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Is it time for automakers to get the fat out?

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Comments

  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    In one of my cars, I like some reserve capacity just for convenience. I have a family of four, but sometimes I throw in a couple of grandparents or somebody else's kids. On the other hand, the car I drive barely has room for the four of us. I think We all overbuy because the incremental cost of doing so has historically been so low.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    Well yeah, and even now it isn't really that high. But my point was not that people shouldn't have a larger vehicle if they want one, but that lb/passenger ratios were not very telling, and even counter-productive.

    I do feel strongly that all vehicles should be much lighter, even (especially?) the really big ones that can carry 7-8 passengers.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    My Pilot seems like a beast at 4400 lbs until I see a Suburban at over 5700. Unless you are towing a mobile home, why bother?
  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    Why couldn't vehicles be manufactured to be modular such that you would buy something like a CRX as the base component or the front of a Chevy Avalanche, and then if you need the room you buy a modular add-on section?

    That way you could have your Smart-car like vehicle, and have the option of the versatility. I could see the price of the Base section at $15K - $20K, with the optional add-on section being another $7500?

    The base section would have 4-wheels, an engine and the controls. The base section would have a rear panel that drops down, and a mating-surface for the add-on section. The add-on section could be a pick-up bed or a rear-seat/trunk section. It would have 2 wheels for balance; so the vehicle has 6-wheels total, with only the base-section driven (either 2 or 4 WD there). You could also install electric motors and batteries in the wheel-wells of the add-on section if further drive was needed.
  • A coworker of mine did just that 25 years ago. He had a pickup and added a cap, then bolted in seats (and belts) from a junk yard as his family grew!
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,594
    I think the biggest problem is that just the modularity is going to add weight. Instead of one big component, you have two smaller components that both need to be able to stand on their own without falling apart. Then there's the added weight of whatever keeps the two components joined together.

    Another problem is picking the correct-sized engine. Pick an engine that's adequate for just the main component, then once you hook up the secondary part it's going to be too much weight for it. In contrast, pick an engine that can move the whole contraption, and when you're just using the main component, you have an oversized engine that's wasting fuel.
  • nortsr1nortsr1 Posts: 1,060
    I also beieve there would be a safety factor involved as far as passing our tough safety standards.
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    Does anybody remember the Nissan Pulsar with the modular back? That went over like a lead balloon.
  • michaellmichaell Posts: 4,300
    Funny you should mention that! There is a picture of one in the "Mystery Car Pictures" discussion - with the SportBack attached.
  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    Instead of one big component, you have two smaller components that both need to be able to stand on their own without falling apart.

    Not really; think of the rear add-on section as a trailer which doesn't move on its own. The drive section and the add-on could interlock similar to a trailer on a trailer hitch, but with 2 balls so it would stay linear.

    Pick an engine that's adequate for just the main component, then once you hook up the secondary part it's going to be too much weight for it.

    Trains and those double tractor-trailers can be designed to carry vary loads, so this isn't rocket science. So you would oversize the engine a little for the drive section making it sporty, so it is adequate with the add-on. Or as I said you could have electric motor drive recharging from the engine in the rear wheels.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,594
    Trains and those double tractor-trailers can be designed to carry vary loads, so this isn't rocket science. So you would oversize the engine a little for the drive section making it sporty, so it is adequate with the add-on. Or as I said you could have electric motor drive recharging from the engine in the rear wheels.

    They also make truck tractors and railroad locomotives with varying amounts of power, mated to the task at hand. You're not going to use a rig designed to haul, say, 10 tons, to move a 40 ton load. And with trains, when the load gets too long, they have the option of adding another locomotive.
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