View Single Post
Old 12-30-2007, 02:25 AM   #1 (permalink)
EcoModding Lurker
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 11
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
eta: super efficient 3 wheeled car (project thread)

Hi, I'm new. "eta" is the Greek letter for efficiency; I want to build a very efficient, super lightweight 3 wheeled car. My design: a side by side 2 seater using the Suzuki 3 cylinder 5 spd drive train.

2 powered wheels in front and a single rear wheel, using as many OEM pieces as possible, front struts, brakes, steering, with a fabricated swing arm rear suspension with a coil-over shock. A steel tube space frame with bonded-on ("stressed") honeycomb aluminum body panels.

I want to make a "bare-bones" running prototype first, with minimal body panels and just a lexan windshield, no doors or other windows. Later I intend to add aerodynamic body panels and weather protection, removable "gullwing" doors, etc.

This will legally be a motorcycle, which makes all the government hassles more manageable; it will have a full roll cage and 4 point racing harnesses, helmets will be worn.

I hope to keep the curb weight down near 800 lbs and so it should be fun to drive, have excellent performance with truly outstanding economy. This 3 wheel layout gives fantastic aerodynamics, a perfect teardrop shape, less weight, rolling resistance, etc.

Your first question, will it tip over? A 3 wheeler of this "tadpole" 2F, 1R layout can be just as stable as a good 4 wheeler, if it has a wider front track, low cg, and proper weight distribution. I plan to use the right-side axles from the 4 cylinder manual trans Suzuki on both sides, as they are longer, to increase the front track from 52.3" up to 60-66".

I also want to experiment with propane. It burns cleaner, the equipment is simpler and I can use an 11:1 compression ratio possible with the 100+ octane rating to get very good efficiency. Yes propane doesn't have the energy/gal of gasoline, but it has HIGHER energy/lb.

I hope eventually this will be a universal frame design that can utilize different drive trains such as VW diesel, or electric, or even hydrogen. I have some rough drawings and notes, including a static stability calculation I can post here if there is interest.

At this point I need feed back and a real engineer to help finish the design. I have shown my sketches to Dave Norton, see his Shrike design online. So, any comments about my little project?

  Reply With Quote