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StreetScooter: The $7000 Open-Source Modular Electric Vehicle

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  • by ThorGod (456163)

    We'll see it in the US in 2018 for $17k.

    I want one...

    • Re:import timeline (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Lumpy (12016) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @08:14AM (#37956922) Homepage

      Look at the smartcar, in Europe it sold NEW for the base model for $5500-6500US when it hit here it sold for $17,500 for the base model and it's gas mileage dropped drastically because they had to add "safety features" that are useless.

      The Smart car has stellar safety ratings all over europe, yet it was deemed "unsafe" in the USA and needed to be retrofitted with US safety equipment. Now it has to have the big engine in it ot move it, and Oh you cant have the Diesel engine that get's 80mpg.
        Hopefully someone will circumvent the retarded US auto laws and sell it as a "kit" so it does not have to meet ANY US safety or other laws and can be a home made car that fits under the "experimental" rules like they do iwth aircraft.

      • by rubycodez (864176)
        useless in who's opinion? Maybe you're not an engineer and your opinion means nothing. The car was found to have inadequate chest protection for passenger in front-end impact and inadequate leg protection for driver. A steel cage was added to rectify these deficiencies. In the USA a mismatch between vehicle kinetic energy in a crash is much more likely than Europe, hence higher standards for the very light cars.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by cynyr (703126)

          Simply assumming that the other car will be big and heavy is the wrong way to go. can we just add a "shall not impart more than $X force over $Y time to other object(s) when striking object(s) with the leading edge of the vehicle while going forward at $Z mph" to the requirements. Make the big cars have to take on some of the work of protecting those in smaller cars and not simply "ohh look my passengers are safe so i win" sort of a thing they have going now?

          Granted there should be some minimum car weight/s

          • by Anaerin (905998)

            I do agree though, there is a larger weight/speed thing here in the states, we have have a lot of 55MPH 2 lane roads with only a stripe protecting people from a 110MPH closing speed offset head-on crashes. maybe the issue is our road system..

            And in Europe (Well, the UK at least) there are a lot of 70MPH 2-lane roads with only a paint stripe protecting people from 140MPH closing speed crashes. The Euro-spec Smart car does fantastically well at surviving a head-on crash, as ably demonstrated here [youtube.com]. And bear in mind (as Mythbusters showed) with 2 vehicles colliding at 70MPH, the effective speed is 70MPH, not 140.

            US regulations have all kinds of stupid limitations, like having the headlights being fixed a certain distance from the road (Not allowing

            • by bhtooefr (649901)

              The safety regulations aren't the problem with the Fortwo, actually. The US W451 Fortwo isn't appreciably heavier than the European W451, and there were some W450s that were legally certified to come into the US, although at extensive cost increase due to the economies of scale of the modifications (as I understand, they were minor modifications, and more nitpicking than anything - had the W450 been designed for the US from the outset, it wouldn't have been any more expensive). All W451s are heavier than th

              • by cynyr (703126)

                Also, There seems to be no to little regulation of aftermarket bumper height. This coming from driving a saturn S series for the last 10+ years. It is rather scarry to see lifted trucks with leading front edges above the top edge of my doors (aka the bottom edge of my windows). I can't help but think that my car just isn't built for getting hit by a 3500 Lb truck with 1000 Lb of shit in the box across the drivers windows and would likely end with me being dead. As far as i'm concerned doing that to a car/tr

                • by bhtooefr (649901)

                  FWIW, those brodozers are more like 6000-7000 pounds.

                  In any case, some states do have bumper height regulations, but they're rarely enforced.

                  • by cynyr (703126)

                    And in some states there aren't many regulations (wheels, seatbelts, and indicator lights, headlights if you want to drive at night) if you have an ORV (Off road Vehicle) sticker in the window...

        • I'm not so sure that kinetic mismatch statement is true anymore. Last time I was in Europe--five years ago--everywhere I went I saw large numbers of SUVs. This includes Germany, Italy and London. Maybe not to the same level as in the states, but definitely more than I'd seen five years before that. Even if the trend has slowed down, I'm guessing there's plenty of opportunity for kinetic mismatch.
      • by westlake (615356)

        Hopefully someone will circumvent the retarded US auto laws and sell it as a "kit" so it does not have to meet ANY US safety or other laws and can be a home made car that fits under the "experimental" rules like they do iwth aircraft.

        It doesn't work that way:

        Homebuilt land vehicles (cars, motorcycles, ATVs), whether built from a kit or entirely from scratch, are regulated on a state level and must therefore comply with the regulations of the particular state in which they are licensed. Homebuilt vehicles are not regulated on a federal level - at least not formally. Normally, the state-level regulations that apply to such vehicles are less stringent than the federal regulations that apply to manufactured products, but much depends on the state in which you live. For example, the motor vehicle code of many states contains language requiring that all motor vehicles are equipped according to the federal regulations in effect when the vehicle was manufactured. Homebuilt aircraft and watercraft must comply with federal regulations.

        Liability insurance should be relatively easy to obtain, and priced about on par with existing coverage. Collision and comprehensive insurance may be more costly and difficult to obtain. The difficulty with comprehensive and collision insurance comes mainly from the inherent difficulty of establishing a value for your car. Consequently, you may be asked to have it professionally appraised, in which case the total coverage will then be limited to the appraised value.

        If you do not already have insurance on an existing car, it will be very difficult to find a company that will write a new policy on your homebuilt car.

        Licensing And Insuring Homebuilt Vehicles [rqriley.com] [Rev. May 31st]

        I live in a lake effect snow belt in upstate New York. The motor vehicle safety laws don't look half so retarded where the weather can turn lethal in a heartbeat.

        • by cynyr (703126)

          Right, but take a look at the required roof crush strength? now if I recall correctly this is a scant 2-3 times the cars empty curb weight. I'd bet that if you fall off the road the car doesn't do so well if you end up upside down... Here [youtube.com] is an example of what a rally car can take and have the drivers get out of the car uninjured (minor scrapes don't count). Granted the car is a total write off, but he's not dead. There is no reason that these sorts of things couldn't be incorporated into modern road cars.

      • Re:import timeline (Score:4, Informative)

        by slart42 (694765) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @01:10PM (#37958976)

        Look at the smartcar, in Europe it sold NEW for the base model for $5500-6500US when it hit here it sold for $17,500 for the base model and it's gas mileage dropped drastically because they had to add "safety features" that are useless.

        Uhm. I'd be very surprised if you can get a new smart car in Europe for $5500-6500US. I just checked the web site, the list price in germany is 10190 EUR for the base model (= USD 14043).

        • by mattack2 (1165421)

          Though according to Wikipedia, the first Smarts came out in 1998. I still doubt it was that cheap then, but it was probably cheaper than it is now.

      • by itzdandy (183397)

        I agree with your premise, but I think that you are overlooking 1 vital safety concern. The average vehicle in the US is much larger than the average vehicle in Europe. So a very safe car in Europe is not necessarily a very safe car in the US.

        Remember, every other American has a gigantic SUV, Hummer, Excursion, Expedition, Suburban, Tank, etc.

        Smart vs Hummer = very very bad.

    • $7K, 80 mile range, 74mph, 2 passengers, I'll grey market import it if it's really that good and cheap.

  • by NFN_NLN (633283) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @01:27AM (#37955608)

    "StreetScooter", great name for a product... that isn't a scooter.
    Plus, there is no way a search for StreetScooter could return ambiguous results.

    http://vimeo.com/28929146 [vimeo.com]

    • Oh, they'll come up with a suitably marketable name for the US. They'll go the "SmartCar" naming route, or they'll go the Psion "XD" naming route.

      So it will be given either a stupid name, or a faux cool name.

      • by JanneM (7445)

        The US market needs a deadly-sounding, weaponish name to play properly to the customers insecurities. "PredaViper 2000 Insurgent Rebel X ReLoaded" sounds about right.

        For the Japanese market, look for your "Let's Go Mushroom Kawaii!" at your nearest dealer.

    • by Dahamma (304068)

      It just goes to show you what open source methodologies get you so often... a well engineered product for a fraction of the price of competitors that has no clue how to market it to the customer so no one will ever use it. Sigh. I know everyone hates marketing and sales but they do in fact serve a purpose...

      • by El Torico (732160)

        I know everyone hates marketing and sales but they do in fact serve a purpose...

        I agree. I ran a small business for a while and I noticed that people forget who you are and what you are selling in a few days at best. Sales and marketing are critical, but I think most people disparage them because of the stereotypes, which have a basis in reality, but are overblown.

        • by Dahamma (304068)

          In fact stereotypes are what marketing relies on, because most of the time they are in fact true! ;)

        • most people disparage them because of the stereotypes

          So what you're saying is, sales and marketing need an image boost?

    • The name of the company was on the road, so to speak: StreetScooter (road roller)

      I know it is an artifact of Google Translate, but I like the name 'Road Roller'.

    • by hey! (33014)

      "StreetScooter", great name for a product... that isn't a scooter.

      The German word for scooter (according to Google Translate) is "Roller", so I'd guess the project name is in Germlish or Engeutch or whatever. Maybe it's like the mock Swedish names IKEA gives things that make your wife say, "Oh, honey, this Dyra skithög [google.com] is just what we need to organize our string collection!"

  • I'm happy with my $3k gas scooter that does 70mpg in the city, 80 mile range, and up to 55mph. Oh, and it has no problems going uphill with a second rider =)

    Oh, and it can be bought *today* without having to assemble it myself.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You have a point, except this thing seats 3 and is a car.

    • I've spent some time browsing their site and I haven't found anything that indicates that it must be assembled. Just because it's "modular" doesn't mean it comes with a screwdriver and assembly guide.

      I can buy a computer - fully assembled - which is still a modular system.

    • by epte (949662)

      Are you aware that the vehicle in TFA is more like a smart car than a scooter? This isn't a moped or a vespa we're talking about. See the picture here: http://streetscooter.eu/unternehmen-a-strategie/welches-fahrzeug-haben-wir-entwickelt.html [streetscooter.eu]

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      I'm happier with my $3000 gas full size touring motorcycle that does 55mpg city if I'm keeping my hand out of the throttle and can go up to 140mph oh and it has no problem carrying a second rider + another 60 pounds of things in it's saddle bags and trunk as well as being highly comfortable for a 500 mile long ride.

      I bought used and got 90X more bike than I would have bough new with the same money. I can now ride the interstates very comfortably and my bike is faster than any car on the road so I dont hav

  • ... then where can I download the plans?

    If the source is not open, then is the methodology "open source"?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The methodology was open source in that every member of said community of developers were able to toss out ideas and do things instead of just "what do we need, we will do this and nothing else."

      Each of the collaborators on the project was organized into a lead engineering group (LEG), made up of the foremost experts in each of the vehicle’s components, including the exterior, powertrain and electronics.

      “Everyone is on par with each other. Everyone can bring in ideas to radically try whatever makes sense. The subject matter expert comes to the table and collaborates with the other LEGs,” said Kampker. “In case of a conflict that cannot be resolved, the issue is sent to the team of leaders in program management and it is resolved at that level.”

      The method that participants took to build the StreetScooter echoes the car’s design. It’s a modular vehicle, with parts that can be added, removed and reused depending on customer preference. Even the batteries are leased separately so that fleets don’t have to deal with maintenance. Kampker says that relying on the strengths of individual manufacturers to create their own modules doesn’t just maximize customizability, but also allows the StreetScooter to be built quickly and inexpensively.

      This car sounds like the wet dream of those folks that love to mix and match things to fit what they need. The word for it is on the tip of my tongue, but I'm not sure on it.

      A wet dream for them, a potential nightmare for mechanics.

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        Foremost experts are rarely experts.

        The engineers of GM vehicles are outclassed HARD by garage tinkerers that love a vehicle. I know people that know more about the camaro than all the engineers at GM that designed it.

      • This car sounds like the wet dream of those folks that love to mix and match things to fit what they need. The word for it is on the tip of my tongue, but I'm not sure on it.

        A wet dream for them, a potential nightmare for mechanics.

        I was thinking much the same thing.

        The last thing I want is my car sitting dead in my driveway or at the mechanics while battery leasing agent points fingers at the computer vendor who's busy blaming the motor drivers which were written by company that got bought

  • Here are pictures of the car: http://www.streetscooter.eu/news-und-info/bildarchiv.html [streetscooter.eu]
  • by FSWKU (551325) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @02:29AM (#37955858)
    This car has range and performance similar to the Leaf and the upcoming Focus, yet will cost less than 1/5 what either of those overpriced toys go for, and also looks better. What's your excuse?


    (Sidenote, if I can get a tax credit of up to $7500 from Uncle Sam for purchasing an EV, does that mean I actually MAKE $500 to drive this thing? They'll probably cite the "up to" part and give me a whopping $20 for this, but I can dream, can't I?)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Spazmania (174582)

      You're comparing vaporware to a real shipping product. What's YOUR excuse?

      • by iamhassi (659463)
        How is this Flamebait? He's right, this vehicle exists only on paper so far, and honestly a $7,000 electric car with 80 mile range seems so unbelievable in 2011 that I'll believe it when I see it. Not everything on the internet is real
        • How is this Flamebait? He's right, this vehicle exists only on paper so far, and honestly a $7,000 electric car with 80 mile range seems so unbelievable in 2011 that I'll believe it when I see it. Not everything on the internet is real

          From the first link:

          Just in time for the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt GmbH shows the Street Scooter with the vehicle "StreetScooter" the first prototype.

          It's not mass-market yet, but a working prototype is real and not 'only on paper'.

          • by Spazmania (174582)

            The prototype wasn't built for $7000 and the team isn't taking orders with a promise to deliver at $7000. When (if) that changes it will then be time to compare it with the Focus, the Volt and the Leaf.

            Don't get me wrong: I applaud their ambition and as long as it could handle 50 mile round trips and 60 mph speeds I'd would definitely buy a street-legal EV for $7000. But they're not there yet and it's neither a short path nor a sure thing from where they are today.

    • by evilviper (135110) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @06:47AM (#37956632) Journal

      This car has range and performance similar to the Leaf and the upcoming Focus, yet will cost less than 1/5 what either of those overpriced toys go for, and also looks better. What's your excuse?

      The Leaf seems to be reasonably priced. They're unable to meet demand as-is, and while they're turning a profit on the thing, it's not a cash cow by any means.

      The $7,000 price-tag of this toy seems to really only be materials cost of drive-train+frame&interior. The batteries are meant to be "leased" rather than purchased, so they're probably damn expensive, and just being excluded from the price. The Leaf's battery costs about $18,000 alone (according to the WSJ), about half the cost of the whole vehicle. And that doesn't count actual production and R&D costs. I'm betting once more plants come online, and the supply of Leafs increases, you could lease one for pretty close to the same price as this toy. Plus the Leaf is a 4-door, with cargo room, and all the modern safety features, and certification by the NHTSA.

      I wouldn't drive this tiny tin can of a death trap if they were giving it away... I'm not willing to risk driving on the California freeways without nice big crumple zones giving me a fighting chance... I'm sure it will have its use, but it certainly won't be competing with the Leaf for sales.

      (Sidenote, if I can get a tax credit of up to $7500 from Uncle Sam for purchasing an EV, does that mean I actually MAKE $500 to drive this thing?

      The US government isn't so idiotic as to hand out a fixed amount of cash for meeting some nebulous metric (ie. electric car). I don't know the specifics of the electric car tax credit, but I'm willing to bet it's a PERCENTAGE of the purchase price, which tops-out at 7500 (so they don't encourage purchasing an electric Hummer).

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        "The Leaf seems to be reasonably priced."

        are you insane? Leaf is NOT reasonably priced for a entry level subcompact economy car class. I can buy a BMW 325 for it's price.

        Leaf needs to be $14,900 THEN it's reasonable priced.

        • by evilviper (135110)

          You've completely missed the context...

        • by BitZtream (692029)

          Once you couple in energy costs (financial costs at current market rates, not any environmental BS) , the Leaf is a great deal. The same energy amount from the socket is considerably cheaper than from gasoline. Gasoline is just FAR more compact than any electrical storage system we currently have.

      • by Shotgun (30919)

        The US government isn't so idiotic as to hand out a fixed amount of cash for meeting some nebulous metric (ie. electric car). I don't know the specifics of the electric car tax credit, but I'm willing to bet it's a PERCENTAGE of the purchase price, which tops-out at 7500 (so they don't encourage purchasing an electric Hummer).

        Really? They wouldn't be that stupid?

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVmBBtLGg2s&feature=related

        --facepalm--

        • by evilviper (135110)

          Didn't you actually listen to what they said? Dealers were lying about the purchase price, giving people a "discount", and the tax credits were tied to eg. KW/Hs and similar, which the vehicle in question happened to meet.

    • This car has range and performance similar to the Leaf and the upcoming Focus, yet will cost less than 1/5 what either of those overpriced toys go for, and also looks better. What's your excuse?

      The Leaf and the Focus exist in the real world, and have been tested and certified by the appropriate bodies as to safety, etc.... The Street Scooter is a pile of CAD drawings, Power Points, press releases, and imaginative artist's conceptions.

      It's easy to be cheap and high performance when you're vaporware.

    • by bhtooefr (649901)

      The StreetScooter is probably light enough (sub 400 kg without batteries) and low enough power (sub 15 kW net, and for electrics, that's continuous, not intermittent) that it falls under Europe's heavy quadricycle laws.

      Legally, a heavy quadricycle is treated as a four wheeled motorized tricycle, not a car - so safety regulations go out the window.

      Also, the batteries aren't included in that $7000 price.

      The Leaf and Focus EV are required to meet NHTSA regulations, which aren't too much more strict than EuroNC

  • On their Website ( http://www.streetscooter.eu/ [streetscooter.eu] ) they mention "Mobilitätsdienstleistungen" (chew on THAT German word for breakfast!). They want to offer "car sharing" and "leasing" packages as well. Also, that the car is for short hops (SDV: Short Distance Vehicle), just like a Straßenroller (scooter), for the most common short trips. It was started by a couple of university professors, and grew into a consortium; some of the partners: http://www.streetscooter.eu/unternehmen-a-strategie/wer-s [streetscooter.eu]

  • The Rallyfighter : http://www.rallyfighter.com/ [rallyfighter.com] has already been in production

    Riversimple Urban Car : http://www.40fires.org/ [40fires.org] is an electric fuel cell based open hardware car

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      The rallyfighter is not open source and the riverside urban car doesn't exist and the website is not in full swing. So spot on, other than you're totally wrong.

      • by BitZtream (692029)

        You're entirely right, except for the entirety of your post.

        The car in the article isn't open source either, and no where do they claim it to be. Slashdot claimed it to be 'open source'. It isn't. You can't go get the CAD drawings yourself and try to build this car.

        OSS zealots have corrupted the word 'open' into this fantasy meaning that no one else in the world shares. slashdot see's 'open' it becomes 'open source' because neither the submitter or the editors have a rational grasp on the world, they to

  • by Cato (8296) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @07:16AM (#37956722)

    Since the links in TFA were quite unhelpful: it's a small 2-seater electric car that's intended for short trips only. The $7000 gets you the car and there's an unspecified fee to lease the battery.

    Overview: http://green.autoblog.com/2011/10/31/crowd-sourced-streetscooter-electric-vehicle/ [autoblog.com]

    Picture: http://www.flickr.com/photos/think_on_tour/4194887078/in/photostream [flickr.com]

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      Ebay and some bits of wire will get me the battery without leasing it. there is a buttload of dell laptop batteries out there for cheap. There was one company selling remanufacturered Prius packs as well out there for quite cheap.

  • Seriously, in developing countries, BRIC countries in particular like Brazil, Russia, India, China - even Mexico on to our South - you can buy a motorcycle, which uses global commodities like steel and rubber, for $1200 delivered. It gets 80-100mpg and will do 60mph, can be repaired anywhere, by nearly anyone.

    Don't get me wrong, electric technology is amazing, but when it comes to scooter/motorcycle technology, it's very difficult to make the argument for a $7000 scooter. 150cc motorcycle technology

  • Seriously. Ok, it's a fast golf cart with less range. Why does everyone get excited every time someone figures out you can put a motor to some wheels for less than $50k?

  • 80 companies involved yet they couldn't hire a decent designer? Looks like one of those Chinese ripoffs. The aesthetics definitely matter if they want this to be a car people want to purchase and drive. The interior looks like it was modeled in an old version of Solidworks.

    Many people assume that this is a motorcycle. I hope they change the silly name.

  • http://www.rwth-aachen.de/go/id/bhsj/ [rwth-aachen.de]

    $7k price "envisaged". Hmm.... is that translation or are they simply hoping and guessing rather than have an idea of the actual price... battery leasing not included??

  • Sounds more like "shared source" design to me, a collaboration between 50 companies. Nothing seems to be open to the public.
    Unlike for example the Global Village Construction Set. http://opensourceecology.org/wiki/Global_Village_Construction_Set/ [opensourceecology.org]
    "Open Source - we freely publish our 3d designs, schematics, instructional videos, budgets, and product manuals on our open source wiki and we harness open collaboration with technical contributors."
  • I like the idea of kit cars, sounds like a fun thing to do and as a way to potentially save money over buying a new car. The Streetscooter looks like a cute little car that can handle stop and go, tight spaces, and other obstacles one would find in a common city commute. This kit car is also a good way for someone to experiment in automotive technologies without having to reverse engineer an entire vehicle, or take on the much bigger task of designing a whole car of their own. There are vehicles out ther

    • 1-Even if it produces more pollution than gas at least you/your kids don't breath it. 2-It's easier to put pollution scrubbers on a stationary plant. 3-Power plants don't idle, they either run at full or are turned off. 4-You can switch that coal to solar/tidal/wind/nuclear without needing a new car.
      • by blindseer (891256)

        1-Even if it produces more pollution than gas at least you/your kids don't breath it. 2-It's easier to put pollution scrubbers on a stationary plant. 3-Power plants don't idle, they either run at full or are turned off.

        1, 2, & 3- I'm talking about carbon output, not pollution.

        4-You can switch that coal to solar/tidal/wind/nuclear without needing a new car.

        Yes, yes you can. Problem is that until the electricity actually comes from solar/tidal/nuclear the electric car is creating more carbon in the atmosphere than the gasoline or diesel fuel powered car. If the goal is to reduce carbon output NOW, then one would not buy an electric car. They'd be better off with a natural gas car, public transportation, walking, biking, and so on.

        Point is that by using an electric car while the primary source of

  • You develop a vehicle that can't go very far. Hmmm. Invent a new market segment, the Short Distance Vehicle (SDV). Now it's leading its market segment!! Not as clever as bottled water, but pretty good.

Today's scientific question is: What in the world is electricity? And where does it go after it leaves the toaster? -- Dave Barry, "What is Electricity?"

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