[ExI] 7000 mpg (was EP and Peak Oil)

spike spike66 at att.net
Thu Apr 10 01:37:45 UTC 2008


> Jeff Davis
> Subject: [ExI] 7000 mpg (was EP and Peak Oil)
> http://green.yahoo.com/blog/ecogeek/361/7-000-mpg-car-wins-eco
> -marathon.html
> Best, Jeff Davis

Jeff these kinds of engineering demonstrations are good for focussing
attention on what it is we need to give up, or what we need to do in order
to have extremely energy efficient transportation.  It really isn't all that
hard to do.  We would need to move away from the traditional pneumatic tire
that has been with us for over a century, but consider the conditions under
which that style of tire became popular: most roads were rough.  Now we have
the technology to make roads smooth, and keep them that way.  So we would go
to smaller diameter and narrower solid tires, with the contact patch made of
about a cm ring of polyurethane for instance.  Polyurethane was used for
skateboard wheels in our misspent youth, because they have low rolling
resistance in that critical application.  We would give up some smoothness
for lowering rolling resistance, which is why we would need to compensate by
making the roads smoother.

We would give up high speeds and hard acceleration, but we can live without
that.  If the car doesn't accelerate hard, it doesn't need to have a lot of
structural strength to withstand engine torque, which saves weight.  If it
doesn't need to deal with potholes, the suspension travel can be very short,
saving more energy.  If it can be low to the ground, giving up some
visibility, it minimizes frontal area, which saves wind resistance.  If we
have a single-seater, it can be very narrow, again saving weight.  With
those design sacrifices, I can imagine single-seat ape haulers getting 1000
mpg, and still be as fast as a bicycle (assuming a non-athlete cyclist,
being as a good athlete can often outrun traffic even with our V8s under
some conditions.) 

We can do all this.  There is some pain, but it is not fatal.



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