Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Walmart volkswagen

basic mass market upgradable transportation
  (+3, -6)
(+3, -6)
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The Volkswagen Beetle was the people’s car for an era, but as the age of gasoline fades, we need a new one. At one time Sears used to sell a car and this new car should be a Walmart type product that starts as a BASIC pedal powered trike whose frame is steel tubing with no suspension, minimal gears, basic brakes and no fairings or fenders, but then sell upgrade kits.

The basic idea is to sell a completely upgradable kit that starts as basic mobility, but can be upgraded to have an enclosed passenger area, lockable compartments, upgraded suspension, upgraded brakes, electric, gas or hybrid propulsion, etc.

The idea is to partially replace the bicycle and the entry level car with something that could be tailored to the user, bought in phases and upgraded as the user sees fit.

Bicycles are still probably the most popular form of wheeled transportation in the world, but are flawed for transportation to and from work if you have to dress nicely and there are puddles or pretty much anything dirty between you and work. By starting with a strong steel tube frame, additional tubes could be added to support suspension pieces, fairings and add extra structural rigidity as power is increased.

So the progressions could go like this: 1. basic trike 2. upgrade suspension 3. upgrade brakes 4. upgrade gearing 5. upgrade fairings/luggage space 6. soft top 7. add lighting 8. upgrade propulsion to add electric assist 9. upgrade propulsion to gas recharge for electric assist 10+ Further upgrade each feature

MisterQED, Aug 20 2008


       I do not see the bike replacing the car in the US. Distances are too great and sharing the road with cars too risky.
bungston, Aug 20 2008

       Linux Auto, aka International Harvester.
normzone, Aug 21 2008

       A bike should be a bike, less is more [-]
Spacecoyote, Aug 21 2008

       I doubt one steel tube frame could be optimal for all configurations. Fairings and mechanical-assist propulsion have their own set of frame requirements. A basic frame designed from with these upgrades in mind would be more difficult to power using pedals alone.
ed, Aug 21 2008

       I agree, the basic frame would be slightly over built, but not so much because the fairings would attach to additional tubes like adding a roll cage to a car to add stiffness.
MisterQED, Aug 21 2008

       the Walmart VW would have huge seats, many cupholders, an automatic transmission, sit 16 inches off the ground, look vaguely like a military vehicle, and be made entirely from ABS plastic. It would also be criminally cheap, be manufactured by indonesian slave labor, and come in excessive and wasteful packaging. Service for the VolksMart would be surly and uneducated. Nothing would be repairable or replaceable and no part would be recyclable. All components would be glued and secured with security hardware making disassembly impossible. It would bear numerous preposterous warning labels and the surfaces would leach lead and plasticants for the life of the vehicle. Ect. ad nauseam.
WcW, Aug 22 2008

       You forgot the gun rack.
BunsenHoneydew, Aug 24 2008


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