[ExI] fuel economy vs danger

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Tue Apr 6 11:26:58 UTC 2010

On 4/6/10, Dave Sill wrote:
> All other things being equal, a 2000 pound car will accelerate faster,
>  stop faster, and handle better than a 3000 pound car. A clear example
>  of this is Formula 1 race cars: they have a minimum weight, and the
>  teams run the cars as close to that minimum as possible. Occasionally
>  a team will be penalized for an underweight car, but there's no
>  maximum weight.
>  Forget car/bike comparisons or luxury/economy car comparisons--they're
>  apples & oranges. The Merc has better tires/brakes/suspension than the
>  Fiat, which compensates somewhat for the weight disadvantage.

I think I 'm agreeing with you. ;)
There are just too many variables in real world cases to make a
general statement that big cars stop quicker. Sure, the Mercedes has
exceptional braking power but some big heavy cars take twice as long
to stop. Some small cars are cheap and nasty with poor quality brakes
and tyres, but some small, light cars can stop very quickly indeed.
And don't forget reaction time which is the same for all vehicles.

Maneuverability as well depends more on the design of the car rather
than the mass. Light racing / sports cars designed to grip the road
which also have significant down forces generated can turn with
g-forces that would upset ordinary drivers. Big cars would be sliding
uncontrollably in a similar turn


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