trailers. Behind the two-seated body is a large box or boot containing the battery of accumulators, which are designed to give a range of about fifty miles of ordinary roads. The battery consists of twenty cells, having a capacity of 120 ampere hours. The current from the battery is taken to an electric motor, which is set with its armature shaft nearly vertical above the front wheel, which it drives through a reducing spur gear and a cardan-shaft with a final drive through bevel gear to the front axle.

Swan Electric Runabout, 1909. Diagram

Section of the motor and driving mechanism.

The controller is placed to the right of the driver, the necessary movements being made by a side lever. Only one speed forward and reverse is given, but the controller has four steps, so that the resistance is cut out gradually when starting. The connections to the motor and the switch are in, the hollow sloping dashboard, which is an integral part the plate steel frame.

The arrangement of the electromotor C and the telescopic universally jointed spindle E will be understood from the line illustration. The mudguard is strongly built structure, which takes the place of front fork, and its lower ends are connected by spring steel bars G, which allow a certain amount freedom, but not sufficient to affect the meshing of the gears F from the motor. The motor itself is of the four-pole type, with plain series windings, and runs at about 1,700 r.p.m. The commutator is placed above it, and is accessible for examination. In the machine brought for our inspection the commutator appeared clean, and showed no signs of sparking.

The Swan Electric Tricycle, 1909

The electromotor over the front wheel of the tricycle. The drive is by a telescopic propeller shaft.

The vehicles are not intended for general touring work, but rather as town runabouts, and, in view of this, their maximum speed is not much over fifteen miles per hour, though they can be given a speed somewhat in excess of this for short periods when required. The car is steered by tiller, and the control consists entirely of the side lever and a brake pedal, which also automatically cuts off the current.

The back portion of the frame is mounted on quarter elliptical springs, and the machine runs quietly, and starts without the semblance of a ... simply gliding gently from a standstill. By a slight modification in the design of frame a van body can be fitted for business purposes.

N.B. A few words were missing from the original scan from which this page was created.

The Motor Cycle August 25th, 1909. Page 638

Sources: Graces Guide, The Motor Cycle.

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