Next big thing

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Sep 16, 2004
Vista, CA
What's going to be the next big thing in the auto world? Some new things have a ruff start. In the very early 70's Ford came up with a van that would hold 7 passengers and fit in a standard home garage. About 1972 Ford created a clay concept model, the Carousel, and did a survey. It came back so positive that Ford ran another one, with the same results. Henry Ford II did not like the idea and canned it. He said that he was in charge and did not rely on surveys to tell him what to do. In fact he fired the Ford president in charge of the project. That man's name was Lee Iacocca. He went to Chrysler in 1975 and in 1983 a copy of the Ford Carousel, called the Caravan came out and became the next new thing. The SUV came along as the next big thing, but there must be something waiting in the wings?
I think the next big thing will be the 'maintenance free car' with a sealed hood...or a mini maintenance port where you open a little hatch and the few things that can actually be serviced/checked are right there. The exterior would be completely plastic like the Saturn's body panels and the interior would be a material you could just hose off and dry with a towel. Basically like a really big Golf Cart.
I think it'll be the hydrogen vehicle. With that, we won't be held hostage by OPEC and could produce hydrogen using any energy source we desire. The fuel cell technology now being developed can be applied to the hydrogen vehicle. This won't be a serious matter until gas reaches over $5 a gallon. All other improvements in the short term involve added features that make the car even more complicated than it is now.
the next big thing will be a lot of foreclosed homes and abandoned suv's... oh... i'd say cars with balls, no more suv's with offroad packages that sit in cement parking structures, spotless.... i think people are tired of paying $100 to fill the tank and not getting any power in they will realize that the suv was just a fad they got suckered into, they really didn't need a 3 ton tin can to drive to work in.
Its already starting to appear. Small compact cars that get high mileage (in response to the $3 a gallon gas prices), are well built, and (unlike the former compacts) have a lot of creature comforts, gadgets, and goodies. Another prediction. We used to have true compact pickup trucks, made by Ford, Chevy, Nissan, and Toyota. Now, only the Ford Ranger is left, and that may not last long. All the other automakers have upsized their compact to a midsize truck, after convincing us that we needed the extra room, power, torque, speed, goodies, and towing ability. And, fools that far too many of us are, we bought into this. There were real good reasons for the compact pickups. These reasons are being ignored in pickup truck advertising. There's very little reason for the midsized pickup. I think that people will soon wake up to this and demand the return of the compact pickup. Hopefully, the automakers will respond.
A "Luxury" type car with similar dimensions to the Toyota Matrix. A really practically shaped car with good mpg. Like an Audi A3 sportback? Biodiesel. Americans embracing diesel cars. My dad already runs his jetta primarily on b100. My next car will be a diesel as well.
a hybrid that does away with all the electrics and batteries, and uses the hybrid system only for accelleration, and stores/regenerates only sufficient energy to boost acceleration.
Like an Audi A3 sportback?
Took the words right out of my mouth. Too bad America hasn't caught on yet. The price tag(...and lack of a TDI option, IMO) is preventing them from flying off the showroom floors.
I want a hybrid that actually does what it's supposed to. An efficient fixed speed (WOT 24/7) engine that constantly charges batteries or provides supplimental power ...or shuts off. It shouldn't take more than 15hp to move a decent size car down the highway @ 70 mph and provide enough (w/battery power on board) ooomph to get you down the on ramp good enough. The thing may run for an hour after you park it to recharge the batteries. With enough battery capacity ..something like a Sterling cycle engine would work well. The thing may require 6 hours of recharging for a 1 hour commute (who cares??). The total trick (which none of the offerings have seemed to figure out) is to buffer the demand so that the production can be delivered in a very efficient manner. One 18 hp diesel (or gas for that matter) with a fixed throttle, should be much more efficient than our current engines.
Gary, I tend to agree that a "diesel electric" type hybrid system was what I first thought of when I heard hybrids were being developed...not the stupid things we ended up getting. My philosophy is that a reasonable modern turbodiesel in my semi-rural environment trounces the prius in performance and economy. So my system helps you get moving, and that's all.
Winston, In Canada we have a luxury car the size of a matrix..or even closer to the size of a honda civic. It's called an Acura 1.7 EL. The only place they sell it is in Canada. It's basically a 4 door Civic with leather seats and a few extra options. It's because in Canada people have way less disposable income due to extremely high taxes and a dollar worth 70% the US dollar.
That's why you appear so darn happy. If you had more disposible income, you would be miserable like us. [Canada]
Would a diesel/electric hybrid let the diesel engine cool down too many times? I thought diesel engines worked best when worked hard. A propane/electric might be good, but is propane sometimes hard to start? For hybrids the gas/electric might be the best choice.
Larry, you would size the diesel so that it ran 125-150% of the time. You soak up the efficiently produced engergy in the batteries. The deal is make it as small as possible and run it @ WOT. It takes very little power to maintain highway speeds compared to what it does to accellerate. It would run 100% of the time you were driving. It would either be providing 100% of the power to move the car ...or it would be charging the batteries. It would only shut off when the batteries were charged. Like I suggested, an eighteen or twenty hp diesel would be very economical and still give you highway capability. Battery power would be for the hills (up only Shannow suggests - regen braking on the down side) or the on ramps. There would be very few environments that this would not work for the vast number of drivers out there. It would probably (before the gubmit and automakers butchered it into impracticality) yield near 75-85 mpg. Maybe more. You will never see it though. This has actually been done on a homegrown level.
42 volt battery systems. Once this happens you'll see lots of electronics on cars that aren't available today because of the limited electrical resources.
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