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Interactive Games and Concept Cars (Video)

Roblimo posted more than 2 years ago | from the fantasy-cars-that-will-never-be-manufactured dept.

Transportation 17

So far, Timothy Lord has showed you the Tesla Model S, a CODA electric car, both gas and electric Smarts, and the Chevy Segway. Now, in his final wrap-up video from the North American International Auto Show, he looks at some concept car models he doesn't think will ever make it to production, along with some interactive games some of the car makers used to draw attention to their products.

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17 comments

We need more V12 powered vehicles (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38864087)

V8s sound like iron buggery. I demand the sweet howl of a V12.

Goddamnit who is this Timothy Lords guy?!? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38864271)

Another Slashvertisement / line item on the resume?

I know is a bit offtopic, but... (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | more than 2 years ago | (#38864285)

...Honestly, what's the point of creating several cool concept cars, if none of them reaches the production line?

Re:I know is a bit offtopic, but... (5, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 2 years ago | (#38864367)

A few reasons:

A) Free press. Create a cool concept car and your company gets in the spotlight for a few days.

B) Technical feasibility. Concept cars are a good way to see if something is technically possible, without worrying about things like safety, regulations, etc. Lets face it, as cool as some concept cars look, the chances of surviving in an accident are much better with more conventional designs.

C) Market testing. Even non-production concept cars can judge what the market thinks of a particular car design. Spending a few hundred thousand on one or two cars that are hand made is a lot less risky then spending millions on the infrastructure and production of an unpopular production model.

Re:I know is a bit offtopic, but... (2)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38864477)

Correction for C.

A concept car cost millions, engineers and custom fabrication work do not come cheap. Ramping up production for a new model is in the hundreds of millions to billions area.

Re:I know is a bit offtopic, but... (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38867945)

A concept car cost millions, engineers and custom fabrication work do not come cheap.

lots of concepts are hacked from existing models in a couple of weeks, while others are scratch-built designs, some of which are still banged out in a couple of weeks, at least the major parts. then there are others they can't get right after years :p

Re:I know is a bit offtopic, but... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38864449)

Perfectly on-topic, actually.

Car companies develop concept cars as part of their research and development strategies. While it is indeed very rare for a concept car to make it to a production line, they essentially serve as prototype platforms for a variety of technologies. If some engineer comes up with an improved anti-lock braking system (to use a random example) that differs wildly from tried-and-true status quo, they'll rig up a prototype and add it to a concept car where it can be tested in the physical world. If it works well (and passes all kinds of cost-benefit analysis), the company may decide to put it on a production model.

Concept cars are also very useful for trying out new styles and body designs that might be too far ahead of (or just too different from) the modern market's taste. You often see styling cues on new production models that were prototyped on concept cars a few years back.

The black kid was practicing fleeing from the popo (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38865603)

Notice how he blasted right through that intersection without first slowing down to see if he had right of way first?

Chevy Segway (2)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 2 years ago | (#38865889)

What a crap name for a car.
Why would the pick a name already associated with another (lamer) transport product?

Just more evidence for my ongoing conspiracy theory that car companies actually don't want people to buy electric or hybrid vehicles. They have to be seen to be making an effort, but actually they prefer to just keep making/selling the same old internal combustion cars.

They also seemingly make all hybrids and electrics unnecessarily ugly, expensive and with reduced performance from what they should be easily able to achieve.

Re:Chevy Segway (2)

CaptSlaq (1491233) | more than 2 years ago | (#38867179)

What a crap name for a car. Why would the pick a name already associated with another (lamer) transport product?

Just more evidence for my ongoing conspiracy theory that car companies actually don't want people to buy electric or hybrid vehicles. They have to be seen to be making an effort, but actually they prefer to just keep making/selling the same old internal combustion cars.

They also seemingly make all hybrids and electrics unnecessarily ugly, expensive and with reduced performance from what they should be easily able to achieve.

Um... Porsche (a few models are offered hybrid now), Fisker (Karma), Honda (the CR-Z is actually a reasonably sporty looking and affordable piece), and Tesla (S and formerly the Roadster) all make fairly good looking electric/hybrids. As to performance, since efficiency is king in most hybrid implementations, performance will often get reduced. Until batteries get the energy density that's at least somewhat parity with petrol/diesel, all battery powered vehicles are going to be a bummer when you run the pack out. Since Hybrids have to have the worst parts of both petrol/diesel and battery powered cars... well, there's not much to be done there outside of more research.

Re:Chevy Segway (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 2 years ago | (#38868611)

Yes I'm already aware of the Fisker and Tesla. They actually prove my point.

Fisker and Tesla have proved a 'boutique' car manufacturer can produce a high performance luxury electric sports car, in low numbers (so the & of R&D cost per car is massive) and still sell it profitably for around $100k.

It just confirms my point that a mass-manufacturer such as Chevy or Toyota could and should be able to do better for cheaper han a Volt or Prius.

Re:Chevy Segway (1)

CaptSlaq (1491233) | more than 2 years ago | (#38870119)

Yes I'm already aware of the Fisker and Tesla. They actually prove my point.

Fisker and Tesla have proved a 'boutique' car manufacturer can produce a high performance luxury electric sports car, in low numbers (so the & of R&D cost per car is massive) and still sell it profitably for around $100k.

It just confirms my point that a mass-manufacturer such as Chevy or Toyota could and should be able to do better for cheaper han a Volt or Prius.

Since you've focused on the pure electric cars, I'll respond in kind.

Battery energy density (which is exceptionally poor compared to a tank of petrol/diesel/CNG/Propane) is the problem, not a lack of desire or engineering chops. EVERYONE who is involved with car design, engineering, or tinkering wants an electric car that can do everything the current gasoline/diesel powered car can because of all the advantages that it gets you over EVERY step of the process:

Design gets a break because they don't have to dedicate a solid cubic meter (or more) of space to an engine/transmission combination: Batteries can be spread out and manufactured in almost any shape you want. Very powerful electric motors are considerably smaller than most transmissions. Exhaust systems, which are always in the very least annoying because they usually run the length of the vehicle, go away. The air space under the car can be reclaimed for cabin space or dedicated to more power storage if needed. All of this allows the designer to think more about the art and functionality of the car, instead of "how am I going to cram an engine into this thing?" Sure, part of the tradeoff is "How do I cool the motor and battery?", but again you wind up with more flexibility because batteries can be flexibly designed and motors are small.

Engineering gets a break because they don't have to deal with all the compromises that tuning a motor for torque/horsepower and efficiency. The power delivery system is considerably simpler because all you have is some sort of regulator between the battery and the electric motor. The amount of stuff you have to monitor drops considerably because you don't need to know how much air is entering the engine, the pressure that the fuel pump is working at, emissions, etc. The parts bin count for the drivetrain drops by a significant amount.

Motorheads want all of that torque that a motor can provide as early as possible. It doesn't matter if you're rock crawling, racing, or even just driving around town. Having the power delivery be predictable and non-lumpy is a significant thing. There's a reason why most who advertise engine power crow about "we give you 90% of rated torque from [x] RPM!". Electric motors give it all to you from rev one. It also makes the entire vehicle easier to work on since the parts count is smaller.

Tesla and Fisker have dumped massive amounts of cash into their battery development and aren't exactly in a place where they can say "Hey guys, this is how we did it!" and still turn a profit. I'm certain that if one of the top tier auto makers gave the owners a large enough check, they'd sell the entire operation to them. Even if they did, I'm under the assumption that the way they're doing things isn't exactly cheap in either materials or assembly labor.

Even if Fisker or Tesla did sell out to a big manufacturer, and they worked out the entire "cheap battery" thing, the one thing that they haven't cracked for their cars is the "splash and go". There was a time in my past when driving 600 miles in a day wasn't uncommon. None of the manufacturers can do that on pure electric. We're back to a power density problem. In what most would consider flyover country in the states, 150 miles of range is "almost enough" for a day's work.

The problem, as I see it, isn't the manufacturers, or a lack of desire. The ALL want it. It's that science hasn't cracked the root problems of storing energy in as efficient manner than we already have discovered in current fuels, nor the replacement of that energy in a fairly timely manner. When these problems get even CLOSE to solved, you'll see the shift you want to see. Some say that the future is an on-board energy manufacturing. I can't speak to it, but if someone could work out a way to squeeze most of the power out of current fuels without burning it (or at least not burning the carbon part of it) that would be an interesting thing.

Electric worse then gas (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38874833)

Most coal driven power plants, use, well coal, the burn off of coal is 6-8 times more toxic then a petro cars.. So while you charge your electric car (if the plant, in or, around you, uses coal) you are furthering the problem of pollutants. I have to say I am biased on this because I build, cars and performance engines.. I will also say the problem with shitty fuel mileage is due in part to these idiot 7:0:1 compression ratios. If you want a earth friendly fuel, ethanol is the way to go but you need a 10:0:1 compression in order to get good fuel millage. You can also say the shit additives they put in petro fuel is another reason for the shitty gas millage. A 9:01 or 9:5:1 compression would be by far the best for better fuel millage, this also depends on a vehicles gross weight. But the fossil fuel companies and car companies seems to be in bed with each other!!!! What a shocker!!!!!!!!!

games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38957539)

very good post, I would like to learn more about these issues play

F: Zoe [juegosgratisya.com.mx]

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