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Old 09-27-2009, 09:17 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by MadisonMPG View Post
It was a ridiculous loss IIRC.
No its not we just pay for it when we purchase certain VWs. They have set a certain percentage of those cars to cover the cost, i think it is the polo and golf. mr avarage is paying in part for some rich dude to have a play toy.

It is not all a bad thing though. The best R&D comes out of those insane projects the hurdels they had to overcome to achieve the goal set for the car were amazing. When your designing a car like that you have to learn a thing or two about aerodynamics.

Much of the advances we see in every day cars come from F1. That on the face of it looks to be a needless wastefully sport but it it is not. almost every modern advance in cars can be linked in some way to F1. The VAG group do not have any link to F1 so instead they have done top end R&D another way.

The VAG group really have set a standard for many many things. There is However one huge disadvantage almost danger with the cars in the VAG group they are synonymous with quality people have an expectation over certain aspects of the cars such as plastics inside the cars and looks.

People may start demanding 70-80mpg from your average car but if they get a VW they want it to look and feel like a VW. This is a huge challenge for any auto maker demand for one thing vs another. It is very hard for very long established company to radically change over night. This is case in point with the audi A2 the original A2 concept was a small eco car but it didn't really fly that way. People see audi as a sporty car company they are cars for every day use that have good power behind them. If that is what is expected then form a marketing point of view you are going to have a hard time selling a viable quantity of something if it does not meet the perception of the target.
They could make a tin pot cheep eco car but again its not a good marketing tactic if it is going to reflect bad on the rest of the brand.

What you see now is very clever branding from VW it is not to con people but to make it clear why the cars look such a way and why they do not do 0-60 is as fast time as the same price of car from another auto maker. It is about changing peoples concept of what a good car is. Cars always use to be sold by 0-60 then it was safety they it went through a stage of how versatile the car was. Now they are having to try to almost go against years and years of saying 'hey people this is what you need' I respect what VW are doing with the bluemotion range. As far as i know they were the first to badge the eco range and promote it as an option. It makes it very easy for a customer to say yes i will look at that car as it focuses on what i want.

In terms of the L1 being sold in the US i would not hold your breath. The reason can be answered with one word size! If everyone drove the exact same car it would be the safest car. OK sounds obvious to say that but it really would be very safe. if you smash into the exact same car the weight is the same the safety zone is the same, it is like for like. smash a fiat 500 into an Audi Q7 and the big Audi wind the war.

In the UK and rest of Europe we have in comparison to the US small cars. The latest safest VW polo over here is safer than it would be on north American roads. That is not because as soon as it gets in the sun it starts to melt like chocolate its because the biggest car we have on the roads over here is the Audi Q7! If you were hit in a 500 by a Q7 over here you would be unlucky or shuld i say very likley dead. Now in the US the Q7 really would not strike you as being huge. If you see one in a parking lot your not going to even bat an eyelid at its size. That there is your problem.

The L1 is made out of mainly carbon fibre. It relays on the strength of CF to make it safe. Carbon fibre is very very strong there is no denying that but it is very different from metal. Metal has a plastic nature, plastic meaning its bend ability. carbon fibre will not for the foreseeable future be a viable material for wheels. This is because if you were to smash into a hole in the road the shock could just explode the wheel where as on an alloy it would give you a nice big dent or buckle. If you apply that theory to a car its not hard to see if you smash into a carbon fibre car with too much force it will just crack. Cracking is fine if you can account for that with a crumple zone and extra reinforcement at that point of impact. Obviously when designing it the look at reasonable size cars of the same hight hitting it that is how it works. the most dangerous crash between to cars is when each has a miss match of crumple zone or safety cell.

Unlike an exotic sports car i imagin if this was hit at head level side on your head would be the crumple zone and it is likely the car would flip over.

For the L1 to be sold in the US i think the only way it would ever work would be to classified as something other than a car your safty test also has things we do not have in Europe as it is much more applicable to the type of high trucks and SUVs there are. With a motorbike everyone knows you take your life in your hands when you drive it. Other than the safety gear you put on you don't really expect that you will live if you get hit by something huge. The main difference between a bike and a car is that on a bike you have quite a good chance of avoiding danger by the nature of how you can quickly change direction and apply power. An eco car would not have this advantage your stuck in a coffin on wheels if you are headed for danger or something is headed for you.

There is also another aspect to the L1 not being sold in the US. It will not work as it is designed to if a huge far person is driving it. In the US there are more obese people than anywhere in the world. It is obvious that if you are too fat you simply will not fit in but the perception of what is a good weight is very very warped compared to Europe. Can VW really say sorry we can only sell this to skinny people. Your only option of driving a L1 would the be to become a raw vegan. I jest but you can quite clearly see a problem there.

I am really not familiar with the laws regarding kit cars in the US but i suspect like most things it is changes state to stare. If there is relative freedom for getting kit cars on the roads the i see an open sauce eco kit car is the way to go in the US. Its pointless expecting a big auto maker will give you what you are after when they are going to go with the safe option of selling what they know will sell to the masses and give them least bother.

Just to make you feel better there is still no 100% certaintry the L1 will come to market and if it does then history says that there is a good chance it will not be sold in the UK either. I suspect if it does go on sale in Europe excluding the UK quite a few imports will make it over. Had the rest of Europe driven on the same side of the road we would have seen far more over 3Ls over here.

My advice to all of you In the US dreaming about such a car as the L1 just
take inspiration from how they are doing it and look to a way of making it happen via open sauce . There is no magic to what they have done. I have just got hold of a 3L this weekend and having a standard model Lupo as well it is very easy to see that in all intense an purpose it it is very much the same car. yes 80% of the car is not the 'same' but the only difference is they decided to look at the car form a FE point of view. I really don't think the 3L could have ever been a financially viable car to sell to the masses at the price point they sold it. It really was a real world R&D test and also to get them self a few awards in the process. That is the exact reason there is not a 3L on the market today VW have taken the best of the car and decided to invest in areas of boositn FE that are more financially viable. Probably scanning over ecomodder for ideas.

Designing a small car like the L1 means you get something for nothing anyone with enough time, man hours and access to materials and skill could come up with a car that is equal to the L1. When you go smaller you instantly solving 3 of the problems that all auto makes face when designing a car. Weight, airodymanics and roling resistance.

Just to hilight somethin i noticed after my first drive of the 3l. my lupo sport has 195s and the 3L has 155s the sport has bilstien b12s that is a combination of bilstien dampers and H&R springs 2 very very well respected brands. The sport sits lower and also it is striped out at the back with battery moved to the back to give better weight distribution. When i had 185s on the sport i simply was not happy on the windy little roads with i travel on. I quite often felt like i was loosing grip around tight corners. I looked at the tyres on the 3L and felt a bit intimidated at the prospect of ending up in a ditch or something how wrong i was. The handling and grip on the 3L is quite simply amazing. I have also heard that the 3L is better at driving in the snow than a 4x4. It just goes to show when you have a lighter car with better centre of gravity instantly your not fighting so many opposing forces so in effect you are getting something for nothing. You do not have to have as good tyres or as good suspension as it it all just works better. When you think smaller, lighter you can start looking towards materials like low cost rubber for suspension (as on the the classic mini) where as it is not viable for a bigger car.

Sorry for the essay i tend to come on here write a long post then vanish again i have too may interests to keep up with them all haha
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