Really - as an engineer you cannot figure out that global warming is real? You think you can dump billions of tons of stuff into the atmosphere and NOT cause a problem? Do you really think that resources like fossil fuels on this planet are infinite? You think ocean acidification is not real and that coral are not dyiing from beng too warm?
Agreed, TJ. It's one thing to read about this car but another but I suspect it's another thing to see it in person. The curb weight -- 1,753 pounds -- is really light. I'd be hesitant to drive this during a cold Chicago winter.
I love efficiency, but part of efficiency is cost. This prospective car utilizes some very nice technologies, but at no small cost, which seems certain to result in yet greater transfer of wealth and power from the people to the wonderfully benevolent corporate/government/moneychanger bureaucracy.
With so much of our fuel-efficiency hit resulting from the stop-and-go of urban driving, I'd like to see a lot more utilization of one of the oldest energy conservation technologies known to man - the flywheel. Couple that with working on traffic flow methodologies to greatly reduce accelerations and decelerations, and I believe we'd see a greater benefit at considerably lower cost to the average benefactor.
It is interesting indeed, and I really don't think that the polycarbonate windows will be a viable option, unless they are a much more abrasion type of polycarbonate than I have seen anywhere. My other concern is the way the doors open. the upward swing is fine for show cars and collectors versions, but how long would that sort of mechanism last in daily use? In addition, a more standard arrangement of hinging would probably weigh less, since the stress levels would be lower. One other thing is that if there is air conditioning included then the mileage would probably drop by half with the cooling on, since cooling power consumption is fairly constant and primarily depends on occupant cavity volume, while the drive power is greatly reduced by the lower drag coefficient. So if the government and the EPA are really serious about vehicle efficiency the very first step would be to get rid of automotive air conditioners. But we know that will not happen.
Twelve percent efficiency for the internal combustion engine seems a bit low. Double that is likely closer to reality. But 90 percent efficiency for electric motors is in the ballpark, with some above and some below that number.
You 12% is very low for today's cars; looking at engine only - passing 30% efficiencies, with peaks approaching 40%.
Still lousy compared to electrics; but your 90% is also a peak efficiency. Motor/driver efficiencies, inverter efficiencies, battery in/out efficiencies and losses, charger efficiencies. Yes, the overall drive is much more efficient than gas-powered, but also much much more expensive - especially when you throw in the cost of that expensive fuel tank (your batteries).
But we often throw out numbers to match our idealogy. Figures lie and liars figure.
I like your comment on low rolling resistance technologies being known for a long time. I think that is code for narrower tires. 27 years ago, I drove a Thunderbird Turbo Coupe, which had high performance tires, 225/60VR15. That was among the widest tires on production cars at the time. My 2009 "small RV" RAV4 uses 215/70R16. One would think that they could use tire technology to make tires with less friction by keeping them narrow.
At this year's MD&M West show, lots of material suppliers are talking about new formulations for wearables and things that stick to the skin, whether it's adhesives, wound dressings, skin patches and other drug delivery devices, or medical electronics.
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