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Old 01-28-2010, 05:01 AM   #71 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by shovel View Post
I don't think we can see the "end" of pneumatic tires yet, for a very important safety reason: dumbasses. Dumbasses will ignore and neglect worn out parts, not making them a priority until they really make the car impossible to drive at all. Pneumatic tires simply stop holding air at a certain point, which prevents driving on them when they're extremely worn (though people still try to push the limits, i've seen a lot of visible steel belting on cars in parking lots.. ) . Any replacement for pneumatic tires will need some system of actually preventing use when they become too worn, or we'll all have to share the road with even more dangerous company.

Looks like I'm a dumbass.

I run second-hand tires until they blow.

Most of the time the tread is still good; the sidewalls weathercheck and fail first. But I've run a few til I could see cords too.

Safety hazard? Not yet. I've had two of em let go when the car was parked. I've had three blowouts (that I can remember right now) on the highway. They were complete non-events as far as safety goes. Well, actually, the most dangerous aspect was the potential for being run into on the shoulder by some dumbass tooling down the road that isn't paying attention! They all went like this: "flap flap flap flap flap....." "hmmm, what's that? Oh. Must be a tire." Slow down, pull over. See flat. Put spare on. Gone in 10 minutes. Dirty hands, maybe knees. That's about it.


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Old 01-28-2010, 06:36 PM   #72 (permalink)
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I like the look of streamlining, too, but it quickly gets boring to the average consumer. I'm pleasantly surprised at how well stylists have managed to disguise basically decent shapes with small accents and headlight shapes.
Large grilles are not neccessarily as bad as they seem. If they only lead to restricted passages, most of the air goes around and only low speed flow goes through.
The Citroen 2cv had lawn-chair like seats, and they were even quickly detachable for use outside the car, on picnics and such.
It was the first car designed for radial-belted tires, and a lot of work went into re-tuning the suspension for a decent ride quality. Switching to solid tires would probably lead to a large decrease in ride and handling qualities. Using foam to prevent deflation would raise rolling resistance considerably. Urethane is the most resilient elastomer, and the basis of the skateboard and rollerblade proliferation, but it has been unable to improve on current technology for car tires, despite much research.
If roads were re-built, we could run on steel wheels with rails let into the pavement like street car tracks. That system might be combined with electronic controls to allow zero-clearance drafting in express lanes. The rubber tires would use lowrider technology to let the car down onto the rails for long periods between lane changes, and raise it to allow disengagement from the train of vehicles.
Perhaps the biggest gains could come from public attitudes. Decades ago, a woman in a fur coat smoking a cigarette was highly fashionable. Now, she would be banned from most public places, and risk getting red paint on her coat. Similarly, vehicles carrying less than 50% of their capacity might get pelted with black paintballs.
One of the major causes of ill health is lack of exercise, even though many car trips are quite feasible for an average adult who is in the habit of using a bicycle. A streamlined, all-weather velomobile is faster, giving about twice as many available destinations per hour on a grid road system. Starting a design around the driver, and the 1/10 HP available leads to radical improvements, even when motorized to some extent. Adding 1 HP makes the pedals feel redundant, and the throttle too weak, but adding power as a function of the pedal input encourges effort, and makes the rider feel like Bionic Man.
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Old 01-28-2010, 06:58 PM   #73 (permalink)
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demand-pull engineering

As a corollary to demand-pull inflation/pricing,should "efficiency" ever take off in the marketplace,seems like "competition" would slowly feed all these improvements into production vehicles,as automakers worked to one-up their competitors,introducing feature after feature,which would ultimately embrace the whole spectrum energy saving tech..
Perhaps it will require a big war; economic,cold,hot.Something with a unifying force.
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Old 01-28-2010, 07:33 PM   #74 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by shovel View Post
I think any system/innovation/etc that increases complexity is a step in the wrong direction. There's a saying, "perfection is achieved not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away" and it somewhat applies here.

Streamlining existing processes (or altogether replacing them with simpler ones that produce the same end result) is nearly always a better solution than slapping band-aids on top of band-aids.
The basis of my hydraulic in wheel drives is simplicity, eliminating hundreds of powertrain components, while providing capacitive storage of regenerative energy and constant speed pulse and glide of the engine or motor, whichever you choose.

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Old 01-28-2010, 10:10 PM   #75 (permalink)
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Back to the car voltage level. If the industry finally bit the bullet and went from 12V to 36V or 48V systems then it enables all kind of improvements. 48Volts is the maximum since anything larger would introduce safety hazards.
1) Sizes of all copper wires get smaller. (Saving Weight)
2) With smaller wires it makes it effecient now to move the battery to the rear of the car to help with weight distribution. (12V battery in the trunk means you have to add 5-10 lbs of wire back to the front.)
3) Sizes of all auxilary electrical motors decrease. (Windows, door locks, seats, vents, grill blocks, blower motors, etc)
3) All vehicles could then come with automatic start/stop and belt driven starter/generator. (It is hard to do start/stop with only 12Volts) Saturn VUE has 36V battery for it's belt driven mild hybrid as well as standard 12V.
4) Would allow mild hybrid (and mild brake energy capture) if you replace flywheel with Integrated starter/generator.

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