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Power Transportation

Hungarian Electric Car Splits Into Two Smaller Cars 147

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the i-get-the-good-half-in-the-divorce dept.
Lanxon writes to mention that Antro, a Hungarian car manufacturer, is developing a new electric car that can split into two smaller cars. Antro plans to have it on the market by 2012. "The environmentally-conscious company started research back in 2002 and, with backing from various local sponsors, has invested 1.5 million euros in market research and development of a working prototype. The Antro Solo concept is a three-passenger car, with a hybrid drive and solar cells on its roof that the company says could generate enough electricity for up to 20km a day at city speeds. Futuristic looking in itself, the grander plan for the car is much more audacious: Antro intends to allow users to be able to connect two Antro Solos to form a six-passenger Antro Duo. Or perhaps more interesting still, owners of a Duo could split the car into two smaller Solos should Mum have different weekend plans to Dad. Or if they divorce."
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Hungarian Electric Car Splits Into Two Smaller Cars

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  • by sakdoctor (1087155) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @12:59PM (#31261934) Homepage

    People don't like futuristic looking stuff. If they did, we'd all be wearing white or silver jumpsuits.

    • by SEWilco (27983) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @01:09PM (#31262092) Journal
      Someone isn't wearing their silver jumpsuit?
      • FTFA: The current prototype looks interesting, but I can't believe its chances of ever making it to past the prototype stage are much above slim.
      • by DFJA (680282)
        No, they're wearing their tin-foil jumpsuit instead.
    • by Moraelin (679338)

      What, you mean, you don't? Hmm... maybe that's why they were looking at me like that in the last meeting ;)

    • by Anonymous Monkey (795756) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @01:10PM (#31262102)
      What, you don't like my jumpsuit...I'll switch to spandex then.
    • Something like this:

      http://vne-resource.iol.co.za/30/picdb/1/7/105701 [iol.co.za]

      With some minor detail changes, like the badge. Cos it's practical, affordable, easy to maintain, people can actually use it every day, put the shopping in the boot, the kids in the back seat, sit in a reasonably comfortable position, see what's going on in front and behind. etc.

      It will not look anything like this:

      http://www.geekologie.com/2007/12/07/future-car-1.jpg [geekologie.com]

      I mean... WTF?

      • by phoenix321 (734987) * on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @02:24PM (#31263116)

        Let's just say I hope we'll all be able to choose our own vehicles.

        I hope there's at least one manufacturer bold enough to actually SELL the cars they are constantly presenting as proof-of-concept, pre-series, prototypes and all that.

        There's a ton of incredibly beautiful, modern, futuristic or even plain future cars at major trade shows, but they never ever sell the damn things.

        I don't want to *put* kids in the back, they can crawl into the backseat themselves. I don't want to put groceries in the *boot*, I can put them in whatever cargo compartment is aerodynamically perfect. I don't need to sit in the upright grandpa position, I love to lounge or slouch comfortably, thank you.

        That said, I would prefer http://www.geekologie.com/2007/12/07/future-car-1.jpg [geekologie.com] all the time.

        Because the other model frankly looks like all the others on the parking lot at the mall, bland, boring, traditional, practical, economical and above all like it was designed for or even by my grandmother.

        We need Spice in design. And we need Moar.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Tablizer (95088)

      People don't like futuristic looking stuff. If they did, we'd all be wearing white or silver jumpsuits.

      Lady Gaga is certainly putting the world on that track.
           

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mcgrew (92797) *

      It's obvious you're young, since you have no idea what it's like to live in the future. People DO like futuristic looking stuff. If they didn't, your TV and radio would be plastic boxes made to look like wood and your car would be a station wagon with wood panels on the side.

      Jump suits are not futuristic; "futuristic" does not equal "dorky".

    • People don't like futuristic looking stuff. If they did, we'd all be wearing white or silver jumpsuits.

      you wear clothes?

      How quaint.

      :P

    • by Rei (128717)

      Sounds like someone's just grumpy because Lastday is coming up.

    • by Mikkeles (698461)

      For an alternate view of a splittable car, see Malcolm [imdb.com].

    • Futuristic? The first thing it reminded me of, was the main car model they had in Idiocracy.
      I wish I had a Dilldozer (or Assblaster) to drive over that wheelchair with a car body. ;)

      (Btw: Idiocracy pictures seem to be exceptionally rare. :/)

    • It looks like a computer mouse, or a shoe. Looking at the picture of the car at the Wired website, it seems that the car has a large surface area covered with glass. This means that the car will turn into a hot glasshouse during the day. Opening the windows or switching on the air-con would be inefficient/use up a lot of power. Another concern is the structural integrity of the car. A head on collision will shatter the glass windscreen/roof directly on the passengers. I assume, that should the car ever go i
    • by hey! (33014)

      The hair. Don't forget the purple metallic hair color. Moon babes in skintight white catsuits and purple hair. Mmmm.

      I'm all for Gerry Anderson's vision of future fashion.

  • by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @01:01PM (#31261958) Journal

    Great, so now you can separate the saucer section and let the civilians escape while the crew remains on the battle bridge to distract the Romulans.

  • I wonder how long it took them to come up with that one.

    • by Tablizer (95088) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @01:43PM (#31262586) Journal

      I wonder how long it took them to come up with that one.

      One day while driving, an engineer's wife was nagging the shit out of him...
             

      • One day while driving, an engineer's wife was nagging the shit out of him...

        Ah, I was wondering if that was originally supposed to be an escape pod.

  • KISS (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheKidWho (705796) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @01:01PM (#31261976)

    Keep It Simple Stupid.

    • Re:KISS (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted@slashd[ ]org ['ot.' in gap]> on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @02:46PM (#31263450)

      But what if you are NOT stupid?

      That rule fell for its own error in logic a looong time ago.
      The error was, that the ideal is efficiency! Simplifying it to “simplicity” is on oversimplification, causing loss of purpose. Because too simple means harder again. Because in that case, you actually lose efficiency.

      Clippy is a perfect example. If one is really dumb (no offense), one will find Clippy useful. But every normal human being will loathe that thing.

      The same happens to everything, if you apply KISS long enough. It’s only a matter of time.
      Which is why I went back to efficiency a long time ago.

      Please stop parroting that old wives tale. It’s deprecated. Thank you. :)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        But what if you are NOT stupid?

        Then you already kept it simple, so you don't need the reminder.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Graff (532189)

        That rule fell for its own error in logic a looong time ago.
        The error was, that the ideal is efficiency! Simplifying it to "simplicity" is on oversimplification, causing loss of purpose. Because too simple means harder again. Because in that case, you actually lose efficiency.

        You might not know this but the Keep It Simple, Stupid (KISS) principle [wikipedia.org] is that if you are given two ways of doing something equally well you are usually best off choosing the more simple way. It's not "lose all functionality because simple is always better". In other words, unnecessary complexity is bad - necessary complexity is, well, NECESSARY!

        The other part of the philosophy is that, in general, you are better off with several simple components instead of one monolithic device. This is related to the id

      • by westlake (615356)

        Clippy is a perfect example. If one is really dumb (no offense), one will find Clippy useful. But every normal human being will loathe that thing.

        Did they really? I sometimes wonder.

        Because I can't recall ever hearing a Clippy joke in the real world.

        The right person to ask whether Clippy was useful was the office worker or the office manager. Not the geek.

      • But what if you are NOT stupid?

        You know, he's right. Not being stupid means the car a ton of moving parts will be just as reliable as one with only half.

      • by TheKidWho (705796)

        No, you're wrong. KISS is about avoiding unnecessary features or complex mechanisms when there is a simpler choice. It's about improving reliability and cost, not efficiency.

  • Malcom? (Score:3, Informative)

    by shogun (657) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @01:02PM (#31261988)

    Sounds like they watched this old Australian film: Malcolm [wikipedia.org]

    • Exactly my first thought. Here is the relevant clip. [youtube.com]
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      There was an episode of Candid Camera (sometime in the lat '50s or early '60s) that had a volkswagon cut in half down the middle, that could detach with each half going around an obsticle and then reattach. The looks on people's faces when they saw this thing on the street was hilarious.

      Even though I was a kid, I marvelled at the nerdy engineering it must of taken to rig that thing up. It was awesome.

    • I like the MythBusters method [youtube.com] more.
  • Grand Theft Half Auto?
  • Family Time (Score:5, Funny)

    by SEWilco (27983) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @01:07PM (#31262060) Journal
    "You doing OK back there, kids?"
    "Kids?"
    "Oh, where have they gone off to now?"
  • Safety? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tsa (15680) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @01:10PM (#31262106) Homepage

    Not only is a car that splits in two a ridiculous idea, both cars will most probably never comply with the required safety standards in Europe and the US.

    • by Tablizer (95088)

      Not only is a car that splits in two a ridiculous idea, both cars will most probably never comply with the required safety standards in Europe and the US.

      Getting a double car to pass is a matter of simply bribing with double the usual amount.
         

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by tsa (15680)

        In the US, yes, but in Europe things are a bit different. Corruption isn't legal here.

    • by Dare nMc (468959)

      in US a 3 wheeled vehicle is usually considered a motorcycle legally. As far as I can tell a motorcycle has no crash standard (other than it is bad to be the motorcyclist in a crash.)
      So I would say the opposite, this is a way to avoid crash safety standards in US (sell the trikes only of course.)

  • It's hard to take Antro when the car looks like a worm [solo-duo.hu].
  • You'll shit bricks over their concept scooter [solo-duo.hu].
  • by jbb999 (758019)
    So it can do "up to 20km" per day. Well we all know that means that any you actually get will only manage 15km as the 20 will be without stopping, with no lights or radio on etc... And on a dark rainy winters days lets say that will drop to 10 km. And you've got to get there and back so that's 5km away you can get if you want to come home. Plus who will risk running out of power half way home? So you'll never risk more than about 3km away from home. SO great, a car that if you charge it up all day, you c
    • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @01:30PM (#31262410)

      No.

      It can do up to 20km per day with just the charge it can get from the solar panels. Its internal power source is a "conventional" hybrid.

      No gas tank size is specified, so it's not clear just how far it can go without refueling.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Migraineman (632203)
        I'm dubious. Let's be generous and say that the roof is 2 sq.m. Insolation at the earth's surface is about 1 kW/sq.m, meaning you've got a whopping 2kW you can collect. With really good and really expensive solar cells, you're looking at 30% efficiency (yeah, space-grade go to 40%, but are brutally expensive.) So your 2kW becomes about 650W usable. That's less than 1hp continuous.

        So if you have a super-efficient drivetrain, and you never exceed 20kph, and you only drive on flat terrain, and you al
    • by Mashdar (876825)
      Well at least now I have an excuse to fill the garage with things other than my car. Before I just felt like a fool.
  • Constructicons joke in 4...3...2..
  • It would be a bus!

  • On reading this, does anyone else think of a circus car that splits in half, with clowns falling out both sections?

    Or those cars in the movies that break in half, with the front half going one way and the guys in the back frantically trying to keep the back part going in the same direction.

  • by Reziac (43301) * on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @01:20PM (#31262258) Homepage Journal

    Candid Camera did a prototype of such a vehicle a long, long time ago...

    Follow that car!
    [car splits in half and goes separate ways]
    Which one??

    • by Rick17JJ (744063)
      I remember watching that episode of the Candid Camera TV show decades ago. The car would be driving along and then suddenly split in two, with one half of the car turning left and one half turning right. I have forgotten the details of the episode, but presumably the hidden camera recorded peoples reactions or attempts to explain what they had seen to other people.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Reziac (43301) *

        I've seen it too. What I remember was that some hapless taxi driver would be told "follow that car" then when it split and the driver had to decide which to follow, the hidden camera would record his reaction, as seen from the back seat. As I recall the range of reactions went from lame excuses to outright panic.

        Now get that damned car off my lawn! ;)

  • There are always half a dozen spots about a foot too small on my block... so break up the car and park each half separately! Brilliant!

    • Heading toward a toll booth in a Solo? Find another, hook up, split the toll, and go on your way! Might work at parking meters too.

      • Brilliant! These are *extremely practical* ideas. Unfortunately, upon examining the design of these things (http://www.solo-duo.hu/main.php?category=126 [solo-duo.hu]) I believe that when attaching two Solos, you'd end up with two leftover Solo rear ends -- basically just the back window and a free axle. I doubt there's any way to stow those inside the combined vehicle; I guess they expect you to keep them at home in your car-hole.

  • So you get two 1.5 passenger cars? Cool! I wonder what plane you use to divide your #3.
    • No, 1 car is 3 passengers, the duo is 6 passengers. Derrrrr

    • by ubercam (1025540)

      No.

      It's a 3 passenger car. You can hook two 3 passenger cars together to make a 6 passenger car...

      I know this is Slashdot and RTFA is usually verboten, but has RTFS become that difficult?

  • Yet so cool
  • the idea is hardly new - I permanently mounted a pair of 18-volt, 5-watt amorphous solar cells on the rear parcel-shelf to top up the battery when its parked and subsidise the electricity used when running.

    the car is a diesel Ford Mondeo (Mercury Mystique in USA) so I don't get any traction power from my solar cells, but it makes starting up a lot easier and does cause a measurable improvement in fuel economy.

    However: given that 10 watts of solar power cost me £80 (UK GBP) I have some reservati
    • Yes. Solar cells are currently approx. 8 sq M per peak kilowatt, and I've just ordered 25 sq M for my roof. That should generate approx. 2700 KWH/year, which is enough to send a typical Euro supermini about 7000 miles at 70mph. With 25 sq M of effective sail area, that range and speed will reduce rather a lot. And that's before you factor in the tonne of batteries for when the sun isn't shining.

      A solar powered ship will doubtless eventually be feasible, as will be a low speed (20-30mph) truck. But not cars.

  • by gurps_npc (621217) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @01:42PM (#31262568) Homepage
    Forgot the "people that own two can combine them into one car" side by side.

    Instead go with length wise connections and "People on the highway for long trips that want to save money on gasoline can connect multiple vehicles into a train."

    This would reduce gas/energy consumption by at least 28% (as per Mythbusters 2007 , episode 80, drafting 2 ft behind a big rig reduced gas consumption by 28% Connecting ).

    No it won't work in the cities where people get off the the highway often, but out west where people ride for miles, a little bit of comm networking and boom you can easily have people joining up into road trains, saving gas.

    • by mpe (36238)
      Instead go with length wise connections and "People on the highway for long trips that want to save money on gasoline can connect multiple vehicles into a train."

      Indeed trains are the only kind of vehicle where such splitting and combining is common, even routine.


      No it won't work in the cities where people get off the the highway often, but out west where people ride for miles, a little bit of comm networking and boom you can easily have people joining up into road trains, saving gas.

      You'd probably w
    • This would reduce gas/energy consumption by at least 28% (as per Mythbusters 2007 , episode 80, drafting 2 ft behind a big rig reduced gas consumption by 28%

      How much fuel was the big rig consuming?

      • by Calinous (985536)

        The same as without a car tailing him.

      • by gurps_npc (621217)
        The big rig had to move the air either way. The only question is, will the cars take advantage of the reduction in air friction from the big rig or not.
  • General comments (Score:4, Informative)

    by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @01:44PM (#31262602)

    1. >129 mpg by design. I'll be interested in seeing whether it can actually reach that.

    2. Seats three. Center seat is slightly forward, and it looks like the steering wheel is in the center. Which will make getting in and out a royal pain for the driver.

    3. Nominally, it's 3.2 m long. When two of them are mated up, the combination is 4.8 m long. Where's the other 1.6 m going? Is the front of the second car going to fill up the rear of the lead car? Or does the combination look like the two cars are humping?

    I'm not seeing any room in that design for crumple zones, roll bars, that sort of thing. Which makes me suspect it could never pass safety standards in the USA.

    How in hell do you change the tires on this thing?

    If they can get it past safety standards, and the price is reasonable, and it doesn't turn out to have the general quality of the Yugo, it might be a moderately useful vehicle for a family.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pavon (30274)

      This flash sideshow [solo-duo.hu] has pictures of the car when mated. It looks like the backend of both cars are removed, and they are joined together but-to-but.

      It seems very impractical to me. First, it looks like it would take quite a bit of effort to join the cars that way. Second you are loosing much of your luggage space when you join the two cars. So why wouldn't you just drive two cars rather than joining them into one? Is there really that much of an efficiency improvement doing this?

      • Is there really that much of an efficiency improvement doing this?

        If their numbers are to be believed, yes. the duo gets better mileage than two solos.

        It looks like the backend of both cars are removed, and they are joined together but-to-but.

        Hmm, that's not so useful. Sounds like a non-trivial job to make the switch. Which means, for the most part, it won't ever get made. Seriously lessens the utility of the thing as a family car(s).

        • by Calinous (985536)

          The duo car is much more aerodynamic than the solo - I suspect the Duo will have lower wind resistance than a single solo.
          However, this only applies at higher speeds.
          I wonder what happens to the wheels on the back - and what happens to the air pressure in the front wheels - one would need to increase pressure sharply if the Duo goes on only four wheels.
          On the other hand, having steering wheels on both front and rear of the Duo will make it so

  • "Everyone buckled in? Ok. Activate interlock! Dynotherms connected! Infracells up! Mega thrusters are go! Let's go Antro Duo!"

  • If you're going to make little cars that can be linked together to make larger cars, why stop at two? And didn't this concept used to be known as a "train"?
    • by Xugumad (39311)

      I saw a prototype computer-controlled "car train" once, where they used front and rear magnets to maintain (very close) distance between a chain of cars. From what I remember, worked perfectly, but people had a nervous breakdown that they were going to crash into the next car...

  • Splitting the car would mean having license plates and insurance for two vehicles. It would be like owning two smart cars and having one tow the other.
  • I had a car that could split in two. The mechanism by which it did this feat was called "rust".
  • Wasn't it in the New Adventures of Speed Racer? Of course, it was first in the Fantastic 4, but even though it was called the Fantasticar, it was not really a car.

  • I don't know if it's still published but when I was a kid I found an old CarToons magazine which was sort of like MAD Magazine but full of cars.

    There was one story with this style vehicle in it, basically the whole world was a mesh of interconnected freeways. There were no more buildings, everyone was constantly mobile. The family home was sort of like an RV with several pod cars that would pop out when the kids wanted to go out. You'd pull up to a McDonald's, pay at the window and get you junk food all

  • by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted@slashd[ ]org ['ot.' in gap]> on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @02:31PM (#31263244)

    The article does not contain a photo. So here it comes [pictureisunrelated.com].

  • Similar concept. The brake pedal goes with one half, the accelerator with the other.
  • Form of...oh, just a bigger car.

  • If it split into four, the car could split off smaller cars for, "His boy Elroy," "Daughter Judy," and "Jane, his wife."

  • During the energy crisis. It consisted of a small "Smart Car" style front end that could be docked to a rear end to form a station wagon style car.

    The front, I think may have been electric and the rear had an ICE engine. The idea was that you'd run your errands and commute in the little car, then dock to the ICE rear unit for long trips.

    I actually like that concept in theory, but I can imagine that many people might not like having the unused rear half hanging around taking up space (although carrying the

    • The number of our neighbours that have largely unused RVs hanging around taking up space and depreciating shows that there are plenty of people who would go for the idea.

      In fact it has been tried out - on the local canal we have Emily and Bronte, a small tug and a longer liveaboard boat that can go around separately or as a unit. The owner has his engineering workshop in the tug, so he can act as a mobile marine mechanic and move the whole rig around when he wants a change of scene.

      picture included [briangreaves.com]

      • by hey! (33014)

        Geez. I'm always jealous when I see those pictures of old European canals that are still navigable. Of course we had a few really historically important canals here in the US, but never quite the same kind of network, and a lot of the smaller ones have been filled or are otherwise unnavigable.

        There are still some cool waterways to houseboat on -- the Saint Johns in Florida is amazing.

  • If you think getting it registered and getting plates for it is going to be hard wait until you try to insure it (them?)

  • Good thing it wasn't the Russians who invented this - there would be 6 of them that fit inside each other.
  • I suspect a really substantial link to two little baby cars is going to weigh too much, and take too much fiddling around, for your average driver to manage.

    otherwise, every little ripple in the road, you've got two cars.

    who designed this, again, Hal Roach Movie Studios?

  • Taxpayer money (Score:4, Interesting)

    by little1973 (467075) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @02:01AM (#31269324)

    As a hungarian I believe there will be nothing from this. It is just another firm which goes after free taxpayer money from the government rinding on the "green energy" bandwagon.

  • http://www.solo-duo.hu/main.php?category=104 [solo-duo.hu]

    Just some pretty pictures there
    This shows how the car splits:
    http://www.solo-duo.hu/data/picture_news/62/0062/pic87.jpg [solo-duo.hu]
    A back-to-back "link-up" with the rear end of the cars put separately. Will it have 6 wheels when connected? Or just four wheels, with the other (double) two wheels raised or totally removed?
    And the "back" car has the seats backside-facing (unless the seats can rotate).
    The three seats are side-by

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