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Quis custodiet the custard?
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The idea of an ultralight car isn't
new except to implement them with a
standardized design with their own road
where bikes would be too slow and cars
would be too fast and dangerous.
Lots of a car is basically armor to stand
up to, ironically, another car's "armor" in
of a collision. A car's engine is
designed to get this heavy armor up to
speeds and the job of moving the
passenger ends up being a small
percentage of the equation. Cars also
lots of extra horsepower available for
hauling 4 or more people and a trunk full
of stuff which is seldom done.
The ultralight standard would allow one
two passenger max and basically be
enclosed 3 or 4 wheel motorized bikes.
You'd wear a helmet to make up for the
fact that it's very lightly protected with
perhaps a minimum plastic shell and a
metal passenger compartment cage. The
most protection would come from two
things: the roads being designed to
accommodate these and the fact that
would only drive around other very low
mass / low speed vehicles. A road with
raised sides would also eliminate objects
you would crash into. Off-ramps could
actually use nets to catch errant vehicles
that didn't quite make the turn. Heck,
could even have the walls of the road be
some kind of padded netting for that
matter as long as it looked good.
The 75 pound 45 mph numbers are just
starting point that you could tweak to
the most efficiency but they'd be cheap,
incredibly fuel efficient and the roads
make for these things could be smaller
and cheaper than a highway. Since they'd
be almost silent you could even put
"ultralight commuter roads" in nicer
than you'd put a 4 lane highway.
Supplement the major commuter routes
with these things where possible and you
could theoretically cut fuel consumption
per passenger mile to way below what
public conveyance like a bus or train
When you get to your exit, you switch to
"bike speed mode" and use the bike
to get to your final destination. I wouldn't
want these things to start pushing bikes
out of their areas so as part of the
standardization, the bike speed mode
would be enforced in bike areas and an
indicator visible from the outside
that you can't go any faster than the bike
speed limit would need to be seen or
you'd get a ticket. (A light or little flag or
something.) Bikes would have the right of
way in these areas.
These ultralights would, by necessity
like little spaceships with their very cool
aerodynamic shape. My model would
with a joystick.
Might look like this sort of.
Although these are butt-ugly. [doctorremulac3, Oct 14 2008]
None of this crap
Style guidelines would be strictly enforced [doctorremulac3, Oct 15 2008]
(?) More like this
Maybe without all the flags and stuff but basically a rocket with wheels. [doctorremulac3, Oct 15 2008]
(?) Eh, sort of.
Still looks more like a pod than a rocket. [doctorremulac3, Oct 15 2008]
Needs a fairing
[normzone, Oct 15 2008]
Here ya go.
Might not want to pick up your date in one of these though. [doctorremulac3, Oct 15 2008]
||I voted (+), but "style guidelines would be strictly enforced" ? What about us home builders, the case mod crowd, and all that? If it meets the test (gets great mileage, looks strange, and readily crumples, why can't we play too?
||I think most people wouldn't want
something that looks like a rolling
so you probably wouldn't need style
pulling people over.
||So yea, as long as it fit the tech
you'd be good to roll.
||And even if they did want something
goofy by my standards, hey, free
||I was going to bun this until your pejorative comment about my "rolling bathtub" design. Actually more of form fitting mylar jacuzzi.
||Management would like to apologize for
any comments, innuendo or statements
that may have cast this particular
beloved bath fixture in negative or
||We at Remulac International share the
love and respect of all bathroom
fixtures be they bathtubs, sinks, bidets,
||Our beloved founder likes to have a
drink now and then and sometimes
forgets that "fixturist" statements can
be hurtful and counterproductive.
||Please accept our apologies.
||True enough. I'm assuming that anybody lucky enough to have free access to the internet and the time to enjoy forums like this are living in relatively free societies but who knows.
||I'd like to see the statistcs of which countries log in to see this site. English is read and spoken as a second language in many countries outside England the US, Canada and Australia etc. I'd be curious.
||Many more people learn English as a second language than learn it as a first language.
This is a good idea, but there's a better case for making 'designated roads' for bicycles first (in cities, at least).
||I've always liked those enclosed trikes you see in India (Bajaj et al) and the utility vehicles used in grounds maintenance: a little weatherproofing and cng and/or plug-in electric (and while we're at it, carbon-fibre) and they would be more than suitable for city/burb quick trips.
||I live in Palo Alto California USA that has a real extensive series of
designated bike lanes. Some are very wide, almost as wide as the
auto portion of the road. They do make biking around a heck of a lot
easier. We also have several designated "commuter" bike routes that
are several miles long and cross bridges etc. in many cases.
||I'd like to change the design concept a bit. When you switch to "bike
mode" in the bike lanes you should have the choice of speed retarded
motor or actually pedaling yourself. Either way there should be an
external indication that you're not in full power mode that could
hazard regular bikes.
||There are existing legal definitions that cover vehicles of this type. In the US, some are known as "neighborhood vehicles" - restricted to local streets (no freeways), low speeds and with subsequently much looser design codes.
||I'm currently in the process of building something to fit into another legal definition - the bicycle. As long as the motor is under a certain power limit, and usable pedals are attached, it's legally a bike, no matter the number of wheels and passengers*. There are any number of electric scooters tootling about the neighborhood that technically fit into this definition - no driver's license required, even. Mine will be basically a recumbent delta-trike with integrated rollcage and vinyl fairing.
||There's even, as you point out, already a dedicated lane network in a lot of places.
||* local laws may differ, of course.
||That pillbox car in your second link is hilariously gorgeous and I do want.
||So far as i can see, the main use for a car is to move around heavy objects, so i don't think there's much point in this, but i do like it.
||The heavy objects which cars mainly move around are called people. Look at the occupants of other cars next time you're out. How many have large or heavy object in vs. how many are being used to transport just the driver?
||There is a place for very light cars (commonly called cyclecars) but as this idea suggests, there is a problem in sharing the roads with the 2 ton behemoths which are now described as 'family' cars.