Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Multi Fuel Utility Vehicle.

It's Green & lets you avoid paying fuel duty.
  [vote for,

Seats 2 comfortably with some luggage space or 4, less comfortably with less luggage space.

A small hybrid flex-fuel vehicle with a hydrogen cell, solar panel & two tanks that runs on any mix of ethanol & vegetable oil in one tank, hydrogen in the other or electricity.

Has adapters for multiple types of charge points & Includes both electric & (for when the battery is dead) a crank starter.

Interchangeable bolt on fiberglass & plastic bodywork is a primary feature, the default kit is designed for fuel economy (aerodynamic) with printed artificial sharkskin finish.

Also has a plug socket so you can run ordinary domestic appliances from the battery should you wish to.

Think a modern hi-tech CITROËN 2CV, Beetle or Mini type 'car of the people' for the intent behind it.

Design criteria (roughly in order of priority) include:

Ease of repair & part replacement, Reliability, Durability, Fuel economy, Affordability, Size (small), Comfort, Range & Performance.

Fashion comes a long last place with luggage space only just before it.

Marketed as a build yourself kit car & sold with home brew & distilling kit with form L5 & instructions on completing it for a rectifier's licence included.

'Green' fuel options aren't widespread yet so one of the vehicles selling points is it can run on any ordinary fuel (the flex-fuel may be optimised for Ethanol-Veg Oil mixes but like the Model T runs on just about any liquid fuel) as well as most green options.

Skewed, Oct 11 2019

Flexible-fuel vehicle https://en.wikipedi...exible-fuel_vehicle
[Skewed, Oct 11 2019]

Ford Model T https://en.wikipedi...g/wiki/Ford_Model_T
So, the flex-fuel thing can be done without any massively modern tech then. [Skewed, Oct 11 2019]

Wood Gas Powered Cars https://www.lowtech.../wood-gas-cars.html
I quite like the thought of running more of these - which could be powered by sustainably managed forests - come a petro-chemical shortage, these should still be viable conversions. [zen_tom, Oct 11 2019]

Hydrogen vehicle https://en.wikipedi...ki/Hydrogen_vehicle
[Skewed, Oct 11 2019]

Fuel cell https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_cell
[Skewed, Oct 11 2019]

Electric car https://en.wikipedi...g/wiki/Electric_car
The first practical electric cars were produced in the 1880s, so there must be a lot of non-proprietary tech out there we can use. [Skewed, Oct 11 2019]

Hybrid vehicle https://en.wikipedi...wiki/Hybrid_vehicle
[Skewed, Oct 11 2019]

You'll need form L5 for a Rectifier’s licence https://www.gov.uk/guidance/spirits-duty
I 'think' it's free to apply for? [Skewed, Oct 11 2019]

Synthetic Shark Skin https://www.smithso...ark-skin-180951514/
[Skewed, Oct 11 2019]

Don't bother with wood gas [zen] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steam_car
just go straight to a steam car if you want to use wood. [Skewed, Oct 11 2019]

Sinclair C5 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinclair_C5
WikipediA [Skewed, Oct 14 2019]

Lotus Omnivore engine https://youtu.be/fIG9pWldO8U
video animation of the engine [discontinuuity, Oct 14 2019]

Hydrogen combustion engine https://en.wikipedi...tion_engine_vehicle
internal combustion engines can run on hydrogen with few modifications [discontinuuity, Oct 14 2019]

Lotus - runs on coffee https://en.wikipedi...wiki/Lotus_Bakeries
[MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 14 2019]

Mythical Model T Flex Fuel https://www.hemming...multi-fuel-vehicle/
[bs0u0155, Oct 15 2019]

YouTube: EEVblog: Sinclair C5 Teardown & Test Drive https://www.youtube...watch?v=xS6q27VOTOk
The video description describes it as an "electric "car"". [notexactly, Dec 09 2019]

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       //Reliability. Durability. Affordability.// Ah yes, the so- called "magic triangle" of the automotive industry. You're allowed to pick any none from three.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 11 2019

       Which is why of course we won't be employing anyone from the automotive industry in our design team.   

       You can actually have all of them, just ranked by priority.   

       The reason the automotive industry spreads the myth ..   

       //You're allowed to pick any none from three//   

       .. is of course because they've other priorities ranked far above them that tend to be in direct opposition to them, specifically Profit, Cash flow, Repeat sales & (as they often also have interests in fuel outlets & production, or those have interests in them) Consumables sales (which mostly means fuel but, in opposition to durability, includes parts).
Skewed, Oct 11 2019

       Ranked #1 is the ability to crush cyclists and their wretched velocipedes without sustaining any marks or damage, and without leaving any evidence at the site of the <Coughing/> "accident" ...
8th of 7, Oct 11 2019

       Unfortunately this is all just a bunch of baked goods with a generous handful of WIBNI sprinkled on top.
Skewed, Oct 11 2019

       //rectifier's licen(s)e//[+]
Voice, Oct 11 2019

       //without sustaining any marks//   

       //without leaving any evidence//   

       So you're in the market for a streetsweeper with bull bars on the front & the brushes on the back then?   

       Extra powerful washer jets misadjusted to wash the bars clean might also be useful.
Skewed, Oct 11 2019

       Thing is, if you need a vehicle it means you're starting from the wrong place.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 11 2019

       // washer jets misadjusted //   

       We already have a passenger-side jet "misadjusted" so as to be able to spray cyclists at traffic lights, with a malodorous and highly aggressive detergent solution.   

       "Aw, sorry mate, didn't see you there !! " (in your stupid garish plastic hat, and dayglo lycra, and flashing LED beacons ...)
8th of 7, Oct 11 2019

       The bits that formulate this magic-mobile are fit in where, weigh how much, and affect the driving, handling, suspension, and performance characteristics exactly how?
RayfordSteele, Oct 13 2019

       //The bits that formulate this magic//   

       I'll just say again..   

       //baked goods with a generous handful of WIBNI//   

       No magic involved,   

       & the WIBNI is only in the area of unreasonable hope any auto manufacturer will mash these comestibles together.. so you've lost me [Ray], need to explain yourself better?   

       Though that aside we hasten to point out that other than fuel economy 'performance' issues were somewhat low on our list of design priorities, field tests to date have shown it performs well in comparative trials with a Sinclair C5 & we're quite happy with that.   

       We do feel you've missed the charms of (what we consider) the best feature of the sales package, the home still (not part of the car of course) sold with it.
Skewed, Oct 14 2019

       Technical and economic feasibility are questionable. So [+].   

       One of the many things I find infuriating about modern cars (and other appliances) is lack of maintainability. Even with skills and tools, it’s impossible to maintain them because parts aren’t available, or it’s just bloody impossible to get the damn thing apart.
Frankx, Oct 14 2019

       [Frankx] yes! As with smartphones, it's more like you rent the car. You're not allowed to do anything to it yourself other than drive it (and even that only in the "correct" way...). Non-maintainability and planned obsolescence will be the death of us all.
neutrinos_shadow, Oct 14 2019

       Combustion engines can burn hydrogen fuel, which would be cheaper than a fuel cell but not as clean or efficient.   

       Lotus made a prototype "omnivore" engine with variable compression that could run on gasoline, ethanol, or diesel.   

       (see links)
discontinuuity, Oct 14 2019

       //Lotus made a prototype "omnivore" engine//   

       Ford did that with the Model T way back in 1908 [old link, 2nd one down], it ran on gasoline, kerosene, or ethanol.   

       That Lotus took another hundred years (plus some) to learn to do the same really isn't something to shout about ;p
Skewed, Oct 14 2019

       Yes, but it's excusable given that their main business is making biscuits to go with coffee.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 14 2019

       Really? I haven't ever had a Ford biscuit, and I am a bit of a connoisseur of coffee and baked goods combinations. Does Ford have only a limited regional distribution of its biscuits?
pocmloc, Oct 15 2019

       You can ferment biscuits you know [poc], you can ferment practically anything organic, so the Ford T can run on biscuits too, indirectly, probably more efficient just to ferment the biscuit ingredients before making them into biscuits though.
Skewed, Oct 15 2019

       I know, I've had kvass.   

       //Ford T// presumably related to Yorkshire Tea biscuits which are made in a T shape?
pocmloc, Oct 15 2019

       Meaning that in my automotive career, I've spent a good amount of time massaging the numerous constraints that automobiles are designed around, and coming up with concepts that roughly fit that design space.   

       Solar panels are bloody inefficient for collecting much more than a small fan's worth of power.   

       Running on the usual flex fuels requires chemical compatibility and some engine flow, cooling, and timing compromises that aren't pretty. Expanding the fuel base beyond that is trying to move in every direction simultaneously. Electronic valving can help, but maple syrup has a different viscosity than gasoline, you see, and so doesn't quite want the same cylinder or header shape or intake size. And whatever you do, don't put Sturton's latest "all-natural tequila- derived recycled worm-juice fuel" in it; the resulting gunk will clog up your catalytic converter something fierce.
RayfordSteele, Oct 15 2019

       Well we're not looking for a super sports car [Ray].   

       Anything that performs as well as the original Model T would do us (well, me) & I'm sure a hundred years on we can do better than that.   

       Your expectations are perhaps just beyond what would be my requirements for 'performance' in a 'utility' vehicle.   

       Or maybe you just missed or misunderstood the utility bit in the title?
Skewed, Oct 15 2019

       //Solar panels are bloody inefficient//   

       Doesn't matter, that bits mostly so we can virtue signal, play the radio with the engine off without draining the battery & make sure there's always a bit of juice in the battery to start the engine (we know we've got the crank starter but we'd rather not use that unless there's no other option).   

       We do not expect to run the vehicle on it for a round trip of the british coastline with nothing in the tank.
Skewed, Oct 15 2019

       //Solar panels are bloody inefficient//   

       Negatively efficient, really. The power density will never offset the weight/area/cost.   

       //Model T way back in 1908 [old link, 2nd one down], it ran on gasoline, kerosene, or ethanol.//   

       Take a look at the <link> The model T was accidentally flex fuel. By modern standards it's extremely low compression, retarded timing (5deg), and rich running engine. That makes it non-fussy about fuel. The knock-on effects of this are horrendous efficiency. A model T is a 10-20mpg vehicle, that's 1960's muscle car territory, with 0 fun and 0 cool. Low compression/pedestrian timing and rich mixture also help it get away with minimal cooling by thermosyphon.
bs0u0155, Oct 15 2019

       //We do not expect to run the vehicle on it for a round trip of the British coastline with nothing in the tank.//   

       You are such a pessimist, [Skewed]. Did you know that the UK receives more sunlight than any other developed country in the world? That the difference in insolation between midsummer and midwinter is less than any country more than ten degrees away from the equator? That the predictability of sunshine is higher in the UK than almost anywhere else? Coupled with our superb system of roads, this makes the UK the absolute number one country in which to operate solar- powered vehicles.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 15 2019

       Hang on. I may be thinking of Dubai.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 15 2019

       //Did you know that the UK receives more sunlight than any other developed country in the world? That the difference in insolation between midsummer and midwinter is less than any country more than ten degrees away from the equator?//   

       My bovine poo meter's going nuts. Or the insolation meter has been installed under a streetlight.
bs0u0155, Oct 15 2019

       I did not misunderstand you. Even utility vehicles go through a great deal of performance testing to become moderately passable.   

       The design space for cars truly includes a great deal of unworkable nonsense due to the constraints.
RayfordSteele, Oct 16 2019

       Can we bypass those constraints by not calling it a car, or do we just need a different design space ;)
Skewed, Oct 16 2019

       //Even utility vehicles go through a great deal of performance testing to become moderately passable.//   

       Are performance goals and levels of testing needed now at a cripplingly high level? The amount of platform sharing, use of design modules, and cooperative development projects kind of suggest that. I mean, the Mini was kicked off in 56', 2 engineers, 2 students & some draughtsmen had a prototype together by 57', car is in production and on sale in 59'. I think that would be an agressive timeline for a bootlatch nowadays.
bs0u0155, Oct 16 2019

       People expect their cars to go 150,000 miles or more, get 30+ miles to the gallon, survive years of road salt and dirt roads and dust storms and such, not wake the neighbors, go faster than the fastest land animal, park themselves, have 8 cup holders, protect all passengers as well as the pedestrians they hit, listen to them asking to play their favorite jingle, look out for other traffic, and do so for less than their monthly cell phone bill. That’s a pretty selective Venn diagram.   

       There’s a scary amount of material science and technology that goes into engine design and manufacturing. Non mech eng types don’t really appreciate how much analysis work goes into the simplest of parts used.
RayfordSteele, Oct 17 2019

       //not wake the neighbors, park themselves, have 8 cup holders, protect all passengers as well as the pedestrians they hit, listen to them asking to play their favorite jingle, look out for other traffic//   

       I think I begin to see the problem, you can junk all those 'requirements' for a start.
Skewed, Oct 17 2019

       It's the difference between a viable commercial product, and someone's shed-dream.   

       Until we're all paid handsomely for tinkering about in our sheds (and let's hope that day will one day be upon us) sadly, the constrictive commercial Venn diagram will be forever imposing its requirement constraints - and so informing our best and brightest engineering minds.   

       Alternately, there's always the military, but they're likely to have an equally tight albeit different set of constraints - except perhaps in the midst of desperate total war, when it seems desperation and a need to gain even a temporary advantage made radical technological redrawing of those constraints viable, generating such things as pyecrete, panjandrums, inflatable decoy tanks, the krummlauf, bouncing bombs, pigeon-guidance and all manner of ingenious convention-bending.   

       So in terms of (commercial) viability, it's a choice between sheds or total war - I'm all for sheds - which for me means - in the current context at least, finding some existing supply of pre-completed work, and making modifications. There's precedent in retro-fitting LPG kits or bioethanol conversions onto stock-cars, often with good results - or the wood-gas conversions which too, on a robust pre- electronic-managed vehicle has tended to go quite well. In the past, I've seen modifications done on ancient land-rovers, which can be picked up for next-to nothing on military surplus sites, and these would make an ideal base for such tinkering.
zen_tom, Oct 17 2019

       //People expect their cars to...// Hmm, I admit it's a tough job improving on such a mature product. I am amazed at how many 300k mile 96' Toyota Camrys in my area survive on apparently no maintenance, annual small crashes and roads covered in salt and/or monster potholes. I wonder how much work is in actually improving a car, and how much is fitting a planet's worth of government compliance into one product.   

       //play their favorite jingle, look out for other traffic,//   

       I don't want any of that... there is definately a population of car people like me. I hate all the bongs, beeps, the crowded design. The touchscreen that's laughably out of date by the car's 1st oil change, the complexity in general. Someone took the wing mirror off my better half's Mazda, should be no big deal, a new one with indicator, heating, electric adjustment and blind spot monitoring is $500. Of course it then needs matching to the body color, call that $150. That's nuts, leaving the only financially responsible option: have a slightly shitter car with a base mirror and a permanent warning light, like a cab driver. Down the road is a Volvo 240 wagon, I covet it, especially the inviting V8-sized engine bay.
bs0u0155, Oct 17 2019

       What about a bike? A human can run on a great many kinds of fuels (even without necessarily needing them fermented), and heals automatically from a wide variety of types of damage. The bike can more easily than a car be made easily repairable, too.   

       // the Mini was kicked off in 56', 2 engineers, 2 students & some draughtsmen had a prototype together by 57', car is in production and on sale in 59'. I think that would be an agressive timeline for a bootlatch nowadays. //   

       I wish I could design and build a prototype of something as complex as a car latch in under three hours, never mind production…
notexactly, Dec 10 2019

       //a car latch in under three hours,//   

       I was saying 3 YEARS would be aggressive for clean sheet latch design to production. And there are still recalls, there were a couple of Renault designs of latch that forced a big recall sometime in the mid 2000s.   

       The mini, like most things in the 50's and '60s essentially entered production as a prototype. It's spectacularly efficient at at rusting, they made sure of that by making it very leaky, the heater would be inadequete for a car half it's size, but great at simply encouraging a slightly higher humidity for rusting the trickier spots, the radiator design was stupid, the rear radius arms were fragile, everything feels tinny and flimsy... and so on. Still great though.
bs0u0155, Dec 10 2019

       You need a heater? what's wrong with you, don't you own a jumper?
Skewed, Dec 10 2019


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