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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Tell me if this idea is stupid:

I have an idea for an electric car, and someone who understands cars, please tell me if I'm being an idiot. So that I'm not accused of plagiarism of ideas, I admit that it was inspired by ideas shown on the show Futurecars on the Discovery Channel and affiliated networks. What I have is a wish list. A light, durable chassis is considered a given, so the rest of my proposal is as follows:

*To select a speed at which the car travels, I would like to have the option of a keypad entry and the traditional foot pedal accelerator. I know, it's geeky, but deal. lol

*Brake pedal operated normally, but as for the braking itself, I would like to see regenerative braking to extend the range on one charge, but this would mainly be effective in city driving.

*Triacs or SCRs instead of a traditional transmission to increase or decrease the power. This would have the dual benefits of a dramatic weight reduction while allowing for much finer control than in current vehicles. Plus, they can take a hell of a lot of abuse.

*Compressed air used instead of air conditioning, with an on-board air compressor that is disabled unless the car is plugged in. This would allow for the comfort of the passengers while adding far less to the weight of the vehicle than a standard air conditioner and the batteries required to operate it, not to mention the space that would be saved and could be better used for more batteries. I know this method is inefficient, but a slow dispersal of cooled air could eliminate one of the many barriers to the widespread adoption of purely electric vehicles. This could be based on the Ranque-Hilsch vortex tube effect.

*To avoid noise pollution problems during the compression of air for cooling, find a way to muffle the hell out of it without adversely affecting performance.

*An efficient on-board electronic control system, with a focus on reducing power consumption by the electronics without adversely affecting performance. Perhaps, this may be best achieved via FOSS software, but I'm certainly not wed to the idea of FOSS in this application.

As for the actual electric motor aspect of it, these ideas could be applied to a variety of platforms. At any rate, it's a thought. Let me know what you think.


1138 said...

Good to see you back
Happy to hear you've gone Tux!!!

I'm not sure I understand the compressor idea - compression does not equal cooling and the tank would waste space & increase weight.

Most of the other ideas are already in place or have been.

I think if government regulators would require insurance companies to reclassify two seat cars we could go a long ways real fast in economy of fuel consumption.

Once again - good to see you back.

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

Actually, the compressed air cooling was an idea I got from seeing MDI's pneumatic engine on Futurecars. My thought is to take that idea, only remove the actual motive portion of it. Not nearly as efficient as a standard air conditioner, but it's environmentally friendly and requires less space and far less battery consumption. What I read about the Ranque-Hilsch vortex tube effect makes the concept seem viable, and then the questions become issues of miniaturization and, like you said, space. One thing I had not read about until now is that some way of superheating steam would be required, but when the air conditioning is needed, that may be able to be accomplished. The idea shown here is more geared towards a whole house, but it only takes a few degrees temperature drop to make a big difference in people's comfort. Perhaps this idea has merit, or perhaps MDI's concept of a pneumatic-electric hybrid would be more practical.

As for the triacs or SCR's, I just really don't like transmissions. It's far easier to replace a simple circuit board than it is to crack open a transmission, and it's far more responsive. I know the other ideas are or have been in place, and that's part of their appeal: They're off the shelf technology. I just don't know if anyone's combined these technologies on one vehicle. As for the keypad entry of the desired speed, I blame a misspent youth watching science fiction on it. lol

I also think the electronics could be a great way to reuse functional but no longer wanted older boards.

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

As far as going Tux, I love it. I'm not using software made by or geared towards a company I hate. I don't have nearly as many security concerns as I once had. Also, setup was simple and quicker than I would have experienced with Microsoft's bloatware. I feel so free. :)

1138 said...

I made a long reply and it went into the atmosphere I guess, I don't see it now.

Anyways in addition to that reply I wanted to comment on your A/C link and the Vent Chimney / Earth Tube.

A while back I was working with a contractor to build my new home.
(a long story of frustration with entrenched energy technologies that I won't go into).

I tried my hardest to get him to implement this type of system into the house.
It would have been a big help to have had that reference at the time.
We ended up with a geothermal heat pump in the design instead, but when he insisted on using an uncertified HVAC contractor - I fired him and went with a completely different option rather than building new.
It's easier to get contractors in the north to build to your spec. instead of theirs.
But industry in general is rigid and they've got a problem in changing because finance only wants to deal with "standard" systems.
Progress is difficult even when there is no doubt that the better option is better for everyone.

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

I guess it comes down to people being more comfortable with what they already know instead of thinking outside the box to solve problems. And then, there are the geeks who don't like the box to begin with, who are willing to try better alternatives that, while based on tested and sound scientific principles, aren't as familiar to the average person. Or, they're just more willing to step where few have trod before, just because they can. That's my ultimate goal. I want to be a geek.

1138 said...

Geek on my friend, geek on

Snave said...

I admire both of you for your knowledge and interest in computer technology, engineering, mechanics... I'm more one of the "arts" types myself, I can barely describe how an internal combustion engine works!

But hey, MC, whether or not your ideas have been thought of already, I think they are cool ideas. I think many things new or innovative are good, especially when it comes to cars, and not just re. fuel efficiency, reduced emissions, etc. but also re. performance.

Yes, it definitely is good to have you blogging once more!