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Chapter 2:. Reinventing the Wheels. Automotive Transportation. The largest industry in the world 5 of the 7 largest U.S. industrial firms produce cars or their fuel. Contemporary Automobile: Embarrassingly Inefficient.

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Chapter 2 l.jpg

Chapter 2:

Reinventing the Wheels

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Automotive Transportation

  • The largest industry in the world

  • 5 of the 7 largest U.S. industrial firms produce cars or their fuel

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Contemporary Automobile: Embarrassingly Inefficient

  • 80% of fuel consumed is lost as heat or exhaust, 20% used to turn wheels

  • 95% of remaining energy moves the car, 5% moves the driver

  • 5% of 20% = 1% efficiency overall !

  • U.S. cars burn their weight in fuel annually

  • Cars are very heavy, made mostly of steel

  • Irregular protrusions produce turbulent air flow

We can save 70 80 of fuel costs making safer sportier more comfortable cars by making them l.jpg
We can save 70-80% of fuel costs & making safer, sportier & more comfortable cars by making them ...

  • Ultralight

  • Ultra low-drag

  • with hybrid-electric propulsion systems

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In 1991 the Rocky Mountain Institute designed the “Hypercar”

  • The “hypercar” model design synthesized many emerging automotive technologies

  • Was made available free to the automotive industry to spur innovations in efficiency

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Advantages of all electric propulsion “Hypercar”

  • Converts 90% of energy to electricity

  • Uses no energy when idling or coasting

  • Motors are light, simple, reliable & inexpensive

  • Provides high torque, even at low speed

  • Generator recovers electricity in deceleration

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Comfort & refinement of Lexus “Hypercar”

Mercedes stiffness

Volvo safety

BMW acceleration

Taurus price

80-200 miles per gallon

600-800 mile range between fill ups

0 air emissions

All technologies exist today to produce an ultralight, hybrid drive vehicle that would be more durable and cost less

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Hypercars could reduce by a factor of 10 the four parameters of manufacturing

  • Less time from concept to the street

  • Less investment for production

  • Less time and space for assembly

  • Fewer parts

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Hypercar as related to Natural Capitalism Principles of manufacturing

  • Materials flow in closed loops

  • Toxicity is carefully confined or designed out

  • Longevity is designed in

  • Likely to be leased as a service … part of a diversified “mobility service”

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Key to Ultralight Vehicles of manufacturing

  • Use of carbon fibers - black, shiny stiff filaments, finer than a human hair, 1/4 as dense as steel but stiffer & stronger

  • Composite carbon fiber body is rust-free, fatigue free, nonchipping, undentable

  • Last for decades until recycled

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Alternate Propulsion Systems of manufacturing

  • Electric

  • Hybrid-Electric

  • Biofuels - liquids from farm & forest wastes

  • Compressed Natural Gas or Hydrogen

  • Hydrogen Fuel Cells

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Hypercars in the Future of manufacturing

  • Will more resemble computers with wheels than cars with electronic chips

  • Will be driven more by software than by hardware

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The Main Obstacles to the U. S. Leading in Development of the Hypercar are ...

 Technical - no

Ž Economic - no

Ž Cultural - yes!

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The Problem of the Hypercar are ...“Excessive Automobility”

Too much driving by too many people in too many cars!

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The Authors’ Cure for the Hypercar are ... “Excessive Automobility”

  • Make parking and driving bear their true costs

  • Foster genuine competition between different modes of transportation

  • Emphasize sensible land use over actual physical mobility - solves the problem of being in the wrong place

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If true costs of road and parking had to be paid, commuters would find cheaper modes of travel

  • Live nearby to work and walk

  • Bicycle

  • Ridesharing

  • Vanpooling

  • Public transit

  • Telecommuting

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Sensible Land Use would find cheaper modes of travel

  • Would make many trips unnecessary

  • Cluster housing, jobs and shopping together

  • Put people close to the places they want to be

  • Make urban sprawl pay its own way

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Alan During of Northwest Environment Watch explains ... would find cheaper modes of travel

“Most people believe the alternative to cars is better transit-in truth, its better neighborhoods.”

“… (make) the car an accessory of life rather than its central organizing principle.”

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Hypercars can allow us to buy time to address the transportation-land use/community issues but it cannot resolve them