Tag Archives: Automotive

Another failed electric car.

Aptera motors.  Belly up.  The idea behind the Aptera was pretty good.  By excessively streamlining everything to get the most efficiency possible by reducing as much drag as possible, allows the car to get the most movement from the motivation.

The problem with the Aptera car is that it’s pretty much a standard electric.  Plug it in, charge it up, drive for a couple miles, then you have to plug it back in.   If you live in a city and only need to drive a couple miles to work and back… well.. maybe then such electric cars could work for you. But where I live, this sort of E-Car is pretty much completely useless.

Here is the layout that would work… and it’s simple, rugged, and reliable.  In fact, this system is used daily, all over the country.  Trains. We use a small, efficient diesel engine that spins a large flywheel.  The flywheel turns a generator which charges a bank of batteries.  The power then goes to the four electric motors.  One powering each wheel.  This gives the car an active computer controlled all wheel drive system so the car could actually be decent to drive.  Now, we add in some regenerative braking and efficiency is improved.

I’ve talked about this sort of electric car before, only to have some shoot the idea down because they thought I was talking about putting the electric motors in the wheels.  No, in the car, but not in the wheels.

Okay, so hands raised in the back of the room… yes.  You.  “You’re still burning fuel, how is this more efficient than a regular car?”  That’s a great question.  Talking about a car’s efficiency, the biggest drain on it is the transmission.  This layout doesn’t have one. Right there, there is a great deal of gain in efficiency.  Also, the computer system could control the engine’s RPM’s and fuel consumption based on output requirement, or even shut it down all together.   This system doesn’t require anything to be plugged in, to be recharged, and it can be driven farther than any other electric.  Unlike other hybrid systems, like the Prius… this is a true hybrid system… the petroleum powered engine doesn’t drive the wheels at all… and it doesn’t have a transmission. Which makes this system more efficient than any of those.  Also, it needs fewer heavy batteries.  So this type of car could actually be fun to drive… might even handle.  And like Cousin Jeremy is always concerned about, it could go around a corner.

 

Motorcycles

For the last few years, the itch to get another motorcycle has been uncontrollable.  Well, Saturday that itch came to a head and I actually went out looking for a bike.

I found one.  The question is do I pull the trigger on it or do I let it go.  It’s an older bike, in great condition… the style I like, the size I want… Even if it is a V-Twin.  It’s getting about 50 miles to the gallon, which is much better than my truck which I think gets about 3… or at least it feels like it.

If I want to “Run out to Salt Lake”, that trip costs me about 140 bucks.  On this bike, it would cost about as much as a good Sandwich.   Which means getting out there to take care of business actually makes some business sense.  And with Crusader’s growth, I’m going have to get out there more often.  Not for Training Days, because I’d still have to bring the truck, but for other things… like helping Joe get orders processed, Slipstream made, all that.  And, hey… Get some 5 Guys Burgers because I just freaking feel like it.  Can’t do that in my truck.

If something happens like I want it to happen tomorrow or the next day – I’ll get it.

The Police Car

The Police Car subset of the Auto Industry is a fairly boring segment for a narrow nitch market. Yet the money is well worth a car company to pursue that nitch. I drove a Chevy Caprice cruiser. It was a great car. Smooth, roomy. Very comfortable. Fast flat out, but not quick. It handled like a barge. It was stable when parked, or just going straight. Taking a curve caused a massive weight shift that if one didn’t expect it or were otherwise ready for it, could cause one to visit the ditch. However, if you learned to handle it, a good driver to really work the Caprice’s strengths. In it’s day, the Chevy Caprice was the Cop Car of choice all across the country. This became even more matter of fact when Chevy revamped the Caprice into what was affectionately called the “Turtleback”. The police turtlebacks were powered with a detuned LT-1 engine, giving the large and heavy car some good performance.

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