The Perfect Automobile

In 1959 I was one of four undergraduate engineering students from different universities who converged on an apartment in Grand Prairie, TX for 3-month co-op jobs at Ling-Temco-Vought Aircraft. On one of our commutes from downtown Dallas back to GP, we fantasized about the perfect automobile.

It would be all electric, of course, with motors in the wheels to eliminate  a mechanical drive train. With electronic speed control, no transmission would be needed. In addition to overnight plug-in charging, the battery would be also be charged during dynamic braking (the motors become generators going downhill or during braking). Solar panels on horizontal surfaces, and, uniquely, a small diesel engine to turn an alternator, would provide additional charging capacity. (We chose diesel because it can be optimized to great fuel efficiency when run at a constant rpm.)

In 1959, electronic speed control, solar, and battery technologies were not anywhere near capable of sustaining this fantasy, but, as young engineers, we were confident that it was only a matter of time.

So, Chuck, John, and Charley,  the time has finally arrived: multiple versions of our hypothetical car are now actually on the road.  We did good.


About Jesse

My name is Jesse Blatt. My first name is actually “Ramon,” but I haven’t used that name, except for official purposes, since 1970. I have a high school diploma and a PhD…nothing in between. I’ll get around to explaining that in a post sometime. From time to time I will be posting true stories from my past, though not in any special order. I’ve been fortunate to have had a dozen or so different careers, most of them very satisfying, some fairly frustrating, and none that I wish had never happened. In my many former lives, I have been a mail clerk, radio and TV engineer, radio announcer, electronics engineer, college instructor, psychologist, research consultant, Federal employee, supervisor of research professionals, computer programmer, web designer, instructional designer, construction site handyman, and carpenter, not necessarily in that order.
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