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Upgradable Autos

How about buying one car per decade?
  (+15, -1)(+15, -1)
(+15, -1)
  [vote for,

Many car manufacturers products don't seem to have taken much notice of the current world recession, it is only their balance sheets that have. They continue to bring out new and expensive cars. Why not just make upgrades for the existing cars that everyone already has? Military Tanks and helicopters are frequently upgraded rather than being discarded and replaced, why not cars? Major car manufactures should offer services in their garages around the world to upgrade your 2008 BM to the 2009 model where you drive your car into the shop, the body, tech and engine parts replaced or upgraded and you pick it up next weekend. So often the only real difference between models is a headlight, we don't need to buy an entire new car to change a light bulb do we? This way, depreciation won't be steep and you can upgrade and add value to your car annually. Personally, I would rather keep my car and buy an upgrade package rather than buy an entire new car. It seems bizarre to pay €20,000 every two years buying a new car just for a few minor adjustments, when we can just use the car we alreaddy have and add the €1000 of alterations. We are really going x to x+y, so why not just buy the y? Do we really need another x? This will be environmentally friendly and will drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions in production. Sure, sometimes the difference between two models is huge, however in most cases it really isn't and If we offer this service for the more stable and established cars, this will be a great success. Can you imagine how effective this will be when cars are designed to be upgraded? When thinking about the implications, avoid thinking about upgrading between two existing models (as the changes we make would be different), rather think about cars that are designed to be upgraded and last a long time.

The short term designs would allow us to use interesting materials.

danman, Jul 05 2009

Toyota to ferrari http://www.autocult.../full/nickop576.jpg
This was on top gear a while ago. It shows 1% of what we can do with this idea. [danman, Jul 05 2009]

Car Jet Car_20Jet
[theircompetitor, Jul 09 2009]

Michelle Kaufmann's house. http://www.mkd-arc..../chicago_museum.php
[danman, Jul 20 2009]


       Excellent idea; I'm all for reducing unnecessary waste. It would be an interesting marketing strategy for a new line of cars, or even a new auto-maker to enter the industry. [+]

       [21Q], this differs from home-garagers, because it's the shop that does all the upgrading, not the end user.   

       [danman], how about re-titling this "Upgradable Autos"?
swimswim, Jul 05 2009

       Yes 21, very true, but this should be implemented on a much larger scale, not just available to a specific niche. I think that why this is important is that it allows us to experiment with entirely new materials and designs.   

       Also when you are upgrading your car frequently, you no longer demand the mundane. Perhaps we will see some bat mobile look a likes.
danman, Jul 05 2009

       // never lived in Daytona, Florida //   

       "It's life, Jim, but not as we know it..... "
8th of 7, Jul 05 2009

       Great suggestion swimswim, the reason I named it 'what to do in a recession' is because I thought of it when I was asked what auto manufacturers are going to do in the next few years.
danman, Jul 05 2009

       The idea is sound, however modern cars do not lend themseleves well to upgrades.   

       Ford cars sold in Europe used to have many interchangeable major components, so you could put the smallest engine in the biggest body etc.   

       This would require a shift to a more modular design strategy, with the emphasis shifted from quick, easy factory assembly toward later modification.
Twizz, Jul 06 2009

       //The idea is sound, however modern cars do not lend themselves well to upgrades...This would require a shift to a more modular design strategy//   

       Yes Twizz, 'avoid thinking about upgrading between two existing models (as the changes we make would be different), rather think about cars that are designed to be upgraded and last a long time'. As swimswim stated, 'new line(s) of cars' will be produced. That, I think, is even more revolutionary than updating our existing cars. Perhaps we will have 'a new auto-maker to enter the industry', where you buy your one car which is then updated...   

       Some modern cars definitely do lend themselves to upgrades and those are the existing cars that will have this service available (also increasing their value).   

       So we will update some existing cars, but mainly, it will be the cars of the 'new auto manufacturers' which will be upgraded.
danman, Jul 06 2009

       Maybe Ford, GM, Nissan etc should put some of their bailout money into investigating this modular concept (and pay [danman]!)   

       It's different - but that's what's needed right now.   

       Also consider that the modular approach would allow you not just to have different cars in series, but also in parallel.   

       Build a distribution network of swap-out service providers - drive in and swap across parts to change the car's capabilities. Drive-by-wire technologies & the current shift towards electric motors in particular could make modular assemblies very flexible.   

       You could even use the parts on a rental basis - e.g. just for the weekend
kindachewy, Jul 06 2009

       Great idea with the rentals kindachewy! 'Wednesday, Lambo time!'   

       It brings about a whole new set of ideas, makes me think of grand theft auto when you could drive your car into a shady garage, get your car sprayed and drive out.   

       I like this, but I think that it would possibly be best to stick series upgrades and restrict parallels, it just seems better for service ect. and gives some cars a better status.
danman, Jul 06 2009

       Great idea, both for the bleeding anuses/ani that are motor vehicle manufacturers, and for the public in general.   

       Given half a brain, the manufacturers should go for it. But I fear we hope "a half to much" on their part.   

       For far too long the big car companies have been in the marketing/finance business, getting us to recycle bad debt for another 3-5 years bad debt. They stopped selling product in the 1960's (I would say). They have been selling us lifestyle and debt.   

       Maybe they could just stop and sell us cars...and parts of cars.
4whom, Jul 06 2009

       //For far too long the big car companies have been in the marketing/finance business, getting us to recycle bad debt for another 3-5 years bad debt.//   

       Agreed 4whom. It activities like these which cripple our economy here in SA. Many of our citizens are 'uneducated' and have little or no understanding of compound interest.   

       We cannot just invent for the stupid. Let the stupid invent for the stupid-- that way they will become extinct very quickly.   

       What we need to do is come up with ideas that will work and then once they become technologically boring, the general public will adopt them and find them interesting.   

       We need new manufactures. Once the existing manufacturers have collected their debt, they will be faced with the decision of changing their game or closing down.
danman, Jul 06 2009

       And you a Muncie Boy (SA boy)?   

       There was a movement/company a while back here in SA, that wanted to buy obsolete vehicles designs and plants. I think at that time the VW beetle had just been discontinued in Brasil, and likewise the old mini cooper was up for sale lock, stock and barrel.   

       What a great idea that would have been. Brand new "old vehicles". You can see why the Beemers of the world may have quashed it..
4whom, Jul 06 2009

       Baked. For decades the model T remained essentially unchanged from the factory. If you wanted a better T you bought aftermarket parts, transmissions, lights, bodies, gauges. It was the most upgraded model of car it history, and the most effectively supported car, for aftermarket parts, ever. Not even the lowly VW Beetle has had as many options at the owners disposal.
WcW, Jul 06 2009

       [+] To be honest this idea is worthy of a small parable starring Jim tinged with a little madness...
madness, Jul 07 2009

       //eco-refits// hear hear. I'm renovating a 12-13 year old vehicle and even though there *is* aftermarket eco stuff, e85 conversion kits and the like (which seems to be the most I can do unless somebody dumps a decent pressure tank in my lap), very little to none of the manufacturers of same seem to be able to provide anything more than marketing mojo.
FlyingToaster, Jul 07 2009

       I'm pretty sure GM propossed a chassis with replacable top bodies a few years back, remember seeing it in Wired and various apropos TV shows
theircompetitor, Jul 09 2009

       Yes, it was a multi-page article in Wired about GM's possible plans to move all their production to a hydrogen fuel-cell powered, drive by wire chassis and interchangeable bodies.
BunsenHoneydew, Jul 09 2009

       You have always been able to get a new body or a new door ect. but what I am proposing with this idea is that major car manufacturers should rather launch a new body, new rims and occasionally a new engine for the latest model rather than an entire new model. This will be brilliant for your pocket the environment.   

       When cars are manufactured this way, parts will become much cheaper. For example, your driver breaks the engine in your delivery truck. You go to the garage and ask for a new engine which is fitted while you wait rather than buying an entire new truck. All the rest of the stuff works, just get the engine. You have a new child, so just extend your chassis to adjust to the family series. In my opinion, this should have been happening for at least the last 50 years, but as 4whom stated, car manufacturers have been taking advantage of our stupidity. They have been selling us debt, and this would cripple their system. I would like a car please.
danman, Jul 09 2009

       Do any of you actually change your car every two years? The whole process seems a bite wasteful in the first place to me.   

       I have two, one fifteen years old and I have added some modifcations myself, and one six years old.   

       This is plenty up to date for me.   

       Many people also see the entire point of modifcation as an improvement on manufacturers design or in some way making the vehicle unique.
webfishrune, Jul 10 2009

       There are already (usually warranty approved) performance upgrades available for new cars --- Brabus, AMG, Prodrive, HSV etc...   

       I suspect it is possible to achieve this already whenever a facelift model is released --- all that is required is a parts list... I am pretty sure a sympathetic mechanic will be able to work out the differences.
madness, Jul 10 2009

       Madness, perhaps you can twist someone's arm to put on a new bumper for you, but that is not this idea. What I am proposing is that manufacturers should bring out a new set of upgrades rather than a new car its self. So you buy this years set of upgrades, not just a new door ect.   

       Webfishrune, it is preferable and very easy for us here in SA to update our company cars every two years, tax wise.
danman, Jul 10 2009

       Yeah - it's about changing the entire design (and use) mindset   

       Even more - why does anyone buy a car? Much better to lease. There are all kinds of better ways of doing all this stuff .... but it's a great example of how people carry on doing things sub-optimally just because that's how it's done ...
kindachewy, Jul 10 2009

       Umm surely if you wanted a new car then it would come with the latest set of upgrades. That means each upgrade model will be a "facelift", even if mechanical changes are made...
madness, Jul 10 2009

       No, madness, //Umm surely if you wanted a new car then it would come with the latest set of upgrades.//what??? We just want a y! Give us a "%*!ing y!   

       //That means each upgrade model will be a "facelift", even if mechanical changes are made...// Then what the "%* is a new model????   

       Does it matter if some changes are cosmetic?
danman, Jul 10 2009

       well, the idea is sound: you'd need a non-oxidizing frame and bumper(could also be considered frame), electrics and environmental control considered permanent; passenger compartment considered semi-permanent; engine/drivetrain considered ephemeral when better designs/builds are available.   

       The vehicle I'm starting to work on is 13 years old, the engine 16... I expect it to still be around and driveable in 6-7 years; that's over 20 years; not bad, but the former owners maintained it well as I plan to.   

       But my big complaint is I can't drop in a recent hybrid drivetrain without lots of work which I (and my mechanic) aren't capable of doing (or at least not capable of doing it properly).
FlyingToaster, Jul 11 2009

       [FlyingToaster] have you checked out the Poulsen hybrid aftermarket kit?
BunsenHoneydew, Jul 11 2009

       I would add that the upgrades should also come as do-it- yourself kits (with the basic mechanical skills and tools to be supplied by the car's owner).
gribbler, Jul 11 2009

       [BH] looks like the most promising simple solution. I wonder why they don't use caps instead of batteries. I can't use it yet until they come up with a truck version (nifty if they could put it behind the tire on the solid axle), but it does look good.
FlyingToaster, Jul 11 2009

       I have just seen in next world that Michelle Koufmann has done something similar to this with houses, where you can just get a new kitchen (for example) and the, have the old kitchen removed.   

       I like this. I don't think that this bakes the concept that I am proposing-- in that the upgrades are completely custom and horizontal and that it is not designed to morph with your changing family needs.   

       This idea proposes that a) You buy your car b) you buy the upgrade pack for your model annually [where you don't have to buy the entire pack] c) If you want to add some seats and change the car to a people carrier, go ahead.   

       Rather than bake this idea, I think that it shows how green the concept is (see link).
danman, Jul 20 2009

       Sort of "modular" cars - I think it's a great idea. In my opinion, car makers go out of their way to prevent compatibility between model-years. I tried to track down the fancy new grille they're putting on the '09 Mini Coopers to put on my '06 model - but even though the vehicles are otherwise extremely similar, the parts just don't fit.
Diatonic, Jul 21 2009


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