How can you make those microcars more efficient, and dependable? Make them electric! Below are links to videos of my daily commuter car, Little Go Green, and the wife's future daily commuter, Go Green 2.
Little Go Green is a 1962 Austin Healey "Bugeye" Sprite and Go Green 2 is a 1967 Austin Mini Countryman. Not only are these cars more efficient and dependable as EVs, they way out perform the originals.
Have had 20+ Volkswagen Beetles, 3 Microbus', 2 Citroen 2CV (ugh!), 1 Citroen DS19 (wow!), 1 E-Type Jag, 1 Jag XJ-6 (awesome - MTBF was typically less than an oil change!), 1 Bugeye Sprite (oops), some Volvos and Mercedes (dull but comfortable). Never had a significant accident in any one of these. I had more fun with the small super-high-mileage cars than any of the more robust higher performing cars. It takes a true "driver" to extract performance from microcars with such unique personalities. You knew beyond any doubt that your future was in your hands. If you crashed, it was almost always your fault and suing someone else for your own stupidity seemed the opposite of the value system I was raised with. Modern 'super-high-mileage-cars with direct fuel injection and a careful driver can realistically expect 50+ MPG but they typically have the personality of an uncomfortable chair. Bring back the micro-cars and at least give us a choice!
I had a 500cc rear engined 2 cylinder FIAT back in Scotland. It took some time to get up to 62mph through the 4 speed nonsychromesh gearbox, but once there regardless of the twists and turns on the lochside (lake) roadways you could cruise along.
One day my rear view mirror filled up with a big red Jaguar sportcar sitting almost on my bumper. I noticed that the registration plate showed that he was a stranger to the area, and just then the Big Bend was right ahead. This was right on the edge of the loch and almost came back on itself. Normally I would have slowed down to about 50 to negotiate this, but with the big car behind me almost pushing me along, I decided to go through at 62 mph.My tires started smoking; the Jaguar was right on my tail, then suddenly the camber changed, my FIAT's tires screeched as I hauled it tight into the turn....and the Jaguar disappeared! A glance in my side mirror showed a cloud of dust as the Jaguar screeched down the escape road to the edge of the water, meanwhile the FIAT exited the bend and the smell of burning rubber followed us for a bit until the straight stretch. Still travelling at 62mph we ambled down this long straight stretch (a rarity in Scotland!) A red speck in my rear view mirror rapidly grew to be the red Jaguar which roared past me...the driver shaking his fist at me!
No wonder Abarth takes these tiny cars, and breathes on them...they sit on the roads like ducks and go like scalded cats with the bigger engines!
Wow; Never even heard of most of these vehicles. Slide 2 ('58 Fiat) looked very much like the VW Micro-bus, being much more familiar. ,,,,And that BMW that opens like a refrigerator! Looks like my fellow moderators have me at a disadvantage, recalling old High School stories about this exact car – whereas I Never even heard of it ! But my H.S did have many VW bugs & Beetles' ---- maybe they just lasted longer?
We'll have to go to small cars for most transport as it's going to be too expensive to do otherwise as fuels, metals and material costs rise from 3 billion new customers in China, India and Indonesia, etc. Facts are in 20-25 yrs oil will be too expensive to burn as will other fuels. In 5 yrs gasoline will be at least $10/gal in todays $.
I presently drive smaller vehicles than some of these examples. My Harley size EV trike using fork lift EV drive tech and composite body/chassis could go 100 miles and 80 mph, not at the same time unless a 5kw generator was onboard, that could be mass produced for $12k if not $10k.
Same for the 2 front, 1 rear wheel all composite EV sportwagon that is easily as strong as any metal car the same size. The problem with these is there is not much money in them after the sale as they don't rust and the rest has few parts that need replacement.
I've owned a TR3, many bugs/Vans. The TR3 was very eff with 45-50mpg on 55mph trips and gas was $.26/gal, actually went down to $.16/gal in the 60's gas wars between stations. The Bugs, not so much as they were fuel cooled engines, run rich or they died you learned early on.
As far as safety that is up to the designer. Size has little to do with safety. As an example the Japanese Kei cars are 660cc, 1200lb or so 4 steaers mostly and they are the safest catagory there. Here SUV's are less safe than subcompact cars as another example.
It's in safety that composites really shines along with good design can make these micro cars eff, cost effective and safe.
I, too had a 66 Austin Healy Sprite with a 1100cc engine. It regularly got 35mpg even with my wild driving. (to the limits of adhesion) I too would sign a safety waiver because I believe in self responsibility. My first car that I could call my own, was a 1931 Model A Ford sedan. I resurrected it from my uncle's back yard and drove it daily to work one summer 10 miles each way. It had four slick tires, no spare, no front wheel brakes. The rear brakes were not capble of sliding wheels even standing on the pedal. It got 15 mpg, 50 miles per quart of oil, and the radiator required daily filling. No windshield wiper. I was caught in the rain one night and foretunately there were few cars on the road. I could only see the oncoming headlights and steered to the right, hoping I was still on the road. There were no inspections nor insurance requirements then. Unfortunately, I had to abandon it when I returned to college, I couldn't afford a car. I drove MG Midgets for about 20 years as my primary transportation. Fortunatly I could do all the maintenance required.
The Iso Isetta, the Italian progenitor of the much-loved BMW Isetta (it saved BMW from bankruptcy in the mid-'50s when its large cars weren't selling) was an inspired simple design. Note that all of the BMW versions (and I think all other licensed versions too) had sunroofs, to provide alternate means of egress in the case of a damaged or blocked door.
I have a 1960 Goggomobil, one of the most-produced microcars (over 260,000), a coupe' version with the "big engine" option -- a 400 cc twin, 2-cycle mill with 20 HP. It is great fun to drive, and will eventually get to almost 60 mph, but I harbor no illusions about its practicality on modern highways, or the safety of its light (1000 pounds) construction. It is acceptably competitive on most secondary roads though, and has proved quite reliable, and a great source of fun.
how can one know other than in a visceral or statistical sense what is safe ! especially in such a cooperative activity as piloting a motorcar. i'm reminded of a video i once watched of a person who'd strapped a rocket motor onto a boaty car out of the 60's in an attempt to set a speed record. (ball of flame)isnt that encapsulated in one person's folly, a clear and obvious display of the world industrial system's headlong quest for prosperity, success, now and in the future ?
get out those envelope backs and pencils. figure out whatever you're figuring times 7 to 9 billion: smart cars, micro cars, electric cars. get 'em out on the freeways, drive 'em fast and hard. from suburbs, malls , and office parks.
am i wrong here ? there really is clean and safe energy ?
"The Fiat and Isetta were in the shop for repair weekly if not more often."
I completely disagree with that statement!
Having owned and driven some of these cars, I can say that requiring standard maintenance for cars of the time. Personally, I have covered more than 100,000 kilometers with my FIAT 600 MULTIPLA performing only routine maintenance. Change engine oil every 5000 km, check brakes every 10000 km, replacing the spark plugs every 25,000 km. As extraordinary maintenance I had to perform only the replacement of a joint to 70000 km. Even my other friends, who had similar cars, have had the same maintenance intervals,
New versions of BASF's Ecovio line are both compostable and designed for either injection molding or thermoforming. These combinations are becoming more common for the single-use bioplastics used in food service and food packaging applications, but are still not widely available.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.