Clever Car -- the future of automobiles

Discussion in 'Business & Economics' started by Harmonic_Subset, May 5, 2006.

  1. Harmonic_Subset Registered Senior Member

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    121
    Clever Car belongs to a class of motorized vehicles known as 'tilting three wheelers' (TTWs), which have been around since 1945. They have what I call 1.5-seats, consisting of a driver's seat and a cargo space behind that doubles as a passenger seat for short trips. The passenger sits with legs on either side of the driver. This type of vehicle outperforms all others in terms of cost, handling, fuel economy, all-weather driving, speed, acceleration, etc.

    The Clever Car:

    Vehicle cost = $13500 CAN.
    Fuel economy = 2.5 Liters per 100 km (111 mpg)
    Fill up the tank once every 3 weeks, instead of every 3 days.
    Will seat two (one comfortably).
    Leans into corners. Snappier cornering than most sports cars.
    Same height and visibility as other small cars.
    Crash tested, just as safe as other small cars.
    Range = 200 km (120 miles)
    Top speed = 60 mph

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    It's fueled by compressed natural gas (CNG) and as such can be refueled at home. Fuelmaker Corporation sells an appliance that can refuel CNG cars such as the Clever Car, Honda Civic GX, forklifts, fleet vehicles, etc. by drawing gas from your gas line just like the furnace, or barbeque.

    Fuelmaker Corporation

    A lightweight plastic fuel tank with ethanol, gasoline or diesel fuel would probably shave off another few hundred pounds of dead weight and increase speed, fuel economy & range. Overall a very promising design, and definitely not ugly.

    Clever Website

    Because vehicle weight affects both the kinetic energy and the rolling friction directly, one can expect the fuel economy to vary inversely with vehicle weight. For example, if weight drops by half, fuel economy should approximately double, assuming the vehicle has an engine that provides roughly the same power-to-weight ratio. Comparisons can be drawn between different weight classes of vehicles, such as a Chrysler Sebring, Hyundai Accent, a Honda Insight hybrid, and the Clever Car:

    Chrysler Sebring
    vehicle weight = 1422 kg
    fuel economy = 29 mpg

    Hyundai Accent
    vehicle weight = 1024 kg
    fuel economy = 40 mpg

    Clever Car
    vehicle weight = 400 kg
    fuel economy = 111 mpg

    Honda Insight Hybrid
    vehicle weight = 856 kg
    fuel economy = 60 mpg

    The Hyundai Accent is 39 percent lighter, and gets 38 percent better fuel economy. The Clever Car is 3.6-times lighter, and gets 3.8-times better fuel economy.

    An unexpected result is found with the Hybrid Honda Insight: it is 66 percent lighter than the Chrysler Sebring, so one would expect it to get approx. 48 mpg fuel economy. But in fact it gets 60 mpg, roughly an additional 12 mpg due to improved engine efficiency. More than half of this improvement is due to weight reduction!

    The Hybrid Honda Insight is also 20 percent lighter than the Hyundai Accent, so once again we should expect it to achieve 48 mpg fuel economy. But as shown it gets another 12 mpg on top of that. In this case 8 mpg improvement is due to weight reduction, and 12 mpg improvement due to higher engine efficiency.

    These are approximations, but the basic lesson is still there. It is easier to reduce vehicle weight than to increase engine efficiency. A simple way of reducing vehicle weight is to simply shrink the vehicle. To build a 1-seat vehicle instead of 4-seats should reduce weight by 75 percent, or nearly so. This can be done without expensive engine technologies or special lightweight materials.

    It has been estimated that as much as 30 percent of our current oil consumption could be displaced by biomass-produced ethanol. So to achieve full renewability in the transportation sector might require us to reduce the average fuel consumption of vehicles on the road by 70 percent. As shown above, the easiest, least expensive way to achieve this is to reduce vehicle weight by the same amount. Making 1.5-seat Tilting Three Wheelers the standard would be a huge leap toward achieving this goal.
     
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  3. spidergoat Venued Serial Membership Valued Senior Member

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  5. kmguru Staff Member

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    The future of a personal transportation should be an Electric Vehicle chargeable at night and has a 300 mile range and can be recharged in 2 hours or less with a higher voltage system.

    To produce electricity one can use fusion reactors, hydro power, solar power, wind power and nuclear reactor and may be some coal with good scrubber system.
     
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  7. Exhumed Self ******. Registered Senior Member

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    Must be by the same people that made the "smart" car, by the name and look. Looks like they made the smart car even smaller. One of the major problems is the smart car is only usable for city driving and had above average weather limitations. This looks like it has the same issues.

    I think this car insults motorcycles

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  8. Harmonic_Subset Registered Senior Member

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    121
    Spidergoat:

    I think you missed the point. The Clever Car provides nearly all the versatility of a standard vehicle (except passenger capacity) and it also achieves the weight reduction needed to achieve renewability for the transportation sector. Greenhouse gases are a secondary issue compared to oil shortages. A second incarnation of this vehicle would probably have a flex-fueled engine, able to burn ethanol, gasoline, or any combination of the two. Or it might be diesel. Or it might be a hybrid. It doesn't require special modification to your house to refuel, that is just a convenient option. The current CNG model has removable gas cylinders that can be recharged externally at a local depot. And $13,500 CAN isn't expensive for a car. It is typical for a subcompact or microcar like the Clever Car. In contrast, your favorite vehicle The Tango costs $108,000 and lacks the cornering stability of the Clever Car.

    kmguru:

    Fusion reactors don't yet exist. Currently there are about 230+ conventional fission reactors worldwide. Combined they generate over 10,000 metric tonnes of radioactive waste annually. We would have to build hundreds of additional fission reactors to supply enough electricity for an equivalent fleet of electric vehicles - just for North America. Where would the glowing residue go?

    Exhumed:

    One thing you can do with the Clever Car that you can't do with a motorcycle is drive in the rain, snow, slush, and freezing cold... Year-round, all weather. It is hardly weather-limited, any more than a subcompact or mid-sized sedan.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2006
  9. davebehrens Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    33
    How can this vehicle be refueled with compressed natural gas at home, when all homes serviced by natural gas are supplied with that gas at less than 1 PSIG. Even if refueling ports are placed into the gas supply lines before the home supply pressure regulating valves, much less than 20 PSIG of VAPOR pressure will be achieved. Without very expensive equipment, home liquification of natural gas is impossible.

    If you are speaking of refueling this vehicle with LIQUID propane, and permitting it to vaporize before injecting it into the combustion chamber, you have described every propane fueled lift truck in existence. No great technological achievement.

    You are still dependent upon foreign petroleum.
     
  10. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    23,198
    Depends on what you are comparing to.

    Tata motors is currently building factory with 100,000 cars per year capacity for their rust free* four-passenger urban car. It will not be available in US for many years as the Indian market, and then the Chinese one, will absorb the full productions even when the factory is 10 times larger.

    At projected $2,200 (100,000 rupees) each it less than 1/6 the price of your "isn't expensive" car, but that is still expensive to some of India's poor, but ICICI bank will lend them money. With Tata already building the factory, I doubt that ten of these six times more expensive "clever cars" will ever be made.

    In interest of "full disclosure," I have owned ADRs TTM & IBN for more than a year (half of IBN for more than two years).
    ----------------------------
    *Frameless "uni-body" is all plastic, assembled with glue, like some airplanes are now. (Modern glues can be both lighter and stronger without concentrated stress points of rivets, etc.) Tata has bought a company that makes a continuous speed transmission; perhaps this car always operates at maximum engine efficiency. (No need to learn how to shift gears, an important plus for first time drivers). Car may have only one pedal - take you foot off quickly and it stops quickly, etc. Car is rumored to be 60/60 (top speed 60mph and 60 miles to the gallon) Hard to get details, but looks like they will sell more than Detroit ever did. This is what Detroit should have been doing instead of SUVs.
     
  11. kmguru Staff Member

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    11,757
    The fission reactors are designed wrong just like the American cars that does not last beyond 100,000 miles. We have learned a lot in the last 30 years but still using the 30 year old technology. There has not been any serious research in heat exchanger design or material alloy design using Zirconium and Hafnium and other exotic materials, liquid sodium or potassium etc. One can definitely design a nuclear power plant that generates minimum waste per year. Even in the old technology, one can extend the rebuild cycle of the heat exchanger to 5 years rather than 18 months as some designs are required to do.

    As to Fusion reactors...we now have the technology. Super conducting materials and understanding of high energy lasers and high Tesla fields. All it takes is the will. My design prototype will cost about $15 billion dollars...but it is worth the risk...

    Beyond fusion reactors, I am working on a non-nuclear process where an alloy matrix is excited to produce electrons...the energy input is 80% less than the output...but we think we can improve the process. It will take a few years....
     
  12. Neildo Gone Registered Senior Member

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    5,306
    Heh, what a cool toy of a car. I'd love to have one.

    - N
     
  13. Harmonic_Subset Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    121
    davebehrens:

    The CNG home refuelling appliance has a compressor. It slowly refuels your vehicle overnight. AFAIK it is a few thousand dollars extra. People who buy the Honda Civic GX often buy one for convenience. Also, businesses that have CNG forklifts and fleet vehicles. As you know, CNG tanks are removeable and portable, so the refuelling appliance is only one option. You aren't required to buy one, it is a convenience only for people who don't mind spending a little more to save time.

    Billy T:

    I'm not sure which Tata vehicle you are referring to. Tata Motors has a website, with prices for their cars. The cheapest one I could find was the Indigo GSX 4-door sedan, which sells for Rps 556,222 (CAN $13,744). That's typical price for a small car in Canada too. I imagine someone who lives in India would have to be quite wealthy to afford one, since their purchasing power parity is about 10% of ours. It would be like me paying $137,440 for the same vehicle! Brutal price tag dude. If they are planning to market a car in India, it would have to be extremely cheap. It might be similar to the Clever Car, but even more frugal. A partially-enclosed scooter might have wide appeal there. Same thing in China.

    kmguru:

    Lots of people have claimed pie-in-the-sky technologies that have never materialized. The most recent example in the field of nuclear physics was the quantum nucleonic reactor. It turned out to be a fraud. Before that it was cold fusion. Also bunk. Your spectacular claim that you've invented improvements on technologies that have been around for more than half a century demands a patent if what you say is true.

    Neildo:

    We've all got to have a toy... I can't wait until Clever Cars are in production. I'd like a flex-fuelled one myself.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2006
  14. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    19,083
    I saw that car on BBC, it's amazing, I love it and I want one!! It's perfect for city travel.
     
  15. Neildo Gone Registered Senior Member

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    5,306
    Yeah, once (or rather, if) they're released in the U.S., I'll be buying one. I love having out of the ordinary toys.

    - N
     
  16. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    23,198
    None are available anywhere at present. I am not even sure the factory is under construction, but think it is. I have never seen a photo of either factory or car. 100,000 Rupies is the design target price, but other than fact it will have gluded together plastic body (and frame if it is not "uni-body" construction) little else is official.

    I thik it is official that it will transport 4 pasengers, but I do not know if it has 3 or 4 wheels. If you can find out more about it, please post. I learned Tata had bought or singed contract for (not sure which now) large number of continuous ratio transmissions with another firm from a financial new letter type source, but forget which now also. I bougth Tata about a year ago (at about $5 and is now around $20/ per ADR) as soon as I learned that they were comitted to the new factory. (Tara is now manily a truck and bus company and some upper middle class cars.) They are targeting the emerging first time car owner - typically one with some kids, so a car that is not much more expensive than a good motor cycle will be attractive to him. I think, but again do not know, that Tata's new car's motor may be basically a motor cycle motor.

    I have not tried hard to find anything about it since buying TTM. I made my long term bet, basically on two facts: (1) that Indian government is very much aware that India is in danger of becoming a polarized society. (The current government is the left wing one and is trying hard to pump money into the country side, where much of the poor and their strength is. ICICI bank, which I also own, is rapidly opening rural offices, making small loans etc.) and (2) I like the innovation of a no-rust plastic car, put together with modern glues. (Assemply should be cheaper, even if manual in India, than the capital cost of all those spot welding robots Detrot uses and there are no stress concentration points and no metalugrical transformation at the spot weld to promote corrsion.)

    Probably the ones made during the next decade will not pass US safety tests, but none will be available for export to US for at least that long. Also it is a fact that well designed plastic can absorb more energy that steel, pound for pound, so a plastic car can be safer than a steel one and yet weigh less.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2006
  17. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    6,221
    It's much too expensive. Face it, with a 120-mile range, 60 mph top speed, one seat and no storage space this thing isn't actually competing against cars; it’s competing against motorcycles, motor scooters, bicycles, and walking. You can get a nice 80 mile/gallon motorcycle for a few thousand dollars.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2006
  18. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member

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    19,083
    2 seats
    you don't need faster than 60 in a city,
    in Latvia the speed limit in cities is 50km/h,
    motorcicles don't have a roof and controllable environment
     
  19. Neildo Gone Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,306
    $12k isn't expensive especially with 111 MPG.

    With the Carver One at 40 MPG though, that kinda sucks.

    Also the Clever Car goes up to 80 MPH, not 60 MPG. The Carver One goes up to 120ish.

    - N
     
  20. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member

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    19,083
    p.s. Post your ideas or well wishes in their guest book, because I doubt they read Sciforums.
    I did.

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  21. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    You could buy a cheap regular car that gets around 30 miles/gallon for about $9000 (perhaps a Chevy Areo). Then take the $3000 that you saved and buy enough gas to go about 30,000 miles, which should be enough to last 3-4 years - by which time you might want a new car anyway. If you don't mind driving a 5+ year old car, buy a used car and use the same math to go even farther before you approach the price of a Clever Car. And in the mean time, you get little bonuses like four actual seats and a trunk.
     
  22. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member

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    ah, but a regural car doesn't have the: extremely stylish and cyberpunk bonus attached to it.

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  23. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    It says it has "1.5 seats." The second seat is supposed to be behind the driver. Take a look at the picture and try to imagine how comfortable you would be siting behind the driver. You have to sit with your legs around the driver!

    It appears to basically be a motorcycle with a roof over it - it has all the fuel economy and utility of a motorcycle. Basically a fun toy that's nice for commuting to work if you don't worry about having to carry a passenger, groceries, or anything else. Not terribly practical, but cool. That puts it directly in competition with motorcycles that cost around $3000-$4000. The great fuel economy doesn't make a good argument for buying it as long as it costs thousands more than a regular car.

    And of course, I'm pretty sure that in a head-on collision with a regular car it would probably fly apart into small pieces.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2006

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