Accelerated Composites - Aptera - 330 mpg Hybrid Car

  1. Astronuc

    Staff: Mentor

    http://www.businessweek.com/autos/content/jan2006/bw20060119_391332.htm

    So why aren't the Big 3 Detroit car makers doing this?

    Inertia of large corporations.

     
  2. jcsd
  3. Cliff_J

    Cliff_J 789
    Science Advisor

    While I think the idea is great, the comparisons here really get me. Sure I understand that a press release isn't a research paper nor needs to hold to scientific scrutiny, but a Formula 1 (or other open-wheel) car has evolved to more than just a safety cell, and the evolution was at the expense of drivers who were injured (like the Zanardi bar). They also have the advantage of good track design with proper run-off areas as evidenced by things like the track redesign after Senna's death and so on. As a fan, you learn its more than just one thing that contributes to saftey in the face of what appears to be very dangerous.

    In short, if I were to believe this car passes all federal mandated saftey requirements for passenger cars, then why not build it with 4 wheels? I understand the 3-wheel build-your-own DIY projects as some means of having a low-weight high-mileage transport, but to label it as safe?

    These two do not look all too different:

    http://www.rqriley.com/tri-mag.html

    http://www.acceleratedcomposites.com/downloads.php

    I think GM did a great job with the EV1 and with a decent battery pack could have made it into a nice car. But the government regulations really pigeonholed the project into the red in the worst way.

    So the 3-wheel choice to build an "enclosed motorcycle" as seen by the government may really be just to circumvent many of those regulations. I dunno, the numbers all look entirely too optimistic to elicit much more than skepticism to me.

    The T-Zero seems like it would easily beat this to market since they've had a prototype on the road for a few years now. AC Propulsion seems to have the resources and braintrust to convert their car from performance to efficiency should they choose to do so. And a 6-figure pricetag seems a lot more realistic than 20k until the economies of scale on LiOn or supercaps are inverted.
     
  4. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    Because the very idea of a 330mpg production car is utterly rediculous. Laughable. Even if it were just an enclosed motorcyle, that wouldn't be possible. If the guys who are running this are serious, they need their head examined and if they aren't, well, then it's a hippie-targeted scam and I wish them luck. :tongue:

    For specific problems - Cliff hit on some, but....

    -3 wheeler ATVs were outlawed for a reason....
    -An all-composite car is cost prohibitive - $20k is not believable.
    -Passengers.
    -A trunk.
    -Air conditioning.
    -Law of gross tonnage.

    Anyway, it isn't like this is a new idea - it's failed before. My dad used to tell a story about one of his college profs at Stanford who had a 3-wheeler 1-seater car. For fun, his students would occasionally carry it up to the door to his classroom.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2006
  5. Pengwuino

    Pengwuino 7,118
    Gold Member

    For things like these, i believe in the law of put up or shut up :)

    I'm always amazed at what people can think up and create but results are all that matters
     
  6. Pengwuino

    Pengwuino 7,118
    Gold Member

  7. FredGarvin

    FredGarvin 5,087
    Science Advisor

    The use of composites has been looked at many times, even in my short duration in the automotive field. The big drawbacks to composite usage are the lack of infrastructure and talent to lay up patterns on the production scales necessary and, more importantly, they could never get a vehicle to pass crash standards.

    I remember testing a car with a carbon fiber hood. The hood was so strong and inflexible that in crash tests, it basically decapitated the passengers. The notions of crumple zones was gone. That in and of itself is a serious hurdle that I don't think will be overcome easily. I did a lot of part 202 and 207 testing (head rests and seating) in my earlyier days. Those tests alone are HIGHLY dependent on the floorboards and the strength of the frame of the vehicle. I would be very interested to see how they get the strength they need for these components as well as others. I highly doubt that this start up company's cars will pass half of the FMVSS safety standards.

    330 MPG would be great, but it sounds like this company is looking at solving the problem while leaving out many of the necessary variables that have to be accounted for.

    In case anyone wants to take a read, here are most of the parts that all vehicles have to abide by:

    http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/import/FMVSS/
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2006
  8. Astronuc

    Staff: Mentor

    Nearly 3 years later -

    Exclusive: Aptera 2e
    http://autos.yahoo.com/articles/autos_content_landing_pages/857/exclusive-aptera-2e
    An exclusive drive of an aerodynamically slick electric vehicle that looks to change the world, three wheels at a time.

    Perhaps the Big 3 will follow suit.
     
  9. mheslep

    mheslep 3,496
    Gold Member

    Fred - just came across this old post w/ Astronuc's thread bump, and I hope you'll revisit.
    Yes that's as I understand it, and let us add that the auto industry's competence with metal stamping has evolved to a high art. However, it is always the case, is it not, that the introduction of new technology is difficult, but the fat and happy horse and carriage makers will inevitably get left behind.

    Regards the strength issues, do we not agree that CF is stronger and stiffer than most steel per unit volume? The problem is in forming the CF economically, not its strength. Regards crash worthiness, it appears the idea is that CF can be designed to crush and if so it will absorb more energy than stell. Here's a comment from composites advocate A. Lovins, note the energy absorption line:
    http://www.sciam.com/media/pdf/Lovinsforweb.pdf
    and here
    https://www.rmi.org/images/PDFs/Energy/E04-10_FuelEconStand.pdf

    http://www.americanchemistry.com/s_plastics/doc.asp?CID=1080&DID=6584
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2009
  10. mgb_phys

    mgb_phys 8,952
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

  11. mheslep

    mheslep 3,496
    Gold Member

    280mpg for what? I'm sceptical. They post no performance numbers. It appears to be a single seater so this compares to, what, a motorcycle? What's the top speed? No brainer to get high mpg at <30mph, 0-30mph in 20s. Looks like new low rolling resistance tires. Fine, but what's the handling like? Whats the stopping distance? I smell BS, this is likely a circus car for show from VW.
     
  12. FredGarvin

    FredGarvin 5,087
    Science Advisor

    Mheslep,
    That's good info. My days of testing in the auto industry were quite a while. This thread is also 3 years old. I would certainly expect the ever evolving carbon fiber technology to overcome those design shortcomings. However, to this date I have not seen anything to say that composite structures can be completely used in a street legal vehicle. I'm not saying it won't though. There are too many people working on this to not figure it out.
     
  13. mheslep

    mheslep 3,496
    Gold Member

    Mercedes McLaren SLR? CF body at least.
    http://www.autoblog.com/2008/09/29/mercedes-benz-reveals-slr-mclaren-roadster-722-s/
     
  14. mgb_phys

    mgb_phys 8,952
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Average 0.89L/100km on a freeways from VW to Hamburg according to the article - that only 238 mpg(US) 289mpg(UK).
    8hp motor with a top speed 120km/h (75mph) and it meets the same EU crash tests as any other VW, has airbags, ABS, ECS, crumple zones etc. It's a two seater.

    Partly it is a technology demonstrator/marketing ploy. but a regular VW golf diesel gets 70mpg so a Smart Car size one of these with the same CF body and a lightly larger engine should still do >100mpg.
     
  15. mheslep

    mheslep 3,496
    Gold Member

    Larger? The Golf diesel is a monster truck in comparison to this '1 liter' car.
    8hp = big lawn mower engine, small motor scooter engine. It's a clown car.

    10.5HP
    , top speed 65mph:
    http://www.scootersus.com/stradaRX150i.html

    I call bs again on the 75mph from VW. Maybe downhill in a tail wind, and guaranteed that's w/ only one of the two passengers. A 100mpg ICE car sounds doable - a reach but doable. 280mpg no, not without making the thing beyond what's commonly called a car.
     
  16. mgb_phys

    mgb_phys 8,952
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Drag coefficent of an unfaired bike = 0.95
    Drag coefficent of Vw 1L = 0.159

    Interestingly Cd depends on smoothing out the details of the airflow as much as general shape.
    A Hummer has the same Cd as a lotus seven (tiny 2 seater open cockpit British sports car) but a lot more frontal area.

    A Fiat panda with 1L diesel used to do almost that nearly 20years ago.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2009
  17. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    Follow suit with what? I was right - it was a hoax!

    3 years after it's "next month" introduction, it is 6 months away. So then 3 years from now it'll be a year away, right?

    It also apparently isn't a hybrid anymore, but is a pure electric and is going to be more expensive than promised....which doesn't really matter because I doubt anyone will ever get delivery anyway. The company will suck more money from sucker dreamers, then go belly-up. It's an impressive scam they've been able to pull, actually. Reminds me of the solar power tower.
     
  18. mheslep

    mheslep 3,496
    Gold Member

    Sure, as expected since a normal sedan has Cd~0.2. The mass and tire dependent rolling resistance will be 3 or 4:1 in favor of the bike/scooter.
     
  19. mheslep

    mheslep 3,496
    Gold Member

    A simple google search on the Panda diesel shows that's an overstatement. ~70mpg now, not 100mpg, and certainly not 20 years ago.
     
  20. mgb_phys

    mgb_phys 8,952
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    The original Panda 20years ago only weighed a fraction of the modern one (a new meaning to the word tinny!) it sold with a 600cc petrol engine, put a modern small diesel in it and it would do that (at least for real gallons)

    They even had a 4x4 version of the orignal, it was an interesting drive - not exactly overpowered, but if you got stuck 4 of you could lift it out of the hole.
     
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