# Clever Car -- the future of automobiles

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

1. ### draqonBannedBanned

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dude if there was anything more economical than it is this. Imagine being powered entirely by energy transfered wirelessly... The hybrid car uses hydrogen powered engine and then enters a laser highway possibly on a road that has a much friction as the maglev trains incur. Anyways I just suggest this as a possibility.

Another possibility is to not have cars at all...but rather roads that move themselves... And a moving device translates the person and what he has to catch up to the motion of the highway. Or maybe the highway will be made of many strips that will recognize when someone will step on them and thus slow down to allow the person to step on the highway...meanwhile the rest of the highway moves along...and the currently moving objects are moved around you to avoid collision. Once again just a suggestion.

Who needs a car really? This life got more to offer, different possibilities.

3. ### RonVolkRegistered Senior Member

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My favorite gems of information on this topic currently are;

Electromagnetic wheels
http://media.mitsubishi-motors.com/pressrelease/e/corporate/detail1269.html
http://www.solomontechnologies.com/wheel.htm

Smart Cars
http://www.smartcarofamerica.com/

Smart Cars are just a band-aid on the fossil fuel stab wound but when fuel prices get high enough people happily wear the band-aid. The Electric wheel is a developement thats going to be essential for anything with an electrical power supply. A combination of the two will likely be the future.

5. ### Billy TUse Sugar Cane Alcohol car FuelValued Senior Member

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I said:
You restated this as:
I don't think you version is "better." So all will understand what I said, I give a numerical example:

Case 1: If the less efficient, but cheaper car uses 850 gallons and the more efficient but expensive car uses 700 gallons in a year to travel the same distance, then the expensive car is a slight savings.

Case 2: If the less efficient, but cheaper car uses 830 gallons and the more efficient but expensive car uses 700 gallons in a year to travel the same distance, then the cheaper car is a slight savings.

It is the difference inconsumption or gas saved that is important, not how much used. In economics "opertunity costs" usually refers to other potential use of the entire amount. For example, not buying any car so the full amount could be used on some other opertunity. Your version seems to state simply: "you must use 140 gallons in a year" to "break even" or over come the "opertunity cost." While one can perhaps understand this it is not IMHO nearly as clear as my version.

7. ### Billy TUse Sugar Cane Alcohol car FuelValued Senior Member

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You continue to focus on technology and miss the point entirely that it is economics that is decisive. As far as "energy transfered wirelessly" nearly 100 years ago that was demonstrated by Nicolie Tessla, but it was so lacking in economics that no one adopted it. I think the CO2 laser may still be the most efficient and as I recall 60% of the inpute energy is lost as heat. That is in your originaly suggewstion more than half of the energy would be lost and that alone would make your technically possible system uneconomical, even if a great deal of energy were not required to make the car hover. Hover craft are netoriouly inefficient. Get realistic about what controls choice - it is economics, not technical novelity.

8. ### FlannelShirtMonsterRegistered Member

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Well, I think, thoguh I'm not sure, that most of europe has a much higher population density in the first place, even taking into account their wilderness. The US has just always had much more land than it knew what to do with, making their style of development preferred.

And the fact that we have this sprawl will, in the end, probably make the US the leader in the low energy cost arena, at least early on; nothing is a better economic incentive to develop something than the collapse of your infrastructure. When we're pushed up against the wall, and it will be us who's pushed first, we'll find the alternative. It's just that, for those in power right now, there's no reason to get off of fossil fuels. It's an easy way to make a profit. They don't want to shit their own beds when they've got a good thing going.

9. ### Billy TUse Sugar Cane Alcohol car FuelValued Senior Member

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that might be true, if you could change your infrastructure more rapidly than you can (and will) collapse. A basic change in the US infrastruce away from "suburban sprawl" will take 20 years - the population can not just walk away from their houses. The collapse will take less than 10 years.

Perhaps the point is more clear with the classic example of a minimum time requirement:
Regardless of the incentive, it still takes nine months to have a full term baby.
Regardless of the incentive, it takes more than a decade to build non-sprawl housing and an adequate public transport system for the US.

What really make the salvation of the US impossible is the US is deep in debt, both publicly and privately, especially if the suburban houses and roads are to be discarded.

Last edited by a moderator: May 17, 2006
10. ### Harmonic_SubsetRegistered Senior Member

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A solution exists: the Clever Car. This vehicle achieves sustainability.

11. ### Avatarsmoking revolverValued Senior Member

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By feeding of the souls of the innocent and pedestrians.

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It's too soon to tell what new technologies will be introduced in time. Surely the larger manufacturers have something under their sleaves. These do have potential, I think, among the hip as Avatar pointed out. Aside form that I think hybrid versions of cars will hold their own against this clever thingymagig. I would like to see something that splits into more than one auto. Maybe 2 (or more) clevers combined into one to offer more space and that can be split for more nimble traveling.

13. ### Harmonic_SubsetRegistered Senior Member

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Consumer Reports published recently on the fact that only two hybrid cars actually pay for their increased costs within 5 years, but only if you take into account government tax credits. So hybrid cars fail the economics test, even compared to gas guzzling SUVs.

As I pointed out in my original post, half of the fuel savings of hybrid cars is actually due to weight reduction rather than a super-efficient drive system. So the fuel savings of hybrid cars are grossly exaggerated, advertised as roughly double what they actually achieve. Not even Consumer Reports figured this out. In fact, I'd bet nobody except the engineers at Honda and myself have figured this out.

Weight reduction is the best solution with the most dramatic results. Add to that improvements in rolling friction, transmission losses, fuel uptake losses, carnot efficiency, air resistance, and energy used in the manufacturing process, it is possible to vastly reduce oil consumption. It may even be possible to achieve full renewability for transportation, i.e. completely eliminate the combustion of fossil fuel. E100 here we come!

Last edited: May 24, 2006

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I agree with the weight idea. With the advent of nanotech and other light alloys car companies will take heed of the weight problem.

Last edited: May 24, 2006
15. ### Avatarsmoking revolverValued Senior Member

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Yea, I've always found it ridiculous, that I have to drag around 3 tonnes of steel and plastic just to move my 55kg body (over long distances).

16. ### Harmonic_SubsetRegistered Senior Member

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I've always thought that too. A bike will move my 200 lbs easily, and it might only weigh 20-30 pounds itself.

The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is the combined weight of a vehicle, passenger, fuel, and cargo. Most light- and medium- duty vehicles have GVWR upwards of 20,000 lbs. They have alot of excess capacity.

A single-seat vehcle GVWR should be less than 500 lbs, and a 4-seat vehicle GVWR would be less than 2000 lbs. The Smart Car weighs 1800 lbs, so it's about as light as it can be with standard steel construction.

The problem is nobody wants a single-seat car on the off-chance they might have a passenger or two to carry. But most drivers have failed to make the connection between their desire for occasional extra passenger capacity and the huge bill they are paying at the gas pump on a regular basis.

Want to pay significantly less for gas? Buy a Clever Car, or something similar. It's a very simple direct relationship between the weight of the car and the fuel it consumes.

Last edited: May 24, 2006
17. ### Billy TUse Sugar Cane Alcohol car FuelValued Senior Member

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I completely agree, except they "figured that out" and started the conversion to E100 in Brazil long ago (30 years back).

When I first moved to Brazil, all the cars (except the imported ones) looked like subcompacts. I am reasonably thin, but first time there was one car for four of us, I was concerned as one of the four was fat - Silently I thought "This is going to be embrassing." but we all got in just fine. My wife's GOL (a VW product, very popular is an E100 to G100 or anything in between. We have had 6 in it, but three were kids, which by law must be in back seat. I sat in back and biggest kid held smallest one in between legs. Two adults in the bucket seats of the front.)

18. ### Avatarsmoking revolverValued Senior Member

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In recent years I see many more minis on Latvian roads, when some 5 years ago the absolute majority of cars were sedans. I think this applies to most of Northen Europe.

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What do you guys think about nanotechnology? Why reduce the car to a size of a peanut. Reduce the weight and strength of the frame by using nanotech. It may be expensive (not sure) but as it becomes mass produced and production techniques become more advanced prices will go down. No one needs to drive a smart or a mini. Some people need the space.

20. ### spidergoatLiddle' Dick TaterValued Senior Member

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That's a good point, a car sized and strengthed carbon nanotube frame might only weight about 50 lbs.

21. ### Harmonic_SubsetRegistered Senior Member

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It's been done. Last year's winner of the SAE Supermileage Competition collegiate division was the University of British Columbia. Their vehicle weighed 77 pounds, with an 2-inch aluminum-honeycomb chassis, and a 3-ply carbonfiber body.

With a weight reduction of 29-fold versus the Hyundai Accent I would expect the fuel economy to similarly increase to about 1200 mpg. In fact, they achieved a 40-fold increase in fuel economy, or 1608 mpg.

They likely employed strategies such as "engine-off during overspeed" to conserve fuel, such as when coasting downhill. Also, the power-to-weight ratio of the engine and it's efficiency is probably better than most automotive engines. Plus, the transmission was fixed ratio -- no shifting, hardly any losses. In contrast the minimum that a production car like the Hyundai Accent would have would be a manual transmission, and most cars have an automatic transmission, with even greater losses in fuel economy. Plus the supermileage vehicle is extremely aerodynamic, and uses slick tires (no treads) probably pumped up to high pressure with little area contacting the pavement. Obviously they went overboard here.

IMO it's fair to say that weight reduction resulted in a 29-fold increase in fuel economy, and additional strategies yielded an extra 11-fold increase in fuel economy. So, like hybrid cars, we can see that weight reduction has the most dramatic effect on fuel consumption. In fact, only weight reduction can achieve the incredible fuel economy that this vehicle has achieved.

Last edited: May 25, 2006
22. ### Harmonic_SubsetRegistered Senior Member

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Hybrid cars fail the economics test. But lightweight cars pass the economics test with flying colors! Here's how....

The Chevy Aveo costs about $10,304 CAN (MSRP), and is one of the cheapest subcompact cars sold today. But the Clever Car is a bit more expensive, estimated at$13,500 CAN. So the sticker price for the Clever Car is about $3196 CAN higher than the Chevy Aveo. Currently the price of gasoline is as high as$4.69 CAN per gallon including tax. So, the money you save buying a Chevy Aveo will buy you approximately 681 gallons of gas. But the Chevy Aveo burns more gas, so it is not quite correct to say it is cheaper than the Clever Car.

Many people finance their vehicles and they are much more sensitive to fluctuations in the price of gas. Zero downpayment, zero percent purchase financing of the Chevy Aveo will cost $214.67/mth for 48 months. If you drive 40 miles per day, 5 days per week (840 miles per month), you will spend approx.$151.52/mth for gas. Total $366.19/mth, plus the cost of insurance and maintenance. With zero-down, zero-percent purchase financing and identical driving habits the Clever Car will cost$281.25/mth and gas will cost $35.49/mth. In total that's$316.74/mth, plus insurance and maintenance. That's $49.45/mth less than the cost of a Chevy Aveo. Many people don't care how much things cost in the long run. It's all about whether they can afford it now. On a monthly basis, the Clever Car is cheaper, and on an annual basis will save you$593.40 per year. Buy yourself a new washer/dryer, or a new entertainment center.

If you want some more solid math, there is a critical mileage value at which the two cars cost the same. The Chevy Aveo would cost $0.18 for gas per mile driven, while the Clever Car would cost$0.04 for gas per mile driven. A simple equation allows you to solve for the miles driven per month that would make the two cars equal in cost:

$214.67 + A*($0.18/mile) = $281.25 + A*($0.04/mile)
A = 475 miles/mth or 22.6 miles/day.

Purely on the basis of purchase financing and the cost of gas, and neglecting the cost of insurance and maintenance, if you drive less than this, the Chevy Aveo would be the better choice. If you drive more than this the Clever Car would be the better choice. Still, both the Chevy Aveo and the Clever Car are very small vehicles. So this comparison pits one lightweight vehicle against another, and the benefits of one over the other might be highly dependent on which criteria you use.

For example, with a 50% downpayment, the value of "A" drops by half, virtually eliminating the possibility that a standard subcompact might be cheaper than the Clever Car. So it becomes even harder to make an argument against the Clever Car based on economics.

Another aspect that might confuse people is that this is really based on mileage, not time. It might take 15 minutes to drive to work, but in that time some people would drive 12 miles by highway, while others would drive 5 miles on congested city streets. At the end of the day, the former has driven 24 miles, while the latter has driven only 10 miles. You would have to check the odometer to be more certain.

Furthermore, the Clever Car insures as a motorcycle. Insurance rates differ depending on who's driving, so I won't estimate the cost, but generally motorcycles don't cost as much to insure as a car or truck. And when mass-produced Clever Cars may be sold for much less than $13,500 CAN. The cost of gas may also rise much higher in the future. I'd like to see Consumer Reports opinion on 1.5-seat vehicles. After trouncing hybrids, clearly weight reduction is a superior strategy. Last edited: May 25, 2006 23. ### NasorValued Senior Member Messages: 6,226 A much more straightforward way of looking at it is that you would have to drive over 27000 miles before the clever car and the chevy aveo cost the same. That would take most people around 3 years, meaning you have to own the vehicle for around three years before the gas savings cause your vehicle to merely cost the same as an actual car. Also, the chevy aveo has substantially more utility than the clever car, so after three years of gas savings you will have ended up paying the price of an actual car to get the utility of a motorcycle with a roof. After six years of driving the clever car instead of the aveo you will have saved a mere$3000-$4000. It is easily worth$500/year to me (and I suspect to most people) to have the ability to carry passengers and cargo that a car offers.

Last edited: May 25, 2006