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Does the Nucleon come in Cherenkov blue?
April 24, 2008 1:22 PM   Subscribe

Car of the Future, NOVA's latest episode, is fully online and includes a slew of extras including CC-licensed content, a brief historical overview of "innovative" automobiles, Amory Lovins flogging his Hypercar concept, the Car Talk guys making nuisances of themselves, and much more. (It's no Design for Dreaming, but really, what could be?)
posted by cog_nate (21 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Thanks for this. Forgot to set my DVR!
posted by eyeballkid at 1:48 PM on April 24, 2008


But the street has to be pret-ty smoooth!

gah, old cartoons can be slathered in sexism.
posted by cashman at 2:01 PM on April 24, 2008


I hate the Car Talk guys with the fury of 100 Mr. Fusions. That is all.
posted by basicchannel at 2:28 PM on April 24, 2008


Awesome! You'll be able to drive it to the empty grocery store, the boarded-up bank, and the shanty-town outside the county hospital.
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 2:35 PM on April 24, 2008


I ♥ "Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers!"
posted by ericb at 2:40 PM on April 24, 2008


I'd just like to point out that when one of the car talk guys took a sledgehammer to that piece of composite, the implication that it was not damaged is very misleading. Damage to composites is much harder to determine than it is with most metals. While on metals you can see a dent from such a blow, on a composite there can be interior delaminations which act like cracks that severely decrease the strength of a part. Without analyzing the part ultrasonically afterwards, looking at it, saying "hey it only has a couple of scuff marks" and putting it back into service can be dangerous.
posted by crashlanding at 3:03 PM on April 24, 2008


saying "hey it only has a couple of scuff marks" and putting it back into service can be dangerous.

oh.

*looks at bike helmet*
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 3:08 PM on April 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


1) Those two guys don't look anything like I pictured them.
2) I'm struck with how much less annoying their schtick is when it's not on the radio. Tom's laugh doesn't grate on my nerves nearly as much when he's (apparently) not playing it up for the show.
posted by madajb at 3:33 PM on April 24, 2008


I was struck by how much MORE annoying their shtick is on TV. At least on the radio you can pretend they don't look like that crazy guy at Starbucks who won't stop hitting on the young women.

As for the episode: Great great. But I'd like to talk about how awesome the future car is going to be LESS and see it MORE. Like, where can I buy one or shut up.
posted by DU at 4:21 PM on April 24, 2008


When gas hits $10 per gallon next year, the car of the future is suddenly going to have pedals.
posted by mullingitover at 5:12 PM on April 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


So why are Li-ion batteries safe and reliable enough to be used in the Tesla car but not in the Chevy Volt? Is it just a matter of cost, or is one of those two car companies lying? (I really wish that the hosts had spent more time asking critical questions and less time fooling around.)
posted by epimorph at 5:21 PM on April 24, 2008


From what I remember, the battery system is specially designed to be non-explosive. See here. Presumably, Chevy would have to develop similar technology, which could be quite expensive, or license Tesla's technology if they ever decide to do that.
posted by heathkit at 5:55 PM on April 24, 2008


Also, best title ever.
posted by heathkit at 5:55 PM on April 24, 2008


When gas hits $10 per gallon next year, the car of the future is suddenly going to have pedals.

Nah. We got time. That won't happen for at least 19 months. By then there will have been a miracle in car technology.

Right?
posted by tkchrist at 6:18 PM on April 24, 2008


the issue on batteries between Tesla and Chevy(Volt) is that they are two very different battery packs that use, roughly, the same chemistry. Both battery packs must produce similar power outputs(kW) but have vastly different energy requirements(kWh or J). The tesla pack has to support a "250" mile range while the chevy volt has to support a 40 mile range. The peak power requirements of the chevy volt cells are much higher then those of the tesla.

Because the pack is so much larger on the tesla, they can get away with using relatively low power laptop batteries. To meet peak power requirements they have nearly 4000 cells in each battery pack. For the best pack life, each individual cell has to be monitored and equalized to all of the other cells. There is a reason that the Tesla battery pack costs nearly $50k. Tesla also isn't keeping cells from catching fire, they just preventing one cell from lighting up the entire 4000 cell pack.

GM not only needs a much higher power battery, but they also have real consequences if they don't make a safe, reliable, and long lasting battery pack. Tesla will just fold or say tough luck if the packs in its cars crap out after 2 years. How long do laptop batteries normally last? and that is a much more benign environment than the high power draws that are seen in an electric car.

as a rough guess, you could make today a reasonably performing(10-12s 0-60) electric honda civic equivelent with 100mi range for about 40k with li-ions, maybe 30-35k with NimH.
posted by TheJoven at 8:04 PM on April 24, 2008


I watched it, but was disappointed that they didn't mention the Aptera.
posted by lester the unlikely at 8:19 PM on April 24, 2008


Who was the female formula 1 driver in the crash? Or was that not F1?
posted by b1tr0t at 8:40 PM on April 24, 2008


It was Katherine Legge from a CART race.

I think Kubica's F1 crash was more impressive from a survival standpoint, but he was knocked out and didn't race for a few weeks afterwards, so it doesn't work quite as well for the 'and walked away' line.
posted by TheJoven at 9:29 PM on April 24, 2008


Thanks for the explanation about the batteries, The Joven. Now I'm wondering why the Volt needs a higher-power battery. Is it because the Volt is heavier and also has less space for the battery pack than the Tesla?
posted by epimorph at 11:13 PM on April 24, 2008


I do not think that word means what you think it means.
posted by Eideteker at 6:19 AM on April 25, 2008


The Volt needs higher power batteries because it has less battery capacity(peak power for the entire pack is probably very similar between the two cars). It has less capacity primarily for cost. There also needs to be room to package an engine/generator and fuel tank somewhere on the vehicle.
posted by TheJoven at 9:38 AM on April 25, 2008


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