[ExI] Atlantic article on human reengineering with very strong reactions

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Wed Mar 14 16:10:18 UTC 2012

On Wed, Mar 14, 2012 at 08:12:48AM -0700, spike wrote:

> Any mechanical engineer will recognize that all the low hanging fruit today
> is in conservation.  We can easily start with ape haulers because their
> performance specifications were developed in an era when oil came gushing
> out of the ground under its own pressure.  Our expectation of our ape
> haulers to do so much, go so fast and accelerate so hard has caused us to
> paint ourselves into a corner, where even our smallest cars are remarkably
> heavy.  

The average european car is about a ton, US is twice that. The problem
is expensive fitness display, more weight for luxuries and also subjective
perception of more safety.
> Recall the specification for the original Volkwagen only needed to peak at
> 100 kph.  If we can tolerate that one specification today, there are

There's no problem with 130 km/h cruise if you have a spike cache, as
you can dump a lot of power into electric motors if you allow them to
cool off afterwards. Plus, electric eliminates mass like transmission and
associated loss, as well as recover braking, which reduces battery.
Assuming Envia can deliver, we might get our 10 kEUR EVs yet.


> remarkable weight savings available.  We can build new ape haulers from the
> ground-up, as opposed to using standard parts from existing vehicles, which
> are too heavy and over-sturdy for vehicles that peak at 100 kph.  Even full

Probably progress in robotics can automate composite lamination. Another
key progress is make wheels smart, put servos in there and use software
instruments, and drive-by-wire.

> electrics are far more practical if we can tolerate that modest top speed,
> although it will be better if we go with series hybrids under those
> conditions.

Something like http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ein-Liter-Auto_von_VW would
be best executed a pure EV, if battery energy density can deliver.
Unfortunately they pushed the weight to 795 kg from intial 290 kg, and
can handle over 200 km/h but at some 70 kEUR it's useless.

They did reduce the carbon monocoque costs down to 5 kEUR starting
from initial 35 kEUR in 2002, and production takes only 1 hour, no
longer requring thermal curing.

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