Friday, December 21, 2007


I found my next car!
OK it's really a spaceship, but hey.
You wanna get it for me for my birthday?!?!?!
Didn't think so...
It'll set me back about 30k but it can be all electric or hybrid. The hybrid gets between 1000 and 130 miles to the gallon depending on how far you drive. If you drive 60 miles and charge up every night, you won't be running on gas hardly ever - so about 1000mpg. If you drive 400+ miles without charging then you'll need the gas and you'll only get around 130mpg.
Since I only live about 10 miles from work I'll be getting ONE MILLION MPG!!!


Go see the future @


David said...

Cool concept - I hope it's not killed off by industry-protection.

I like the 2 wheel in front concept. Once had a crazy test drive in a Lomax, which are made out of a recycled Citroen 2CV:

I think kits are the ultimate green car - recycling something ready for the scrap-heap. If you take birth to death costs into account, the original manufacturing of a vehicle far outweighs the energy use during its useful lifetime.

Aaron said...

If you take birth to death costs into account, the original manufacturing of a vehicle far outweighs the energy use during its useful lifetime.

Do you have any citations for this? Were this true, then wouldn't automotive manufacturing constitute a far greater percentage of global energy consumption than would automotive transportation? That strikes me as downright crazy. I'm sure all manufacturing industries combined probably rival, or maybe even exceed automotive transportation in terms of energy usage, but auto manufacturing alone?

So far the information I can find suggests that vehicle fuel and fuel production make up about 80% of the energy consumption over the life cycle of a car. This is bound to go down for more fuel efficient cars, but that's at least in part because the vehicle is consuming less fuel, which is presumably a good thing. Anyway, any links you can provide would be great.

spaceJASE said...

You mean like the electric car was a few years ago as per that recent movie "Who killed the Electric Car?"? Yeah hopefully not!

I've heard that argument (total life cycle cost) before and I can see how the user is only one part of 7 or 8 things but I think it can be misleading to just say the COST of production outweighs use. It's good that people consider total life cost - people need to think about where their STUFF goes after they toss it.

Anyways, people have shown me the total life cost of a Hummer vs. a Prius and I can't say it's anything but slanted. I mean - ANY car that's been in production longer will have a cheaper life cost simply because it gets so cheap to produce things down the road once you've actually started. (Hummer started production in 1992 and Prius in 2001 --2004 for our model-- so of course the Hummer will have a cheaper life cost at this point.) I highly doubt the Hummer was made with recycling in mind where the Prius probably was.

Look at game consoles: Microsoft and Sony are taking a HUGE loss on the PS3 and 360 until production costs cheapen down to match the price tag. (Part of the reason Nintendo and the Wii rule - it's just an over-clocked GameCube - only the input is new.) It's a terrible argument to NOT produce something that is WAY better on so many other fronts simply because the initial life cost seems high. That's like saying we should still be using coal burning steam engines instead of newer cleaner technology because making steam engines has a lower life cost.

I'm all for reduce, reuse, recycle - so go make kit cars for SURE! Drive your VW '77 camper into the ground before you buy a spankin' new car! Oh wait - that's me. LOL

Thanks for making me think about this stuff more! I still want this car!

David said...

Yup - you're right Aaron. Time for me to learn something new. I still find it hard to believe that when you take everything into account, from raw material extraction, workers transport, forestry for rubber, paint formulation, steel making, etc. through disposal, that it only takes 20% of the lifetime use. But I stand corrected.

Wired magazine did a good feature on the Aptera this month.

They could also make a good start by encouraging more motorcycles.

Aaron said...

Here's a good dissection of the peculiarities of the publicly-available portions of that Prius vs. Hummer report. The company, CNW research, assumed a prius would only be in service for 109,000 miles (their nonsensical explanation of this figure is here), while a hummer would be driven 200,000 to 300,000 miles depending on the model. They base their calculations on the assumption that a Hummer H1 will be in service for 35 years, but a Prius only 11, and driven only 6700 miles a year at that!

This allows the manufacturing and disposal cost of the Hummers to be spread over 2-3 times as many miles as the Prius. And even if there was legitimate data out there to suggest that Prius owners do drive less than do Hummer owners, it's highly misleading to consider miles per unit of energy the ultimate measure of carbon footprint. It's total energy consumption that counts (meaning were a Hummer three times as efficient as a Prius -- which it is not -- if you drive it three times as much, you've negated the supposed energy savings).

Even more absurdly, since what we are talking here is about behavior, for example Prius drivers might tend to drive less and walk and bike more because they are more energy-conscious (this is for the sake of argument -- I think the data show that they drive about as much as other sedan owners), then the study is being used to support the thesis that by buying a Hummer and driving more to increase its dust-to-dust efficiency, you are reducing your carbon footprint. Which is a ludicrous claim, of course.

One opinion piece posted on the CNW website even claims "Fully armed with all the facts, seniors may want to zip down to their nearest Toyota dealer and trade in their Priuses for Scion xBs. That would be the equivalent of reducing their energy footprint from a size 24D to about a size 5A." The Scion xB is an efficient and economical car to be sure, but to believe their claim you would have to grant every one of the study's ridiculous assumptions and simultaneously assume that these seniors would completely alter their driving behavior such that they drive their Scion xBs twice as much as they would have driven the Priuses. And even then, you'd be measuring carbon output rates (over completely different driving distances, mind you) rather than total carbon output. Completely absurd.

Andy said...

Very cool, and definitely a move in the right direction.

I've often wondered why, when discussing high-mileage, alternative technology cars does the lifetime cost, amortization, etc. come into play, but never when discussing the pros and cons of "regular" cars?

These types of discussions, somehow, become moot when someone's considering, say, and entry level Lexus. When you say, "well it's $27,000 and my car was only $22,000, so it'd take me 13.28 years to recoup the costs...blah blah blah", maybe so, but what about if you went for the leather interior or quad-speakers. They're not particularly good dollars and cents choices, but you might want them.

From what I've seen, the Aptera is pretty comparable, amenity-wise, with other cars in its price class/target market. Am I crazy?