These sorts of contests are fun but are of little relevance in practical transportation. After all, the Cal Poly Car is much more like a recumbent bicycle than like a car you'd use to get your groceries or haul home stuff from Home Depot. Consider that on a bicycle a trained cyclist can go 15 mph using about 1/6th horsepower. Drag goes as the cube of the speed, So going 30 mph should require 8 * 0.1667 = 1.33 horsepower. With that in mind it's not so surprising that a 3 horsepower motor can get over 30 mph. Needless to say you're not going to be able to go down a limited access highway with such a vehicle. As with a bicycle you'll also find that your speed goes down dramatically on an up slope.
In just about any situation where you would use the Cal Poly Car you could use a bicycle instead. (Go recumbent and use a full fairing if you don't like the rain.)
I think that's pretty slimy tactics. But since I watched, I'll comment.
This car is not a breakthrough in anything. It's the culmination of every compromise available and every performance matching that can be done to an EXISTING very traditional system. Do that for 30 years and you'll easily go from 800 mpg to 2700. Nothing to see in that.
If, however, you really want to see a commercial product that the masses will accept and that can make a difference, you simply tweak that process a bit. Instead of tweaking existing technology, you find major step advances and put those together, working the bugs out as you go. For example, if you want a genuine 200-300 mpg, privately owned, 4 passenger car that runs on gasoline, you eliminate all the energy losses by other means.
Today's internal combustion (IC) engines lose 70% of their output as wasted heat. 35% is lost as internal friction which is removed by the radiator. Possibly as much as 35% is lost as exhaust heat and pressure. An arguable 25% of the remaining 30% is lost in the drive train gearing and rolling friction, and about 6% to parasitic loads. After these, you're left with 20 of your initial 100 hp (assumed) to move the car. From this, you now subtract another 2-20 hp for wind resistance, depending on what speed you are moving. What you're left with is between 8 and 20 hp to move the mass. How did anyone ever thing this system was worth refining?
Assuming you still want to use gasoline... Instead, let's eliminate the exhaust pressure by making compression variable so more exhaust pressure can move the piston before it exits. This also captures most of the waste heat too because expanding that gas more cools it internally. This is being partially done by Coates Intl. by using a spinning ball-valve in the head. It has another benefit:
Removing the valve train would cut lots of friction Gain = 15 hp. But the major friction (and wear) is solved by removing the piston skirt friction. A German company (no link AFAIK) placed dual counter rotating crankshafts behind dual con-rods and then removed the skirt because piston travel is now perfectly linear. This would yield another 20 hp.
Now, let's boost the intake only when needed to make extra demand power. The gain here is that we can use smaller engines to make the same peak power. Gain = maybe 15 hp.
Now, let's 'gear it' by running a steady speed generator which then powers efficient wheel specific motors. Gain - 10 hp and tons of torque.
Now, lets add that up. We now have a smaller 20 hp engine that loses only 6 to friction and it's running a car that's 1,000 lbs lighter (same size though) and has increased torque starting at 0 mph. Adding the efficiencies is tricky but I estimate it could reach in excess of 300 mpg maintaining a 60 mph cruise on a semi-aerodynamic body. Town driving and speed changes would drop that to under 200 but it's certainly good enough to justify going after it.
To reach even higher efficiencies, you could alternatively use the Stirling engine I designed and get another 80-110 mpg. Besides being more efficient that any IC engine, it uses the full energy of the fuel (97% anyway) in a steady constant 'torch' type setup. This now allows you to use virtually any fuel. :)
And then... if you are ok with tossing out personal ownership and gasoline, you can switch 75% + of commuter and errand traffic over to Skytran. They use antonymous 2 seat, maglev pods on a power-pole mounted rail (no new footprint) to go from point-to-point at very high speeds, all powered by the grid. When considering the entire system (mine to movement), this yields over 1,000+ MPGe. Silent and under 10% the cost of car travel, this could eliminate over a trillion in national infrastructure and social costs each year.
So you see, there's no reason to sensationalize or compromise like the car above or relate it to some cancer suppression conspiracy to make a point. We just have to get to work and do it.
It sounds like you have given this some thought. Have you thought about actually giving this a shot to get working? If you can lay everything out down to the technical details, and its sound, I can garuntee you would have people willing to donate money throuh something like kickstarter or indiegogo, me being one of them.
While I am skeptical you could get 300mpg average, I do think 100 is certainly doable by bringing in the best existing technologies and even that is a huge improvement over what we currently have.
To climb the mountain, you must believe you can.
but one person guaranteeing I would 'have people' (2... or maybe 3?) willing to donate money doesn't get it done. I've been working on this for over a dozen years now. My primary application is solar thermal powered home electricity but as you can imagine, by using a different fuel, it can be applied to cars and other things.
I've done the Indiegogo thing and it actually cost me money. Since I don't have quality video skills, more money was spent 'trying' to get a video together that never happened, than the $620 I gained. Left a bad taste, ya know?
I've built all the complex parts on my own dime so far and budgets have yet to materialize to put it together. Concepts are proven though. The result is 3 different configs that each apply best to specific needs.
At 130,000 BTU/gallon of gasoline, that translates to 38 kW of power. At 55% efficiency (what I top at now), that's 20.95 kW to move the car. Higher mileage cars driven under regular conditions can go 7 miles/kWh, and peak at more than 12. This means that if it burned 1 gallon each hour, it could drive 146.6 miles. With regenerative braking and 'hill management' and 'traffic management', that could easily top 200 but those would impose driving constraints on how the user drives. Still, it's possible to even broach the 300 mark.
However, even with great numbers, the business plan only attracts sharks and I don't plan on giving away control, especially to banks that use energy companies as 'expert consultants'. This is why my latest 4 year long funding adventure is always "2 weeks" away. I'm so sick and tired of hearing that.
So, given this new info, what is your suggestion now?
Ok, after reading over that, I can tell you exactly whats wrong and why it didnt take off.
First, I mention funding levels. There should be more of these! There should have been levels all the way up to the cost of a full system! And the full system level should have included, as its name suggests, a full system delivered to the person who paid that much; the first few being discounted by a bit meaning people see they are saving money by being early buyers. That donate $100 get a discount is not a good method by itself.
Second, even though it was written out that it was being developed for years, there were no example pictures or videos of a prototype in action. People NEED to see this sort of thing. Even if they were cg, multiple cg pictures showing the system is better than a single ambiguous picture at the top.
Third, the way that was written struck me as people simply asking for money with not really any deliverables to those that donated. This is very important. If someone cant tell that its going to benefit them in some way, they are very probably not going to want to give you their hard earned money.
The best campaigns are indeed those that have flash to them, that is just the fact of it. It doesnt have to be fake flash, but it does have to grab peoples attention and make them say 'hey, thats cool'.
I agree with all your suggestions. Most have been tried though. For example, I did have a more detailed description in the online fundraiser and I got tremendous negative feedback. And without knowing final costs and timeframes, I had a hard time in the decision to not go to the pre-sale funding level. The discounting wasn't a problem because there's lots of cost reduction, through automation, room in there. I just wasn't confident enough in the results (would it produce 2 kW or 20 kW?) to know what the outcome would be.
Pictures would have been a detriment to it. We're doing this work in greasy, dirt floor shops with tons of junk laying around. It's basically a shoestring operation so far because of budget. I didn't have any CG stuff done (I do now) but anything beyond showing what looks like a propane tank would have given away the entire concept so my IP would tank.
I remember taking the plunge into that foray. I was incredibly frustrated that an investor had strung us along for 8 months and then walked because we wouldn't give him everything he wanted. I remember feeling like if the freakin' world wants cheap and clean energy so bad, surely offering it them would get enough people to donate to the cause. After all, what are there, around 50 million people who would really want this to hit the market while art, movies and schools get tons of donations. Naive thinking, I know but it is what it is now.
As far as the 'flash' goes. I tried. I spent the entire 45 days of the fundraiser working with an individual who promised to take a few pics and turn them into a video presentation that would 'knock the socks off' it'viewers. That cost me more than the $600 I eventually took in. Such is the story of my last 10+ years.
You might want to view the post I just added related to this topic. Kind of ranting but IMHO, it's pretty informative to those unaware of where the tech side of the world stands. See it at:
I look forward to your comments there as well. Cheers, Todd.
Ok, well I am not sure how detailed you are talking. There needs to be a summary type part and then there can be the nitty gritty details including math and all that for people who understand it; just having the raw technical details is a no go.
Regarding results, thats the problem, you should have some idea of them. It doesnt need to be down to the mW amounts or anything but a rough estimate is good enough with the promise of more concrete values at a later point. It isnt that hard to calculate incoming energy based on time of year and when cloudy and all that kind of stuff. That would be all thats needed to show an estimate.
Regarding cost, once again, this shouldnt have been too hard to calculate to give an estimate. Yes materials pricing will fluxuate some, but typically not in large swings. You take the average roof area in the US, figure out the minimum and maximum amount of materials you would want to use to cover it and then that would give you a base cost; likely good for a couple years assuming no suprises.
In the case of actual examples and photos. That guy didnt sound professional. He should have been able to quote you a cost for doing what he did before he did it; and that cost wouldnt have changed much because he would only have been doing a simple job; suprises would have been unlikely here.
Investors, I would have suggested a contract of some sort there. They should know exactly(or close anyway) what they are getting into before they do it as well as they should know what they have a say in and what they dont. Yes, finding funding can be hard, but having someone use their funding input as a bargaining chip can cause more trouble than its worth. The bargaining should be done before funding starts, not after.
I am going to touch on the pictures topic. I think you lacked some vision on that point. Yea, there may have been junk laying around, but was there a problem with simply moving what you wanted to take the picture of? I mean, it could have been moved outside with a wall for the background. I can understand if there may have been junk laying everywhere and maybe you were also crowded in a city so there wasnt room. In this case, I would have suggested to simply cover the junk with some plain sheets, or set up sheets like a back drop. It would not have mattered if some stuff was dirty, labeling things as under construction etc would have been enough; most people arnt going to be expecting should ultra-clean shiny device.
Yes, I have seen this sort of thing. I will be back later today when I have more time to critique that.
The one thing I can say straight away though is that those funding levels are not nearly enough. There should be more as in up to like $10000 levels.
Its not as simple as that man =)
Automobile companies spend billions on such research. But I love the sentiment. When I have a liberty serving idea, I'll definitely apply for a 'Moneybomb'.
I had this dream of a Liberty Investment Forum back during the primaries and I still wonder how it would play out.
No, I know nothing is ever simple and even if it seems simple at first, it can get complicated very quickly. However, I have paid some attention to technology and I can say that in this case, its not as complex as it seems. We have technology and design improvements that would increase fuel efficiency by quite a bit, they simply need to be utilized.
One example, there was a car that got 10000mpg. No, it certainly wasnt a commercial car, it was done as part of a competition among universities. Obviously we likely arnt going to get 10000 mpg on the average car, but why not 1% of that? 1% being 100mpg. If that isnt possible, than I think we must have reached the end all of technology...
but rather innovative cars such as Amory Lovins' Freedom Car. That's a purpose built, lightweight carbon fiber car with the weight reductions allowed by having a smaller engine and less 'extras'. I can't find what he's 'projecting' these days but years ago, he was saying he could get 200 mpg from a battery powered car. If we further reduce the weight (we might only have 2 batteries instead of 200), we have something that fits best with this configuration.
Still, I think there's even a market to replace the traditional GM 350 V8/TH350 transmission. In that 15 mpg vehicle, we could easily top 60 mpg with no other changes.
I would feel safer on a bicycle.
At least drivers are more careful around them. Build a freakin traditional V8 engine. At least you have this for protection ie head on impacts.
The fuel and weight savings are tremendous, but Chan says we shouldn’t expect to see cars like the Black Widow outside of competitions. This baby, as cool as it is, is purely academic. “By no means are we developing cutting edge technology that will be used in future vehicles,” he said. “More than anything, our club is training engineers to push the boundaries of efficiency so when they enter the working world, it will be no different in how they approach other designs.”
What's that? They're using a 3 hp engine and the car weighs less than a person? Top speed 35mph without changing the gear ratios out and losing mpg?
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