Following is a concept of urban vehicle presented through two proposals which seek to re-evolve the design of private vehicle for effeciency
My primary objective is to rethink the design and concept of an urban vehicle to make it:
1- Significantly more fuel efficient
2- Significantly smaller in size
3- While trying to maintain the safety, comfort and power of ordinary production vehicles.
What actions do you propose?
Proposal 1: I propose that internal combustion engine be placed inside a spherical front wheel to enable unique forms of transmission systems which significantly reduces energy loss
Option A: Railway Transmission
A rotary gearwheel carrying rotational energy directly from rotating axle attached to the crankshaft should be used to rotate a hollow funnel-like metal structure using rack and pinion mechanism. The metal structure is fixed to, or is a part of the wheel, which both rotate together. A series of radial tracks ( or racks) parallel to each other, is carved inside the metal structure funneling at one end such that each track is smaller than the previous as we move inside the funnel. As the rotary gearwheel changes track, the gear changes.
Explanation:it can be imagined that a railway track is rounded to form a wheel like structure inside which the train runs. As the train engine exerts force, only the wheel moves rather than the train.
The rotary gear, the train in our analogy, will remain on the track for the same reasons as a traditional train remains on track (suffecient amount of force should always push the gearwheel downwards and the outermost diametre of the gearwheel should be smaller the diameter at the center of gear wheel ) and should use similar mechanism to change track as the train- hence the name railway transmission.
Option B 1: Rack and Pinion Transmission
This mechanism is similar to Option A in all respects, except that instead of a single gear wheel being pushed down with a force and changing tracks, there should be a separate gearwheel for each track (separate pinion for each rack) all fixed in their positions.
All gearwheel are on a single rotating axle which is attached directly to the crank shaft. All gear wheels (pinions) are same size, and the track (rack) sizes vary.
Instead of changing tracks, the gearwheels work on a lock and free mechanism. When we need to gear up, the gearwheel/ pinion on the smaller track gets locked to the rotating axle, the rest of the gearwheels on even smaller tracks rotate freely with the rack.
Option B 2: Same as option B1 except that all the tracks (racks) are the same size and gearwheels (pinions) vary in size. Practically , by using a hollow cylindrical structure rather than funnel-like structure.
It follows naturally from the above mechanisms that:
1- the entire spherical ( or sphere-like) wheel including the engine has to be rotated to turn the car.
2-A sophisticated shock absorbing and suspension system will have to be designed to manage the smooth working of the system and control maximum and minimum relative forces between engine and the wheel at certain junctions.
3- A cooling system should be built in the wheel
Other key implications of the above proposal for the design and concept of the vehical:
1-This will help shifting the centre of gravity much closer to the ground, and hence, enable the size of the vehicle reduced considerably without making it any less safer.
2-The mechanism will encourage a three wheel vehicle, which is more aerodynamically efficient- increasing fuel effeciency
2- This will eliminate several parts from the vehicle, hence reducing the weight- increasing fuel effeciency
3- make the design much more compact, hence reducing the size.
Proposal 2: I propose the following key design features in my concept vehicle:
1-The vehicle should be a compact two seater
2-The seats should be lifted with a motor to seat passengers and then sink to the bottom of the car (which should be their original position) This would enable the car to be almost as flat as formula one cars and he much more aerodynamically efficient with much lower center of gravity.
3-The rear wheels should be very large and slimmer, such that when the passengers are seated they are effectively sitting between the rear wheels and are shielded by the wheels. Subsequently the wheels should be strong and have built in mechanisms to act as safety equipment.
4-The doors should open along with the roof, to make sitting very comfortable.
5-all the controls of the car should be reduced to a single large joystick so the the whole body may not need to remain strained during traffic jams. Solar or regenerative energy can be used to store electrical power for these tasks.
6- The design of the vehicle should be inspired from Formula 1 cars
Why I do not propose an electric car?
There is a saying in Urdu language, which roughly translates to: “Whether you hold your right ear directly from your right hand or by twisting your left hand behind your nape to hold your right ear, it’s the same thing.”
Electric cars use electricity which is itself mostly produced by non renewable resources with enormous carbon footprint and loss of energy in the process of conservation.
Flaws with the proposal?
I belong to the financial world and I am not an engineer. I understand that my proposed designs and concepts might be as premature as Da Vinci’s Helicopter. But I strongly feel this is the way forward. Certain people’s rigid view of what a beautiful car is should not hinder the way for what is more efficient, feasible and elegant.
Being stuck in never-ending traffic jams in the huge crowded city of Karachi and seeing the fuel being consumed, made me think what would shed much of the burden. Necessity is the mother of invention.
Who will take these actions?
Bold businesses who can see ahead- the need for change. Individual consumers in their own best interest.
Where will these actions be taken?
Crowded cities of the world
How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?
What are other key benefits?
Other key benifits include:
1-Proposal 1 will help shifting the center of gravity much closer to the ground, and hence, enable the size of the vehicle be reduced considerably without making it any less safer.
2-The mechanism will encourage a three wheel vehicle, which is more aerodynamically efficient- increasing fuel efficiency
3- Proposal 1 will eliminate several parts from the vehicle, hence reducing the weight- increasing fuel efficiency
4- Proposal will make the design much more compact, hence reducing the size.
5- Flatter vehicles will be more aerodynamically efficient
6- Joystick -like control will relax the body and improve driving experience
7-Sitting between strong wheel will make it safer, in case of an accident, despite much smaller size
8- The unique transmission system, if successfully evolved, can have several applications in various fields of engineering.
9- If vehicles occupy lesser space on the road they will have to waste lesser energy in traffic jams.
What are the proposal’s costs?
Depends on the nature and extent of R&D carried out. For example university students may build a project envisaging only certain aspects of the design concept
If a leading automobile company takes on the idea the vehicle may be on production line within hardly 5 years. And depending on how well it is received by the public, it might be on the roads soon after that, reducing carbon footprint and energy loss.