View Single Post
Old 05-06-2010, 02:52 PM   #24 (permalink)
Master EcoModder
aerohead's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Sanger,Texas,U.S.A.
Posts: 14,140
Thanks: 21,988
Thanked 6,606 Times in 4,157 Posts
oil crisis

Originally Posted by RobertSmalls View Post
The technology for super-aerodynamic bodies has been around for many, many years. People have been building streamliners all along, for salt flats runs, and human and solar powered vehicles. I'm sure that at some point, someone involved with one of these streamliners thought about building a daily driven one. But why give up the practicality and presentability, when all you have to gain is fuel economy?

A boat-tail would have been nice to have during the 1970's oil crisis. However, with a national speed limit of 55mph, aeromods had less of an impact than they would today. Plus, there was a lack of good donor platforms. Tall, square roofs mean the tail must be extremely long, to the point of requiring a trailer, which is too cumbersome for a daily driver. Also, back then, the vehicle's wake was just one of many major aerodynamic defects. Cd=0.13 would have required major rework of almost the entire car.

How many daily-driven streamlined cars are there in the USA? One? If there were instead a few dozen, it would be more likely that someone would see one, and ask an automotive customizer to build one.

However, if you don't build it yourself, it won't pay for itself in fuel savings. Nor will it serve your eco-vanity, because people don't currently know what boat-tailed cars are and why they should want one.

At the current price of gas, major automakers would be stupid to touch them. Just look at the reception that the Honda Crosstour recieved, then multiply its overall length by 1.5 and imagine what people would have said. Except perhaps for a few X-Prize contenders, streamlined cars will remain DIY endeavours.
The Arab Oil Embargo was an act of war against the United States.
President Carter made the right call.
The 'act' did not possess the galvanizing affect as did Pearl Harbor,Havana Harbor,Gulf of Tonkin,USS Panay,Lusitania,etc.,so it never really mobilized the collective American Public mind.
As to the effect drag reduction would have had with the 55-mph speed limit I'll agree with you,within the context that Americans never complied with the speed limit.
Aside from that,the physics remains the same.A 10 % drag reduction = 5 % mpg at 55-mph. 6 % at 70.8.5 % at 80.
In 1968,R.G.S.White published his recipe for a Cd 0.24 car.Korff had published his Cd 0.21 recipe in 1963.
Soichiro Honda was the only automaker stupid enough to actually use the recipe,when in 1972,Honda revealed the 173-mpg P-100 hybrid ( a year ahead of the energy crisis ).
With many body-on-frame cars still in production,an automaker had the option to simply build a different 'top' to place on a commonplace 'bottom'.This was the premise for Fiber Fab's kit-car bodies which were 'dropped' onto VW chassis,exactly what GM would later do with it's Citation concept,which added 22-mpg just by changing the 'top'.
If you want to bring up the issue of 'practicality',don't forget the millions of human body parts,strewn all over the planet since 1913,generated in the pursuit of hegemony in access to petroleum.Very practical!
As to the major re-work,that is typically done within a product cycle of 48-months.
Every thing you think about can be changed with 3-days of Television.
We also have a public school system in place which already provides a vehicle with which to disseminate information.
Edward Bernais' ' Crystalizing Public Opinion ' changed the world beginning in 1933.
There could easily come a time when everyone worldwide would know exactly what a boat-tail was,what it did,and the significance of it all.
With respect to how many streamlined cars are there out there.All of them,when taken in the context of what the state-of-the-art was once.
As to vanity,perhaps we should do a poll to see what it is that motivates ecomodders.
  Reply With Quote