Given the project's emphasis on energy efficiency and recharging from a compact solar array, i would imagine they are suggesting that the Urbee can be recharged and operated by harnessing 1% of the sun's energy that would fall upon the roof of a small garage or carport.
Actually, my guess is that Urbee is trying to imply that the car can run on as little as 1% of the energy of a conventional car....a highly doubtful claim (but similar to claims from many of the other EV makers). They claim it can get up to 200 MPGe (my car gets infinite MPG when rolling down a hill with the engine off !).
While I like the <concept> of the Urbee for an URBAN vehicle, it has a few weaknesses.
1. Choosing a 3-wheeled configuration is a double-edged sword: it makes safety certifications much easier (because it is certified as a MOTORCYCLE, not a CAR). However, I don't think most people are going to be interested in buying a 3-wheeled car (probably a key issue in Aptera's demise...along with unrealistic expectations).
2. The body has a cute "pod-like" appearance. Clearly a big part of their focus was aesthetics. However, with its very narrow 3-tire footprint it will probably not handle very well. I guess this would not really be as big an issue if the car is never driven at freeway speeds.
3. I have yet to see real-world Cd Aero drag figures, actual detailed MPGe data, etc. My guess is that their efficiency claims are based more on hope than data.
In the Automotive X-Prize, there were 2 winners (of respective categories), and those two entries were both head-and-shoulders above the others. See below. While MANY of the entries were creative and great efforts, only a few had the sophistication that could actually be taken to successful production cars (in my opinion):
http://www.tw4xp.com/ This car is probably CLOSEST to the URBEE in concept as a very small Urban pod. I believe it actually has bicycle-style pedal assist too! Good to stay in-shape and save more energy...
I also agree it was a little confusing. The 100 mile range was the only logical interpretation of this statement.
On a different note however, I am impressed with the innovative thinking to use 3D printing for low-volume production runs. The application of this technology makes great sense for high-mix, low-volume products...especially considering the cost-savings in eliminating expensive tooling.
Yea that 1% has me confused too. 1% of what? the power of a nuclear plant? 1% of the power from a 200MW power station? 1% of the power that a motorcycles engine delivers? or 1% of the power that a Hummer H1 Delivers?
I think the intended message was very light, very efficient, and cheap personal transport. I doubt you can take your wife, dog, and two kids out to the beach with that thing?
Also don't forget that we sacrifice performance for efficiency. There is a lot of people in Florida that shut off their AC in the car close the windows and boil at 120F temperature that most cars have during the summer in the name of efficiency... You won't see me doing that though.
And yes water can boils even at freezing temperature it all depends on vapor pressure. I almost feel a funny comment comming to the "boils at 120F ..." that i said above.
Fifty-six-year-old Pasquale Russo has been doing metalwork for more than 30 years in a tiny southern Italy village. Many craftsmen like him brought with them fabrication skills when they came from the Old World to America.
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