[extropy-chat] Car of the (near) future

Hal Finney hal at finney.org
Tue May 24 03:36:24 UTC 2005

Spike writes:

> Consider this thought experiment.  Think of a small car.  You
> are perhaps seeing a Honda Civic or equivalent, weight about
> a ton, four cylinders, displacement about 2000 cc.  The
> four wheeled cowperson vehicle is a quarter of that: a
> quarter of a ton, one cylinder, 500 cc displacement.  The
> rolling resistance should be about a quarter as much.
> The frontal area times the coefficient of drag for the
> cowperson vehicle is probably about equal to that of
> the civic, so if driven at half the speed it should be
> about a quarter of the wind resistance.  So you would have
> a low-tech vehicle that gets four times the fuel mileage
> as our current compact cars. 

ZAP has some cars along these lines, a little bigger though.
http://www.zapworld.com/cars/smartCar.asp is the SMART which seats 2
and has "taken Europe by storm".  But it weighs 1588 pounds and they
don't give a mileage figure, probably for legal reasons.  They also
have something called the ePod, http://www.zapworld.com/cars/epod.asp ,
which is a human electric hybrid, basically a tricycle in a
lexan shell.  Perhaps the closest is the Intimidator LUV, which
is far from intimidating, a simple 2 person electric vehicle,
http://www.zapworld.com/cars/intimidator.asp .  It weighs 705 pounds,
can go 25 MPH with a range of 50 miles.

One of the big issues is safety, they have quite a bit on their SMART
car page about how the car is really safe.  People worry about what will
happen if they tangle with an SUV.


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