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Thread: Clever Car -- the future of automobiles

  1. #1 Clever Car -- the future of automobiles 
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    Clever Car belongs to a class of motorized vehicles known as 'tilting three wheelers' (TTWs), which have been around since 1945. They have what I call 1.5-seats, consisting of a driver's seat and a cargo space behind that doubles as a passenger seat for short trips. The passenger sits with legs on either side of the driver. This type of vehicle outperforms all others in terms of cost, handling, fuel economy, all-weather driving, speed, acceleration, etc.

    The Clever Car:

    Vehicle cost = $13500 CAN.
    Fuel economy = 2.5 Liters per 100 km (111 mpg)
    Fill up the tank once every 3 weeks, instead of every 3 days.
    Will seat two (one comfortably).
    Leans into corners. Snappier cornering than most sports cars.
    Same height and visibility as other small cars.
    Crash tested, just as safe as other small cars.
    Range = 150 km (90 miles)
    Top speed = 50 mph



    It's fueled by compressed natural gas (CNG) and as such can be refueled at home. Fuelmaker Corporation sells an appliance that can refuel CNG cars such as the Clever Car, Honda Civic GX, forklifts, fleet vehicles, etc. by drawing gas from your gas line just like the furnace, or barbeque.

    Fuelmaker Corporation

    A lightweight plastic fuel tank with ethanol, gasoline or diesel fuel would probably shave off another few hundred pounds of dead weight and increase speed, fuel economy & range. Overall a very promising design, and definitely not ugly.

    Clever Website

    Because vehicle weight affects both the kinetic energy and the rolling friction directly, one can expect the fuel economy to vary inversely with vehicle weight. For example, if weight drops by half, fuel economy should approximately double, assuming the vehicle has an engine that provides roughly the same power-to-weight ratio. Comparisons can be drawn between different weight classes of vehicles, such as a Chrysler Sebring, Hyundai Accent, a Honda Insight hybrid, and the Clever Car:

    Chrysler Sebring
    vehicle weight = 1422 kg
    fuel economy = 29 mpg

    Hyundai Accent
    vehicle weight = 1024 kg
    fuel economy = 40 mpg

    Clever Car
    vehicle weight = 400 kg
    fuel economy = 111 mpg

    Honda Insight Hybrid
    vehicle weight = 856 kg
    fuel economy = 60 mpg

    The Hyundai Accent is 39 percent lighter, and gets 38 percent better fuel economy. The Clever Car is 3.6-times lighter, and gets 3.8-times better fuel economy.

    An unexpected result is found with the Hybrid Honda Insight: it is 66 percent lighter than the Chrysler Sebring, so one would expect it to get approx. 48 mpg fuel economy. But in fact it gets 60 mpg, roughly double. An improvement in fuel economy of 19 mpg should be due to weight reduction, and an additional 12 mpg due to improved engine efficiency. More than half of this improvement is due to weight reduction!

    The Hybrid Honda Insight is also 20 percent lighter than the Hyundai Accent, so once again we should expect it to achieve 48 mpg fuel economy. But as shown it gets another 12 mpg on top of that. In this case 8 mpg improvement is due to weight reduction, and 12 mpg improvement due to higher engine efficiency.

    These are approximations, but the basic lesson is still there. It is easier to reduce vehicle weight than to increase engine efficiency. A simple way of reducing vehicle weight is to simply shrink the vehicle. To build a 1-seat vehicle instead of 4-seats should reduce weight by 75 percent, or nearly so. This can be done without expensive engine technologies or special lightweight materials.

    It has been estimated that as much as 30 percent of our current oil consumption could be displaced by biomass-produced ethanol. So to achieve full renewability in the transportation sector might require us to reduce the average fuel consumption of vehicles on the road by 70 percent. As shown above, the easiest, least expensive way to achieve this is to reduce vehicle weight by the same amount. Making 1.5-seat Tilting Three Wheelers the standard would be a huge leap toward achieving this goal.


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  3. #2  
    Forum Freshman DesertFoxx's Avatar
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    Why don't they cut down a little on aero dinamics and make a family car that is about as good?


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  4. #3  
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    There are hundreds of family cars available already. I gave a couple examples in my previous post: the Chrysler Sebring and the Hyundai Accent. These vehicles are designed to carry 5 people, and have correspondingly poorer performance.
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  5. #4  
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    Chrysler Sebring ....ewwww.

    Honda's are fun but sacrifice safety for lower weight and better fuel economy. When I think Hyundai all I think is blown oil rings on pistons and blue smoke pouring out the exhaust.

    Give me a VW, Saab, or even a Toyota. I prefer the Euros. None of the American cars are worth a dime. Just my opinion of course.
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    Actually, the Clever Car sacrifices weight for better fuel economy. Safety is a more complex design problem. A smaller car is actually more able to avoid collisions than a larger one because they have much shorter braking distances, shorter turning radius, better handling, less inertia & faster reaction speed, also faster acceleration. Drivers may also be instinctively more careful.

    In a collision a 1-seater can be just as safe as a large vehicle. The car can be designed specifically to protect a single occupant. As an example I give Formula-1 race cars, which have carbon-fiber construction, double harness restraining belts, and regularly drive in excess of 150 mph. They are far safer than any truck, and they don't even use airbags. I'm not saying that conventional steel construction of today's subcompact cars will give equal protection to a Formula-1 racer, but the possibility is there.

    By churning out SUVs and other vehicles of increasing size and weight, automotive manufacturers are making it increasingly difficult to convince consumers to buy smaller vehicles, which would provide sustainability, energy independence, and less global conflict over oil resources.
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    Motorbikes always have been more proficent than cars. So taking a "car" and making it smaller to fit to a "trike" is not making a better car, is using a better concept -yet it is NOT a car. Make it 4-5 seats and you'll have a true car, not a trike named "car" to fool the folks...
    “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” -Charles Darwin
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    Ah... but the human psychie is an interesting thing! As the price of gas climbs, your brain will start finding reasons to buy a Clever Car. Eventually, you will have so many reasons that your choice to buy one will make total sense. To buy anything else would be just plain stupid!
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by SemperUbiSububi
    Ah... but the human psychie is an interesting thing! As the price of gas climbs, your brain will start finding reasons to buy a Clever Car. Eventually, you will have so many reasons that your choice to buy one will make total sense. To buy anything else would be just plain stupid!
    At $13,500 it's way too expensive. They say “Fill up the tank once every 3 weeks, instead of every 3 days,” and the car has a 90 mile range, so I guess they are targeting it at people who drive about 30 miles/week – which is probably reasonable for someone who just wants a car to commute a few miles to work Monday-Friday. If a buyer is concerned about saving money on gasoline they could buy an inexpensive car like the Chevy Aveo for around $9,000 and use the $4,500 that they saved over the Clever Car to buy gasoline. The Aveo gets about 30 miles/gallon, so you would go through around 52 gallons of gas/year. If gas went up to $10/gallon your $4,500 in savings would still be enough to buy you over eight years worth of gasoline, by which time you will probably want a new car anyway. And of course the small sedan would have little conveniences like a trunk, four seats, and the ability to drive 300+ miles at 80 miles/hour before having to refill the tank.

    Perhaps if it could get down to the sub-$4,000 motorcycle price range it would be competitive.
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    You forgot to convert your price for the Chevy Aveo to Canadian Dollars. It costs about $9350 US (MSRP) which converts to $10,304 CAN (MSRP). So the sticker price for the Clever Car is about $3196 CAN higher than the Chevy Aveo. Currently the price of gasoline is as high as $4.69 CAN per gallon including tax. So, the money you save buying a Chevy Aveo will buy you approximately 681 gallons of gas. But the Chevy Aveo burns more gas, so you are not quite correct.

    Many people finance their vehicles and they are much more sensitive to fluctuations in the price of gas. Zero downpayment, zero percent purchase financing of the Chevy Aveo will cost $214.67/mth for 48 months. If you drive 40 miles per day, 5 days per week (840 miles per month), you will spend approx. $151.52/mth for gas. Total $366.19/mth, plus the cost of insurance and maintenance.

    With identical driving habits the Clever Car will cost $281.25/mth and gas will cost $35.49/mth. Total $316.74/mth, plus insurance and maintenance. That's $49.45/mth less than the cost of a Chevy Aveo. Many people don't care how much things cost in the long run. It's all about whether they can afford it now. On a monthly basis, the Clever Car is cheaper, and on an annual basis will save you $593.40 per year. Buy yourself a new washer/dryer, or a new entertainment center.

    If you want some more solid math, there is a critical mileage value at which the two cars cost the same. The Chevy Aveo would cost $0.18 for gas per mile driven, while the Clever Car would cost $0.04 for gas per mile driven. A simple equation allows you to solve for the miles driven per month that would make the two cars equal in cost:

    $214.67 + A*($0.18/mile) = $281.25 + A*($0.04/mile)
    A = 475 miles/mth or 22.6 miles/day.

    Purely on the basis of purchase financing and the cost of gas, and neglecting the cost of insurance and maintenance, if you drive less than this, the Chevy Aveo would be the better choice. If you drive more than this the Clever Car would be the better choice. Another aspect that might confuse the math is that this is really based on mileage, not time. It might take 15 minutes to drive to work, but in that time some people would drive 12 miles by highway, while others would drive 5 miles on congested city streets. At the end of the day, the former has driven 24 miles, while the latter has driven only 10 miles. You would have to check the odometer to be more certain.

    Furthermore, the Clever Car insures as a motorcycle. Insurance rates differ depending on who's driving, so I won't estimate the cost, but generally motorcycles don't cost as much to insure as a car or truck. And when mass-produced Clever Cars may be sold for much less than $13,500 CAN. The cost of gas may also rise much higher in the future.
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by SemperUbiSububi
    $214.67 + A*($0.18/mile) = $281.25 + A*($0.04/mile)
    A = 475 miles/mth or 22.6 miles/day.

    Purely on the basis of purchase financing and the cost of gas, and neglecting the cost of insurance and maintenance, if you drive less than this, the Chevy Aveo would be the better choice. If you drive more than this the Clever Car would be the better choice.
    A better way of putting it would be to say that if you need to drive more than 475 miles/month without passengers or cargo then the Clever Car would be cheaper. Many people drive more than 475 miles/month, but a lot of that driving involves going to buy groceries, taking the kids to school, driving to the movies with a friend, etc.
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    I think it will carry groceries & luggage, or you and a friend to the movies, or you and a child to school. It won't carry 3-4 passengers. For that you'll have to buy a full-sized car, and pay the costs associated with that capability. And it's not like there are a shortage of full-sized cars. Quite the opposite, so why be opposed to making a new choice like the Clever Car available to drivers?
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by SemperUbiSububi
    I think it will carry groceries & luggage, or you and a friend to the movies, or you and a child to school. It won't carry 3-4 passengers. For that you'll have to buy a full-sized car, and pay the costs associated with that capability. And it's not like there are a shortage of full-sized cars. Quite the opposite, so why be opposed to making a new choice like the Clever Car available to drivers?
    Because I suspect that you are nothing but a paid shill who is hyping the Clever Car as part of a forum advertising campaign.
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    I've never been accused of that before. Interesting. The trouble with your theory is that the Clever Car was developed by the University of Bath, not a corporation. It is also only in the prototyping stage of development. So there is no way that hyping it now will increase sales.

    Of course I am trying to convince people that this car is a good thing. But I'm basing it on technical merit: fuel consumption, cost, utility, and other performance criteria.

    I've done that numerous times over the years, and your reaction is typical. Honestly, I would probably get more positive feedback if I hyped it's artistic, egoistic, macho or modest qualities instead. But... I'm a numbers person, and if the aesthetic impression is good, then that's as far as I go in that direction.
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  15. #14  
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    This looks very similar to the Indian three wheeler Auto-Rickshaw, except for the modern sleek looks.
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by SemperUbiSububi
    I've never been accused of that before. Interesting.
    .......
    I've done that numerous times over the years, and your reaction is typical.
    I'm not trying to stir things, but aren't these two statements mutually exclusive?

    And Semper, I would have found your pitch more convincing if you had introduced it as the result of a U of Bath project and detailed the goals of that project.
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    I've never been accused of being a paid shill before. But I have gotten plenty of negative reaction from posting technical information to people who aren't able to handle the implications. I've found that most people prefer BS instead of technical specs.

    My post isn't a pitch (sales?). I did provide a direct link to the University of Bath clever project website. The reason I didn't introduce it as a U. of Bath project is because the point I was trying to make is that small cars are the future and the Clever Car is an excellent metaphor or example. Perhaps my metaphor was overdeveloped. More fundamentally, it is the weight reduction as the future trend in automobiles that I was trying to pitch to people. But not as a sales pitch, more as an enlightening fact. An inescapable truth.
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  18. #17  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    Quote Originally Posted by SemperUbiSububi
    Ah... but the human psychie is an interesting thing! As the price of gas climbs, your brain will start finding reasons to buy a Clever Car. Eventually, you will have so many reasons that your choice to buy one will make total sense. To buy anything else would be just plain stupid!
    At $13,500 it's way too expensive. They say “Fill up the tank once every 3 weeks, instead of every 3 days,” and the car has a 90 mile range, so I guess they are targeting it at people who drive about 30 miles/week – which is probably reasonable for someone who just wants a car to commute a few miles to work Monday-Friday. If a buyer is concerned about saving money on gasoline they could buy an inexpensive car like the Chevy Aveo for around $9,000 and use the $4,500 that they saved over the Clever Car to buy gasoline. The Aveo gets about 30 miles/gallon, so you would go through around 52 gallons of gas/year. If gas went up to $10/gallon your $4,500 in savings would still be enough to buy you over eight years worth of gasoline, by which time you will probably want a new car anyway. And of course the small sedan would have little conveniences like a trunk, four seats, and the ability to drive 300+ miles at 80 miles/hour before having to refill the tank.

    Perhaps if it could get down to the sub-$4,000 motorcycle price range it would be competitive.
    Not quite smart, what you just wrote:

    CHEVROLET AVEO:Cost to Drive 25 Miles $2.56
    Fuel to Drive 25 Miles 0.86 gal
    Cost of a Fill-up $29.40
    Miles on a Tank 287 miles
    Tank Size 11.0 gal
    Annual Fuel Cost $1537

    Having over 3 times that gas mileage, the 'smart car' will burn only 512$ per year. Every year, you will therefore save precisely 1025$ on gas. Thus, in about 3 years you get your money back. Over 8 years, you'd save 8200$ on gas.
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    Quote Originally Posted by (In)Sanity
    Chrysler Sebring ....ewwww.

    Honda's are fun but sacrifice safety for lower weight and better fuel economy. When I think Hyundai all I think is blown oil rings on pistons and blue smoke pouring out the exhaust.

    Give me a VW, Saab, or even a Toyota. I prefer the Euros. None of the American cars are worth a dime. Just my opinion of course.
    What you say about Honda is correct. Honda is the brand that uses the thinnest sheet metal for its vehicles, to save money. At the same time, they want to make it look like their vehicles are as tough as others. Listen to the sound of the door of a Mercedes S-Class when it closes. It is a damp sound that tells you the door is heavy and reinforced. What Honda did is they engineered that sound into their vehicle's doors, to make it sound like they are heavy and tough. Interesting isn't it ?

    What you said about american cars, that they are not worth a dime compared to the japanese and european ones...is not quite correct.

    First of all, the 'japanese' and 'euro' cars you are talking about are often made ...in America. They are not only built and assembled here in american factories, but the raw materials they are using, as well as many of their part suppliers, are the same as the ones used by american cars.
    A BMW X5 is as american as a Pontiac Vibe is.

    Also, several companies collaborate with eachother, swap platforms and engines, there is no 100% american/ euro/ japanese car nowadays.

    The Chrysler PT cruiser is built in Mexico, has an american sticker on it, and is produced by a company based in Germany.

    The only difference is, 'Japanese' and 'Euro' cars have built a great brand image, and with awesome marketing campaigns, have made people believe that they are much higher quality. In fact, Toyota is the company that uses the most refurbished parts for repairs. If you have to have the radiator of your Camry exchanged, there's good chances that it comes from another, used, salvaged toyota camry.
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  20. #19  
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    The Chrysler PT cruiser is built in Mexico, has an American sticker on it, and is produced by a company based in Germany.
    Uggg, I can't stand the PlasTic Cruiser. It's ugly and from what I've heard from owners of the vehicle, not all that great. I guess to each his/her own. I'll keep my VW.
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  21. #20  
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    Quote Originally Posted by (In)Sanity
    The Chrysler PT cruiser is built in Mexico, has an American sticker on it, and is produced by a company based in Germany.
    Uggg, I can't stand the PlasTic Cruiser. It's ugly and from what I've heard from owners of the vehicle, not all that great. I guess to each his/her own. I'll keep my VW.
    The PT is actually a big hit, everyone has his own taste, I guess.
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