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Elizabeth M
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Blogger
Re: Foldable cars
Elizabeth M   3/4/2013 4:51:33 AM
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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.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Motion control is the key.
William K.   3/2/2013 8:07:40 PM
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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.

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Re: Foldable cars
Charles Murray   3/1/2013 6:59:18 PM
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Problems like those you mention in San Francisco are also commonplace in Japan, Liz. I don't think it's any coincidence that Japanese car manufacturers are looking at the foldable car concept.

Ann R. Thryft
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Blogger
Re: Dune buggy?
Ann R. Thryft   3/1/2013 12:43:53 PM
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Motion Control is Key

Jack, I didn't think driving on snow is all that similar to driving on sand.



kodaiflow
User Rank
Bronze
Would be very helpful in hybrid truck or bus design
kodaiflow   3/1/2013 11:53:25 AM
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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?

Al Klu
User Rank
Gold
Market for Folding Cars
Al Klu   3/1/2013 11:03:16 AM
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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.

apresher
User Rank
Blogger
Futuristic Electric Car
apresher   3/1/2013 9:18:33 AM
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Chuck, Thanks for the video link.  I was having a tough time visualizing how this folding concept might be implemented.  Very interesting.

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Foldable cars
Elizabeth M   3/1/2013 5:46:02 AM
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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.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Foldable cars
Charles Murray   2/28/2013 6:04:15 PM
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Cool -- great story, Liz. The idea of foldable cars is gaining momentum. I saw a video of one in japan and another that was created by MIT's Media Lab. See link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1MSMj08BVU

Jack Rupert, PE
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Dune buggy?
Jack Rupert, PE   2/28/2013 2:16:20 PM
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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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