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Old 01-15-2008, 03:46 AM   #1 (permalink)
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X-Prize team is looking for advice

Hello fellow Ecomodder forum users.

I have been lurking on this website for sometime now and am convinced that there are some very enterprising and resourceful people here.


My brother and I are debating to enter into the X-Prize competition. We are convinced that we have a much better way and concept for transportation than what is currently being developed and offered. As many of you know the X-Prize is mainly about finding the best business model that mets their preset technical goals(4 wheels, 4 passengers, 100MPG, low emissions, cargo room... etc).

It is our intention to make all of our research and technology open to the public. We are not interested in creating a business, as we are in creating a community devoted to new concepts in transportation. We are determining if an open, communal approach to designing a vehicle is a realistic possibility.

The types of technologies that we will be utilizing are improved fluid dynamics, energy recapturing technology, lightweight composite recyclable materials, and simplicity. Our goal is to make a car as easy to assemble, upgrade, and repair as your home desktop computer. We are currently in contact with several manufactures and engineers that have agreed to support us technically.

My brother and I have been developing a technology that we feel would offer a new paradigm in vehicular transportation efficiency. It is our hope to showcase this technology in a vehicle at the X-Prize competition. We still have some legal issues to resolve before we unveil our concept but it mainly involves a unique but not uncommon motor and brake design.

We are looking for individuals who would be interested in donating their time and talents. We are not car designers and there is a huge amount of work that will have to be done to even get this thing off the ground. I am just looking to see who is interested in helping out a communal effort to create the best vehicle in an open source environment. Even if it is just offering us your advice or sage wisdom from your years of experience. Mainly we are looking for individuals with mechanical, electrical, and plastics engineering expertise. We are also looking for artists, software and computer engineers, and business (marketing) minded people. If you are a gifted writer or an English major I would appreciate your help in editing and proof reading documents. There are probably a 100 other odd jobs that we could use your help with.

If you are interested in knowing more about us and our project please reply below or send me a message through this forum. Any advice on how best to proceed with an online collaboration of this sort would also be useful, as we are not only planning a web site but also a large scale meeting space to have real-time communication on what we are working on.

I again want to thank the forum and its administrators for their work and dedication to our common cause.

Sincerely,
Brian Shircliffe

P.S. I would also be interested in a wish list of features you would most want in an X-Prize winning car.

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Old 01-15-2008, 10:17 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Hey there and welcome to the site! I'm a little strapped for time now (need to head to class soon), but I'm sure that we'll have some good input for you on the type of car we see as being able to accomplish this kinda of task.

Anywho, what were you thinking already as far as design?

Best of luck,
Ben
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Old 01-15-2008, 10:47 AM   #3 (permalink)
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well simplicity is our main goal... Ideally we are hoping to have a base plan of specifications that can be modified with different body types so that changing the design or shape of the outer body would be as easy as snapping in a new cover.

One of our supporters is on the board of the National Composites Lab in Dayton OH, and we are looking into composite plastics for most of the body other than the frame which will most likely be aluminum or perhaps a carbon-carbon like substance. Though they do have some exciting composites that offer the strength of steel all from recycled plastics.

The first renders I made were of a tear drop shaped body with a raised boat tail at the end... most of our ideas for the aerodynamics are coming from aerospace texts but basicaly the look is of an upside down wing shape.

Though I want to point out that the propulsion system and energy recapturing unit that we are working on should enable even an average car to increase its economy with out any changes in weight or aero dynamics... infact we are hoping to see our technology being used on locomotives and large trucks with out too much significant change to their design.

This is a project we have been both working on for a number of years for fun, but there is a major change in technologies that is finally being realized that should make our concept a practicality thanks to new small scale nano devices.

I am more than happy to answer any other questions too.. please feel free to call me
However I got to run and replace my front struts on my car this morning.

Brian
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Old 01-15-2008, 02:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
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An Aptera shape with Tata simplicity?

I like the idea of non-petroleum based plastics, like Henry Ford's soybean/hemp composite.
http://www.hempplastic.com/newSite/h...cs_fordcar.htm
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Old 01-15-2008, 02:55 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Brian -

It seems like you're off to a good start with the aero and whatnot, what goals do you have to meet in terms of cargo capacity, safety, and other things that might affect the shape?

Also, what kind of power specs do you think the car will need to meet your goals?

Glad to have you around,
Benj
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Old 01-15-2008, 04:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Here are the preliminary specifications that must be met according to their draft guidelines.


Quote:
All vehicles or products must be designed to achieve AXP energy and emissions requirements, i.e.:
Fuel economy: at least 100 MPGe
Total (wells-to-wheels) Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions expressed as equivalent grams of C02 per mile: no more than 200 g/mi
Criteria emissions: no worse than Tier II, bin 5
GHG emissions from vehicle production: no worse than typical vehicles in production today
All vehicles will be required to have a minimum set of features. Those features include but may not be limited to:
• Enclosed cabin (or convertible), with windshield and windows
• Windshield wipers and washers
• Seat belts and restraints
• Rear and side view mirrors
• Feedback mechanisms to provide essential data to the driver (speed, fuel remaining, range, etc.)
• Lamps, lighting, horn, indicators, brake lights and reflective devices consistent with safety regulations
Furthermore, the following features are required to accommodate AXP requirements for vehicle testing and monitoring:
Sufficient ground clearance, cooling and attachment points to facilitate dynamometer testing
Marmon flange for connection to emissions sampling equipment
A standard, AXP-supplied on-board data acquisition and telemetry package that captures and transmits at a minimum: fuel-flow (for liquid and gaseous fuels), amp-hours (for electrical fuels), GPS data (for location and speed)

MAINSTREAM CLASS REQUIREMENTS
Capacity: 4 or more passengers (95th percentile adult male) and 10 cubic feet of useful cargo space
Wheels: 4 or more wheels
Performance: 0-60 mph acceleration in less than 12 seconds, minimum top speed 100 mph, minimum range 200 miles, 60 - 0 MPH braking in no more than 170 feet, lateral acceleration (300-ft-dia skidpad) 0.70 g, 600 ft slalom (Motor Trend) speed 55 MPH, gradeability 55 MPH on a 7.5% grade, noise levels within drive-by standards (74 decibels max)
Features: Heater, air-conditioner, audio system, real-time eco-feedback display5
ALTERNATIVE CLASS REQUIREMENTS
Seating Capacity: 2 or more passengers seated side-by-side (95th percentile adult male) and 5 cubic feet of useful cargo space
Wheels: No minimum requirement
Performance: 0-60 mph acceleration in less than 12 seconds, minimum top speed 80 mph, minimum range 100 miles, 60 - 0 MPH braking in no more than 170 feet, lateral acceleration (300-ft-dia skidpad) 0.70 g, 600 ft slalom (Motor Trend) speed 55 MPH, gradeability 45 MPH on a 7.5% grade, noise levels within drive-by standards (74 decibels max)
Features: Real-time eco-feedback display
The AXP reserves the right to modify and expand these requirements while preserving their basic intent.
As you can see most of the other teams will automatically be only able to compete in the highly competitive alternative class (Apteva and other 3 wheel cars) We will compete in the Mainstream. I anticipate the cars will most likely be hybrid drives and efficient fuel consuming technologies. I am eager to see if the compressed air vehicles will be able to compete in the mainstream, as I feel they have the best chance to be able to make a case for a wide spread re-fueling infrastructure.

95% Percentile man is a lil hard to determine.. but I think they mean that the car will have to be able to hold 4 215lbs men. I am assuming that the other specifications are with only 1 driver. these are very challenging goals, especially the accessories... We have solutions for all of these including a very lightweight electric air conditioner. Ideally we would like such a modular system that if a user wants an air conditioner, they would just install one in the summer time and take it out in the winter and replace it with a heater coil... we have several ideas about everything... but simplicity is our main goal. Unfortunately I feel that even with the best engineering and number crunching we will just not be able to totally determine the exact specifics of braking, acceleration, and handling until a prototype is made. I know the major car manufactures now mainly rely on computer models and crash testing that we will simply not be able to afford or design in time.

We have already thought up some very interesting ideas for replacing the electrical system of the car... one that we hope will leave the judges thinking "why didn't anyone else think of this?" All of which is current technology that everyone already understands. Once we get the green light from our legal guy that our original ideas are protected for this competition we will post a website where many of our ideas are will outlined and we will be asking for comments for each accessory and component.

BTW I love the idea of using hemp plastic since hemp is such an amazingly fibrous plant... but our concept would be taking different types of plastics that typically don't like to play and mix with each other and using them in the design. This isn't main stream technology yet because it has been too cost prohibitive due to the high research and development. All of the other American car manufactures have been looking and experimenting with this concept for years, but all but Ford have abandoned their research... probably due to poor sales.

Like I said about the aero dynamics earlier... we would like the car to be very aero dynamic to be able to get an edge over other vehicles on the actual course... but the technology we are planning on using.. which is a radically different type of regenerative braking... means that we will hopefully only be compensating for the loses due to friction, heat, and drag... The technology is scalable but we feel that one of the major reasons people don't work on their own cars is because they are dangerous to work on due to the cars weight mainly.
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Old 01-15-2008, 10:20 PM   #7 (permalink)
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What is the fuel you are looking at using? I don't see you coming out anywhere in your post and actually saying "Gasoline" "Electric" "Water" or "hybrid" .
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Old 01-15-2008, 11:27 PM   #8 (permalink)
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well this is a good question. We plan on using a totally electric system. However instead of conventional batteries we plan on using super capacitors... here is a wikipedia link for anyone who wants to know what a super capacitor is.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supercapacitor

Here is another link to a similar power train

http://www.killacycle.com/about/

These are the types of technologies that we will be utilizing... except modified and tweaked for increased efficiency.
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Old 01-15-2008, 11:48 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Supercaps! How much storage can you get out of those?
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Old 01-16-2008, 12:11 AM   #10 (permalink)
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here is some more information... I have been trying to contact this company about getting some samples and I have yet to hear back from them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EEStor

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