Prototype design concepts from the book “Surfboard Fin Design: Just the Basics” available from Amazon here.
As a friend of mine constantly points out that if the human race were concerned about air pollution and energy over consumption then we would not be driving around in the cars we’re driving around in. “Huh, what do you mean?” most people ask him.
He then goes on to explain about air drag. We drive around in cars with the driver seat next to the passenger seat. This makes the front surface of the car wider and thus displace more air as it moves along. VW came up with this car back back in about 2002.
So what does this do?
Well my car takes about 55 litres of fuel and gets 450km which works out to 8.2km/L. Most sedans do better than this and most 4WD’s do worse, but it’s not much either side.
When you put the passenger directly behind the driver the efficiency goes to around 100km/L. People will justify all sorts of arguments in their heads against this, but the only way to look at it is this:
Take your existing car you drive now with it’s current engine and current mass.
Put all the seats directly behind the driver.
Curve all the forward edges and
if you can, make the wheels narrower.
Your fuel efficiency will improve drastically.
VW is going towards the same shape with the XL1
which is said to have an efficiency of about 68km/L. However the marketing department has had the final say and totally destroyed the key feature of passengers behind the driver.
I understand that if you need to carry big heavy items you need a big vehicle, but most of the time it’s just a couple of people and basic luggage. At 100km/L verses 10km/L I think many of us would start to rationalise just paying a freight company to carry our big items a few times a year. Then again if you want to convey prestige, power, wealth and (in some peoples minds, sexual prowess) then you should definitely stick with a Hummer, Land Cruiser, or F100 with the widest nobbliest tires on the market. Oh, and upgrade the engine to race spec.
Having said all the above, I look at my own doings and realise through my actions that I am not really an environmentalist at all, even though I’d like to think I am.