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[P]
Mean green machines?

By iGrrrl in MLP
Wed Jun 06, 2001 at 07:20:10 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

Science fiction author Bruce Sterling has long had an interest in "green" technologies, but he's no hair-shirt environmentalist. In 1999 he started something he called Viridian, from the Latin word for green. The intent of the Viridian Movement is to take a look at everyday products and technologies, an to rethink them so that they are both greener and cooler than products now in use. A year ago he got together with the Sustainability Institute and sponsored a serious design project based on the notion that the electricity meter is about as user-unfriendly and ugly as you can get. The task was to create a meter which would be in the house, and which was more pleasing the more efficient your energy use. (Winners.)

Although the Viridian Meter contest had a cash prize, Sterling has sponsored a number of more lighthearted design contests for items such as teakettles. The latest of these competitions asks for designs for green hotrods. Yep. Hotrods.


From the page:
We're looking for a green vehicle that the late Big Daddy Roth would meet with a fatherly smile of approval == even though it lacks an internal combustion engine. It's got to be completely obnoxious, rebellious and beyond the pale, but (and this is the crucial part) its greenness has to be the chunk of outlaw attitude that is really being rubbed in.
Sterling seems to have gone a bit overboard on an idea which is very true. Until conservation technologies are actually packaged in ways that appeal to us non-hairshirts who like convenience and resist change, they aren't going to fly.

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Poll
Green Hotrod?
o No such animal. 2%
o Maybe in a few years. 37%
o Nothing replaces the roar of internal combustion! 11%
o Honda Insight with flame paint. 37%
o Um, why? 11%

Votes: 35
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Bruce Sterling
o Viridian
o Sustainabi lity Institute
o Winners
o green hotrods. Yep. Hotrods.
o Also by iGrrrl


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Mean green machines? | 10 comments (10 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Green Hotrods (4.00 / 1) (#1)
by shoeboy on Wed Jun 06, 2001 at 05:17:01 PM EST

It's not really a contradiction in terms. An electric motor produces maximum torque at low rpms. An internal combustion engine does not. So electric cars are actually faster off the block than gas powered ones.

There's no problem making an electric car that you can smoke the tires on and beat anything else through the intersection with. The problem with electric cars is the limited range and the time required to recharge the batteries.

--Shoeboy
No more trolls!
Small correction (3.00 / 1) (#3)
by Hillgiant on Wed Jun 06, 2001 at 06:21:50 PM EST

The torque curve for an electric motor is essentially flat. You get the same torque at 10 rpm as you do at 10000rpm.
    Why is this cool?
  • No transmission required.
  • No time lost during shifts.
Do you really think that somebody that doesnt really care about fuel consumption will be bothered by limited range. Also, most real hot rods are sunday drivers or trailer queens.

-----
"It is impossible to say what I mean." -johnny
[ Parent ]

Electric Motors have Linear Torque (5.00 / 1) (#6)
by Merk00 on Wed Jun 06, 2001 at 10:24:36 PM EST

I'm not sure where you're getting that from but all DC motors I've dealt with have had linear torque curves. Basically, angular velocity is inversely proportional to torque. This can, and is frequently, geared down (increased torque, decreased speed) with a gear box. Hand drills are just one example of gearing down. Just for reference they tend to do 20000 rpm but I don't remember the torque numbers off the top of my head (this is from a Bosch 12-volt drill). The gear box generally gears down 1:16 in high speed and 1:64 in low speed. Therefore there is a need for gearing and more importantly a transmission. Even more so if one wants to have a large range of possible speeds with decent torque at all of them. Matt

------
"At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
- FIRST Mission
[ Parent ]

Which is why we bought a Prius (3.00 / 1) (#8)
by iGrrrl on Thu Jun 07, 2001 at 08:39:06 AM EST

Okay, so we aren't the type to want to smoke the tires, but we do like the idea of fuel efficiency and super-low emmissions.

The Toyota Prius is a hybrid vehicle, and doesn't need to be plugged in. It has a small gasoline engine to recharge the battery and give extra torque when needed, and the car also regenerates some electricity by capturing the energy of braking. Me being in a family way, we needed a family car. Four doors, but fully loaded and quite zippy. Don't let anyone tell you hybrid vehicles are slugs. They're not.

--
You cannot have a reasonable conversation with someone who regards other people as toys to be played with. localroger
remove apostrophe for email.
[ Parent ]

California (5.00 / 2) (#2)
by ucblockhead on Wed Jun 06, 2001 at 05:39:24 PM EST

They should market some of those things in California. I bet they'd make a mint.

California consumers have cut their power usage by 11% from last year. I bet with something that showed real feedback, people would do even better.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup

CNG (4.50 / 2) (#4)
by Hillgiant on Wed Jun 06, 2001 at 06:29:44 PM EST

Compressed Natural Gas has an equivalent octane rating of about 130. Higher than racing fuel. This allows you to do some really stupifying stuff. Imagine bragging at the Sonic about how you have a 15:1 compression ratio and a supercharger. While not as clean as fuel cells or battery power, CH4 is a relatively small hydrocarbon so it has a less complex combustion process and produces less NOx, CO, and uncombusted hydrocarbons.

Lean. Mean. Green. Machine

Seriously, I have considered getting an old impala or an IH pickup and doing some serious frankenstien stuff to it. Now only if I could kick this computer hardware habit so I can fund it. =]

-----
"It is impossible to say what I mean." -johnny

It depends on what you're rebelling against (none / 0) (#5)
by anansi on Wed Jun 06, 2001 at 07:13:54 PM EST

If your goal is to disturb the suburban silence, then a nice loud internal combustion engine with a chopped muffler is all you need.

My quarrel is with the automobile as we know it: nothing short of an efficient train system, or perhaps a chinese level of bicycle investment, would count as a "hot rod".

Even if the vehicle is powered by sunshine, it's still a box into which individuals go to maintain their privacy. Privacy should be in the home, not on public streets.

Don't call it Fascism. Use Musollini's term: "Corporatism"

Wow... (none / 0) (#7)
by los on Thu Jun 07, 2001 at 01:08:17 AM EST

Even if the vehicle is powered by sunshine, it's still a box into which individuals go to maintain their privacy. Privacy should be in the home, not on public streets.

What did privacy ever do to you???

I could understand if you made the assertion that privacy is something we can't afford at the cost of trashing the environment. But I can't understand any other reason for depriving people of their privacy on their mandatory commute to work. Even if your concerns are environmental, you've first got to show that there's no way to have both environmentally-friendly transportation AND privacy. Take a look at Ed Anderson's PRT system .

Lee

[ Parent ]

how about a green streetrod? (none / 0) (#9)
by chopper on Thu Jun 07, 2001 at 08:52:11 AM EST

We're looking for a green vehicle that the late Big Daddy Roth would meet with a fatherly smile of approval == even though it lacks an internal combustion engine. It's got to be completely obnoxious, rebellious and beyond the pale, but (and this is the crucial part) its greenness has to be the chunk of outlaw attitude that is really being rubbed in.

the closest i've ever seen is Lightning Rod II, a Ford Model A running on batteries and an electric motor. it really isn't obnoxious per se, but it's a hotrod alright.

give a man a fish,he'll eat for a day

give a man religion and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish

Recumbent bikes (none / 0) (#10)
by error 404 on Thu Jun 07, 2001 at 11:27:08 AM EST

Those show a lot of attitude.
..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

Mean green machines? | 10 comments (10 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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