Similar items over time

Electric Van - Lucas, Bedford CFE, 1980 Object Reg. No: ST 035436

Lucas Bedford electric van donated to the Museum by Lucas Industries Australia in 1984.The Museum's van is one of two such electric vans used during the 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games marathon. The other Lucas van is held by the Queensland Energy Museum.

The conversion of a petrol-engined Bedford van to electric power was first performed by Lucas Chloride EV Systems Limited in the UK in the late 1960s when a Bedford CA van was converted to electric power. In 1973-74 conversion of Bedford CF vans began and around 20 were built to be trialled by fleet operators in the UK. Development was apparently spurred by the oil crisis in the Middle East. About 200 such CFE vans were built and some were exported to the USA under the General Motors 'Griffon' brandname. Two of these modified UK-built Bedford CFE vans arrived in Australia in July 1981. Two earlier examples of this type of van had been imported previously in 1979-1980 for evaluation purposes. The two newer vans were sponsored by the Australian Lead Industry Development Association (ALDA) and were intended to be made available to a variety of government and private operators to carry out trials and therefore promote the Lucas Bedford CFE Van in real use conditions. The trial was based in Victoria where both vans were registered and the program was launched at Albert Park Lake in September 1981 after they had been tested, sign writing applied and side windows fitted.

The two ALDA sponsored vans were used as lead and follow-up vehicles for the marathon event during the 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games. The van had a range of 100 km, a top speed of 80 kph and a payload of 1000 kg. They were also used as official timing vehicles for the 1983 'City to Surf' marathon in Sydney and the 'Big M Melbourne Marathon'.

The Lucas Bedford Electric Van power system consists of a transversely mounted Lucas CAV 40kW electric motor driving the rear wheels via a two-stage reduction unit with regenerative braking. A 216 Volt battery pack is fitted under the floor of the cargo area consisting of 36 x 6 volt batteries. During the test program the vans were lent to various business and government operators for three to five weeks. The Museum's van was registered AUY585 and completed 5080 kilometres during the trial period which ended in October 1983. This included a month spent with Telecom as a line service vehicle in the Dandenong Ranges near Melbourne. It was driven by linesman Mr Mario Dietrantonio who recorded the van's performance for later evaluation by Lucas Industries. Like most earlier lead acid battery powered vehicles, the van was found to be heavy with a limited range. An electric version of the Bedford CF van was also built in Adelaide by Flinders University as part of their electric vehicle project in the 1970s.
Acquisition Information:
Donation from Lucas Industries Australia Ltd Battery Division, 1984
Discipline: Technology
Dimensions: 1950 mm (Height), 1950 mm (Width), 4310 mm (Length)
Weight: 3500 kg (Weight)
Dimension Comment: Weight includes 1000 kg battery pack.

More information

Tagged with: electric vans, electric vehicles, commonwealth games brisbane 1982, lead acid batteries
Themes this item is part of: Engineering Collection, Transport Collection
Primary Classification: ROAD TRANSPORT
Secondary Classification: Electric Vehicles
Tertiary Classification: electric vans
Model Name/Number: CF
Manufacturer: Lucas Electric, England, Great Britain, 1981
User: Lucas Industries Australia Ltd Battery Division, Australia, 1981-1984

Add your comment

  • Museum Victoria does not provide valuations, for more information please visit the valuation infosheet
  • Please note that Museum Victoria staff will not normally respond to comments posted on our website.


This item is part of the following themes:

Similar items

Yes No