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Secrets for a 1,500-MPG Car Revealed

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MYRONB
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Gold
Re: Pending Review
MYRONB   8/24/2016 11:35:14 PM
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This is not a response to any comments, but I have some questions, please.   Can you tell us what the car's dimensions are, especially, all-up weight, frontal area, drag coefficient, tire sizes and speed ratings, type of drive train, gear ratios, top speed and optimum speed at best fuel mileage, frame/body materials?  What are the aerodynamic and physical handling capabilities (stability), or is this a strictly straight-line machine? 

Thank you,

Myron Boyajian

Tsugami
User Rank
Iron
Rigby5
Tsugami   8/24/2016 10:59:13 AM
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You must not have kids or live were theres snow. Alot of people depend on those SUVs. I'll agree that theres people driving around vehicles that they probably dont need but this is America. Its your choice if you want to drive a vehicle that gets 10mpg. You'll just be paying for fuel alot more. What would you suggest someone drives that has 3 kids and lives in South Dakota? I would love to see one of these little cars go through about a foot of snow.

Rigby5
User Rank
Gold
Re: Dreamland
Rigby5   8/23/2016 7:19:47 PM
I believe car makers use emotional advertising to associate cars with things like power and sex, so sell larger, powerful, expensive, and wasteful cars.  Commercials create our social consciousness, and no one is doing commercials about how harmful larger cars are.

SUVs meet no one's actually needs.  They have 4WD but don't need it, and don't have the frame to actually do off road.  The extra differential and gear box cut mileage by 30%.

When cars use that much extra gas, they product much more extra pollution, and they should be paying for that.  The extra they pay for leather seats, climate control, backup cameras, video screens, etc., does not cover the harm they are doing to us.

The VW bug may be the best car ever built.  I could do a clutch in a half hour, and rebuilt the engine in 6 hours.  I just did a valve job on a Ford Focus with a dropped valse seat, and it took 5 days.  There is not a single car on the road now that is nearly as good as an air cooled VW.  The 2 liter Porsche engine used by VW vans from 72 on were particularly indestructable.

Rigby5
User Rank
Gold
Re: Dreamland and hyperbole
Rigby5   8/23/2016 7:07:12 PM
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I love the Elio, and I think it is going to do great.  I think most people have been looking for a car like that for a very long time in this country.  I wanted to get one before, but they were only taking CA purchasers then,

stevejahr
User Rank
Silver
Re: Dreamland
stevejahr   8/23/2016 2:24:29 PM
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Rigby5 I am not suggesting the US car makers (a bit of a misnomer these days with cars and parts being made all over the world by everybody) are passively doing what the market wants, I am suggesting they are aggressively doing what the market wants.  They market to convince consumers their vehicles have more of what buyers want.

I happen to like smaller cars and have owned several over the years including a few 2 seaters.  I am different in that I am willing to accept some limitations in the capabilities to optimize the main use of the car.  Most consumers want a car that can do anything they ask at minimum cost.  This has changed many cars that started out as small and light into something bigger and very different.  Take the Honda Civic as an example: today's Civic in the smallest coupe format is a very different ride than the '75 Civic CVCC I once owned.

As to harm, we all pay and adding any tax is just a matter of social engineering to support a particular view of good and evil.  The family that needs to carry kids and gear chose that SUV, and already paid a premium price, because it really does best meet their needs.  You may argue they are making the world an unpleasant place but their view is stuffing all that into a small vehicle is a very unpleasant experience right here and now and everyday.  Perhaps we should stop social engineering and the incentives given to electric and hybrid cars and charge them for the impact of manufacturing and disposing of their batteries?

The VW bug?  An example of "built well"?  Hah!  There's a laugh.

skilet17
User Rank
Iron
Re: Dreamland and hyperbole
skilet17   8/23/2016 1:30:54 PM
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I am surprised that the Elio has not entered this discussion. It is a startup (that has about 60,000 reservations) and is about a year away from production. Their manufacturing facility is in Shreveport. While Elio is not claiming 1500 mpg, it is targeting 84 mpg at highway speeds and is a two-seater (tandem) with room for golf clubs. Elios' target market is those people that drive to work alone (I drive 60 mi/day alone), so it is a 3rd car, but at a target price of $7000. Check it out if you are looking for something practical – right now they are looking for about another 5000 people to reserve one (I went all-in for $1000 a couple of years ago when gas was $4) in order to qualify for the government program that loans money to job-producing, green efforts, even though they are only about a year away from production.

Rigby5
User Rank
Gold
Re: Dreamland and hyperbole
Rigby5   8/23/2016 2:04:21 AM
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No, making smaller cars is more difficult, and there are lower profit margins.  US car makers shape consumer trends with marketing and are not passively doing what the market wants.  The fact the rest of the world uses smaller cars than we do on average, is proof enough of that.

The current gasoline prices are low because of international politics with Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Syria.  But it will not last.

A lighter car would also save gas on hills, but a smaller car is automatically also more aerodynamic, all else being equal.

Consumers like big mission capable vehicles with lots of creature comforts when they are not made to pay for the harm they cause.  That is easily fixed with pollution taxes like Europe has.  Make the smaller communter cars well, and the customers will buy them.  They always have.  The VW bug from the 60s is still a classic example.  We just don't do them well, such as the Geo Metro.  It could easily have had a turbo diesel.

Rigby5
User Rank
Gold
Re: Impressive But Is It Remotely Practical?
Rigby5   8/23/2016 1:52:09 AM
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Vehicles in most climates would be much better off with a swamp cooler rather than AC.  They work fine in an RV for example, and could easily be adapted for small commuter cars.

Vents don't have to increase drag at all.  For example, a scoop under the car actually smooths airflow and increases traction.

In places with mass transit, no car is needed at all.  But large weekend vehicles can more easily be rented and save maintenance costs.  One commuter vehicle is often enough for any family, as the person working furthest away drops off the other worker first.

ttemple
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Dreamland and hyperbole
ttemple   8/22/2016 4:14:13 PM
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stevejahr,

Sensible comments.  There seems to be a belief out there that there is an infinite amount of energy in a gallon of gas, and it is by conspiracy that we don't have cars getting 500 miles per gallon.  The fact of the matter is the energy in a gallon of gas is very finite, and the amount of energy required to push a box through the air at highway speeds is significant and increases dramatically with speed.

Your point about vehicle weight seems to be lost on most people.

stevejahr
User Rank
Silver
Dreamland and hyperbole
stevejahr   8/22/2016 2:55:28 PM
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So many of the comments here are quite disconnected from reality...

The automotive business is a large competitive market with a lot of players.  There is no conspiracy nor limited thinking involved here.  They all try to meet what buyers want better than the next company.  For example if consumers would buy a single seat car some company would make and sell one.  We don't have one because there is so little demand as to make it infeasible to develop and deliver at break even let alone profit. (I would note there are some few niche single seat cars but these are not mainstream market at all)

And oil company conspiracy?  Give me a break.  Yes they do make a lot of profit (because we consumers use so much) but if there was a conspiracy gas would be a lot more expensive than it is.

For highway speeds the weight is much less of an issue than the aerodynamic drag.  So light weight is not a key except maybe in urban stop and go driving.  This is also why reducing speed can in some cases make a big difference.  I used to get 25 MPG doing 70 MPH in a V8 Mustang, but drop to 55 MPH and I could break 30 MPG.

The truth is that we have cars that are a compromise between requirements and constraints just like any other engineered product.  The constraints of govt regulations for safety and environental and requirements of the consumer.  It is probably easier to change the regulations than the consumer.  Consumers like big mission capable vehicles with lots of creature comforts and that is not going away anytime soon.

Finally, editors, why do we have to have a headline like this?  There was NO secret revealed here and no facts to backup the headline.  In fact when some of the parameters have been brought forth this becomes nothing more than a very limited science experiment.  Heck I can ride a bike at 15 MPH and get even better MPG.  I would expect better from media targeted at engineering folks: show us the data!

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