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Alright, picture an automobile platform much like Gm's skateboard chasis. Essentially, you start with a chasis + engine in a few different engine and wheelbase models. Then, make available a selection of recycleable, plastic body shapes for each chasis/engine config. so, someone could buy a midsize
platform and put either a camry-sized sedan or a caravan-sized minivan configuration on top. Plus, this configuration would be interchangable so you could own a caravan and a camry. Of cource, a safety cage would be required but could be easily bolted in and concealed with interior trim. Also, some level of skill and a small boom lift might be required to change configs. but any handyman or mechanic would have no problem. The plastic portions could be recycled if wrecked, as could the metal. electrical and climate control and steering would have to be interfaced simply like plugging one big plug and connecting a big air hose and telescoping one steering shaft. lots of other considerations probably also, but the main idea being that components are easily replaced or changed and recycled
Modular Car For Life
Similar idea for an extensible car that can convert from a hatchback to a sedan to a minivan. [pottedstu, Oct 17 2004]
GM's scheme for an ecologically-sound car with a replaceable body. (Link posted by krelnik under Modular Car For Life.) [pottedstu, Oct 17 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]
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||Every kid who ever had those little electric cars with interchangeable bodies and chassis has had this fantasy about doing it with real cars. I know I did.
I even read about this in some 'future trends' column in one of the major auto mags a few years back.
||Nice idea. Even if only the bodywork is replaceable (like the Smart Car) the concept of having it made out of recycled, recycleable materials and essentially cheap and disposable is good.
A requirement for these body panels is likely to be some energy-absorbtion - so in the event of a crash, you want them to crumple and absorb the energy of impact. For this, it's possible that cardboard - which has a lot of strength if built in a cellular structure (think of an egg box with flat sheets of cardboard on either side) - would be good.
The other materials which the world has too much of are old tyres and household plastics - I think recycled tyres are used for interior trim in some cars already, but I'm not sure.
||GM already has a working prototype. They call it the skate board and it is fuel-cell powered. Which [pottedstu] has already posted a link to.
||For new automotive chassis concepts, please find :