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

Brian Lee brian_a_lee at hotmail.com
Wed Aug 18 16:00:04 UTC 2004

Considering demographics, the numbers of people who tow boats (or horses) is 
way lower than SUV purchases.

I live in Atlanta and I see tons and tons of SUVs. It ices about once a year 
here and a good awd sedan will perform just as well as a hummer in those 

Maybe it's dream of towing horses or surviving a nuclear holocost that's 
attracting all these SUV buyers.

All of the arguments except towing capacity apply equally to a volvo or bmw 
awd wagan as to an SUV.


>From: David Lubkin <extropy at unreasonable.com>
>To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
>Subject: RE: [extropy-chat] Real Extropians don't drive SUVs
>Date: Wed, 18 Aug 2004 11:51:46 -0400
>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 
>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 
>-- David Lubkin.
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