The first cost of a commercial vehicle is what engineers have been striving to keep down and simplicity aids low first cost. Electrical equipment will add a certain amount of weight and expense that must be paid by the purchaser and as a motor truck is purely a business proposition, its prime object being to carry goods at the lowest cost, the starter must save time and money. From the mechanical viewpoint it means some complications that the average truck driver does not comprehend. He is not an electrician and the best electrical equipment requires some electrical knowledge at times.
The question resolves itself into whether starters can save enough in fuel and time to offset the increased maintenance cost and pay an interest on the additional investment. It should also be remembered that this added equipment will render the engine more inaccessible for repairs, thus adding to their cost.
There are certain objections from a mechanical standpoint. The battery seems to be the weakest unit of the entire system, for this is subject to jolting and jarring, which shortens its life perceptibly even with the best of care. Spring mounting devices may overcome this difficulty, but a vast amount of education is necessary before the average truck driver will know how to take care of a storage battery. Even after this lesson has been taught, there still exists that human element which is responsible for the rapid destruction of commercial vehicles through improper care, handling and neglect.
Frequent starting and stopping is another factor which also must be given consideration, as the battery must be of ample capacity to provide for the number of starts made during a day's work. The generator must be of sufficient size to keep the battery properly charged and it must be also of the simplest type.
The difficulty resulting from the driver's lack of knowledge will probably diminish as use of the system becomes more universal.
Opinions of engineers differ as to the final solution of the problem. At present the question of electrical equipment seems to be up to the public, as the personal view of the purchaser appears to be the greatest factor. All makers supplying electric units as regular equipment will omit these if requested to do so. Makers, who do not regularly equip their vehicles with these units, will supply them, if the owner will pay the difference.
The battery seems to be the troublesome unit and the weakest point of the entire system. So far as the lighting is concerned the problem may be solved by sending current directly from the generator to the lamps, similar to the Ford car, but without its irregular lighting characteristics. The starter problem is more aggravated, but may be solved in some as yet unfound, but equally simple, way.
Fig. 283. Plan view of the Liberty Class B chassis, showing Hotchkiss drive and massive construction for heavy duty.
Fig. 284. Plan view of the United States Truck, showing floating power plant.
Fig. 286. Plan view and side elevation of the Packard 5-ton worm-drive chassis.
Fig. 287. Plan view of the White 5-ton chassis with double reduction rear axle.
Fig. 288. Muskegon 2-ton chassis.
Fig. 289. Kissel General Delivery Truck 3/4 to 1-ton capacity.
Fig. 290. Plan view of the Schacht worm-drive heavy duty chassis.
Fig. 291. Side View of the Fageol Heavy Duty Chassis.
Fig. 292. Plan View of the Federal 31-Ton Chassis.