Yes, as they say, Chuck, necessity is the mother of invention. Although perhaps maybe instead of inventing folding cars, people should just walk, bike or use public transportation more! But they would certainly come in handy in big cities where there is limited parking space...and perhaps they also could be more fuel efficient and economical as well.
It is an interesting concept, but the car would never make it to market unless a lot of the crash safety rules are changed. Not to be discouraging, but those safety rules get in the way of a lot of good ideas these days. I do like the concept of four wheel drive only at low speeds, though. Consider that you never ever get stuch at 45 MPH. Getting stuck is a slow speed thing, and so either electric drive for the "other two" wheels, or possibly a hydraulic motor to drive them, could be of great value in not staying stuck. OF course the two extra driving wheels would need to have the over-running clutch arrangement to avoid overspeeding. That same type of arrangement would also be good for the stop-start engine car, since it would allow coasting up to red lights and stopped traffic.
The selective application of variable torque to all 4 wheels does seem like it could be of some value in poor traction conditions, but it would undoubtedly be of most value to those very unskilled and inexperienced drivers, much more than to those drivers who are able to handle poor conditions. So here uis a question to consider: Is it worthwhile to develop a system that only benefits the worst ten percent of all drivers? Especially when it will cost everybody a fair amount more?
The car that will be able to solve the parking problems is the one that will be able to right-angle park within the standard parking lanes. That car, folding or not, will be the problem solving game changer.
It would be great if this research could lead to motor assemblies that could clutch out or tolerate overspeed. Multi-wheel driving is primarly for traction contol at low speeds and poor surfaces. If small motors could be added to the trailing axles to help the rig in starting and manuvering, and disengage at highway speed, it would really help drivers.
Does the electical drive have an VFD equivilant of a differential?
A more exciting use of a folding car would be for the camping community. If the vehicle would fit on the back of a 6.5' pickup truck bed, (gate up), this vehicle could be used in campgrounds. Golf Carts are too large for the truck bed.
Thanks, Chuck! Yes, I thought this was pretty cool. Can you imagine bending a car to fit into a parking spot? I remember many a time when I lived in San Francisco when this concept would have been not just appealing but also saved me hours of looking around for parking, not to mention incredible frustration. Thanks also for the link, I will take a look.
Ann - then all you need to do is enclose it, add some heat and you can use it in a Wisconsin snowstorm! Actually, ignoring the "open concept" I wonder how something like that performs in less than ideal road conditions.
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