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Engineering Materials

How Did a Concept Car Shed 26 Pounds?

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Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Stuck in the paradigm of a "car"
Ann R. Thryft   11/20/2014 11:58:24 AM
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Al Klu, the last time I drove a compact-sized rental car--meaning, one a lot newer than my own--I couldn't believe how cramped both the driver's space and the passenger's space were. Much of this is a result of the redesigns of the car body that are direct effects of the new materials in the car body's structure, as well as changes in the engine compartment due to smaller engines, and powertrain changes as well. This looks like the future of urban vehicles, electric or not.



gomnessta
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Tesla has far to go...
gomnessta   11/13/2014 1:15:06 PM
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I'd just like to trumpet what many already know... Tesla has gone farther, faster, to produce real-world market-competent electric vehicles and supportve infrastructure than any company ever in existence. Though they likely are using the same "18650" consumer cells as does this "concept car" the Tesla battery pack design is the best-engineered example in production, bar none (this concept might even intend to utilize Tesla's own design - as that is now in the public domain - courtesy of Elon Musk & company). They continue down the long road of transforming the world's concept of personal transport at a rate that far exceeds any extant competition, and I remain convinced that no one knows more about how long that road will be than Tesla... c'mon world, keep giving it your best shot - Tesla's blazing the trail and, in part and by design, they're doing it so others will follow.

Al Klu
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Gold
Stuck in the paradigm of a "car"
Al Klu   11/13/2014 12:49:46 PM
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While I like that the car weight is down under 1000 lbs, it is done using ultra-expensive technologies.  This will make another $50,000 rich person's toy.   Hopefully someday those technologies will come down in price.  Also, this vehicle is made to look like all the other vehicles on the road.

A problem that I see immediately is that the driver's space is VERY cramped. 

This car is designed to be a commuter car, which for 99% of the population that drives means there is only ONE person in the vehicle.  Why do you even need the passenger seat (wasted space)? 

I submit that the passenger seat is not necessary as it takes up the horizontal space.  Or maybe the passenger seat should be behind the driver for the few times a passenger is carried. This would do a lot more to reduce the weight of the vehicle.   It would certainly allow the car to be narrower (less frontal area = less wind resistance/lower Cd)

Additionally, let's remove one of the wheels (in back) and save that weight as well.

I would like to see real Concept Cars that actually work on making a working vehicle that people would buy in the immediate future.  And that means inexpensive enough to be able to buy as a supplemental vehicle.

Ann R. Thryft
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Blogger
Re: right direction
Ann R. Thryft   11/13/2014 12:20:41 PM
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Dave, the LEXAN isn't any old PC, and it does have a special coating. As we described in the story about the Ford Concept Car, which uses the same material combo for its rear window, it's "a combination of LEXAN resin with the EXATEC E900 plasma coating. LEXAN combines light weight, high optical clarity, and impact resistance, while the EXATEC coating provides long-lasting, glass-like resistance to damage from scratches and UV light." There's an EXATEC website that tells a little about it, including the fact that the LEXAN/EATEC combo has been tested extensively. And if you follow the link for LEXAN we give, there's more info about its toughness, weatherability, and other characteristics.

handymansteve
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Iron
Re: right direction
handymansteve   11/13/2014 11:03:42 AM
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With a 50 mile range that takes care of 90 - 95% of your driving needs, buy the EV and for the 4 to 6 times a year you need to do a long distance trip, rent a gas car.

Jerry dycus
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Gold
Re: right direction
Jerry dycus   11/13/2014 10:45:40 AM
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Ann, isn't this just the lightweight composite vehicle I've been talking about we need?  It shows very well just how lightweight lowers costs of everything else like the battery pack 50% the size for the same or more range than a steel version.

And like the GM UltraLite, Toyota 1/x and many other better cars we won't ever get it seems.  just more overweight, overpriced and over teched EV's and gas cars for that matter.

Also interesting almost everything done was done by Solectria Sunrise in a 25% larger scale, 3x's the battery  in their 377 mile range record Sunrise EV 20 yrs ago built the same way, materials though with a modded GM EV-1 NIMH battery pack without GM knowing about it.  GM was not pleased.

 

Jerry dycus
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Gold
Re: right direction
Jerry dycus   11/13/2014 10:34:36 AM
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Hi Cadman and All,

   I believe Crysler made a concept rather nice car made from if 15 yrs ago or so IIRC.

Fulwave
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Iron
Conventional Speakers?
Fulwave   11/13/2014 9:10:37 AM
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I cannot believe with all of the thought going into this car to shed as much weight as possible that the designers still are using a conventional speaker system for audio. We at Bongiovi Acoustics could have shaved even more weight by using our speakerless car technology where we actually use transducers on the interior panels to use the interior as a speaker. Not only sheeding weight but also gaining the extra room and also lowering the noise floor by not having open holes in the interior.

Dave Palmer
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Platinum
Re: right direction
Dave Palmer   11/12/2014 6:50:04 PM
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@Cadman-LT: I'd be leary of a car with polycarbonate windows.  The impact strength is awesome; in fact, PC is used to make "bulletproof glass." However, PC is susceptible to environmental stress cracking.  Ammonia (glass cleaner), methanol (wiper fluid) and ethylene glycol (antifreeze, usually added to washer fluid in cold-weather states) are three chemicals that are particularly harmful for PC. 

Another problem with PC is that it degrades under ultraviolet light.  Apparently, these windows have some kind of coating that's intended to improve weatherability, and I'm sure the resin is heavily UV stabilized, but I'd be concerned about the integrity of these windows after several years in Arizona, for example.

PC is also highly notch-sensitive, meaning that if there are any scratches, they can easily initiate cracks.  Again, it sounds like some kind of scratch-resistant coating is being used.  However, if the plastic does get scratched, its integrity will be compromised.

Interestingly, from what I've heard, another objection to PC windows is that they're too hard to break; if you're trapped in the car, you won't be able to shatter the windows to get out. (Of course, if you keep a razor blade and a bottle of acetone handy, you'll be fine).

Exatec (originally a joint venture between Bayer MaterialScience and GE Plastics, now part of SABIC) has been trying to convince the auto industry to switch to polycarbonate windows for the past 15 years.  Other than race cars, it's been pretty slow going.

Cadman-LT
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Platinum
Re: right direction
Cadman-LT   11/12/2014 3:07:54 PM
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Even to go 50 miles, that's not a short drive. I live in the country kinda and I could go just about everywhere I need to go and them some. As I mentioned, just wish I could afford one. Yeah it might pay for itself one day. I guess I am waiting for what we all are. EV that replaces the GV.

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