[extropy-chat] Real Extropians don't drive SUVs

David Lubkin extropy at unreasonable.com
Wed Aug 18 15:51:46 UTC 2004

Greg wrote:

>I acknowledge that that there is a relatively narrow category of 
>driver/utily for which an SUV is basically the perfect car.

I don't think it's that narrow. For starters, there's a hefty chunk of the 
population that lives, works, or recreates in the frozen north or a rural 
setting, or would otherwise buy a pickup truck with a cab.

Sub/urban drivers who would not often require SUV features could still 
benefit from them in emergency situations, but some of the gain stems from 
others who are also fleeing being ill-prepared. Were LA to face a calamity 
that not all could survive, I'd rather Natasha have a relative advantage.

>Good design could recapture the supposed safety benefits of the massive 
>traditional SUV's crashworthiness with crush zones.

Doesn't some of the crashworthiness derive from raw weight? Won't a heavier 
instance of the same design have more crashworthiness than a lighter 
version? I'm recalling homework problems involving momentum and kinetic 
energy in elastic and inelastic collisions.

>** Hybird Motors.  As you point out, this is happening and, ironically, 
>the greater space available in the SUV platform makes them a natural for 
>hybrid technology.

I'd rather see a design that could run on anything that poured or burned. 
Why are diesels rare in consumer vehicles? Why didn't the steam revival 
succeed? (Years back, there was a good article on them in analog. "Steamer 
Time?" by Wallace West, in the 9/1968 issue.)

>the loss in gross pulling power in getting rid of the heavy, inflexible 
>solid rear axle isn't felt by the soccer moms who never need to tow a 
>mobile ICBM.

Many soccer moms have daughters who are into horses. In my married days, we 
had a Suburban to pull a horse trailer. Damn heavy.

And wouldn't a soccer mom need to tow mobile ICBMs in an "Ungoverned" 
future? I've met a few Second Amendment Sisters who'd be up for it.

>** Center of Gravity.  The first three factors above will naturally lower 
>the center of gravity (the hybrids' placement of their batteries down low 
>in the frame, for instance).  Further employment of a little thought to 
>move as many components to the bottom of the design as possible can do 
>this.  Even more smarts employed to make an actively-controlled suspension 
>that raises and lowers the vehicle for various modes finishes the C/G problem.

Some SUVs have this. (As did our 1970 Citroen wagon. It's amusing to see 
car manufacturers touting innovative features, like a second set of 
headlights that are linked to the steering wheel, that we had 30 years ago.)

-- David Lubkin.

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