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SDSU Students Create Sporty Hybrid Vehicle 285

Nevyan writes "SDSU Engineering students working in conjunction with real life designers create an electric hybrid vehicle that actually...well.. looks cool for all the right reasons. Participant in the Tour de Sol. I happened to see this vehicle on campus at SDSU and I want to buy one so badly." has more information and photos - here's one to give you an idea of the size.
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SDSU Students Create Sporty Hybrid Vehicle

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  • I've been saying this among friends for a while... the only reason that these early electric and hybrid cars all look like ass! I think Honda caught onto the design thing, and thus we have the hybrid Civic. Other than that, this new car looks almost attractive.
  • I am sure that after you spend all that money on one of those suckers... you'll be glad you're saving all that gas money
  • by Rev. DeFiLEZ ( 203323 ) on Friday June 07, 2002 @11:22PM (#3663641) Homepage
    laff, thats the "riot" by thunder ranch [].
    not exactly but i assume its mods are for the hybrid part or it could be the riot 2 (thunder ranch is slow on putting things on their page)

  • The irony (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by pheph ( 234655 )
    Right next to the picture of a tiny 'high performance' car that probably wouldn't withstand the impact of the cone its steering around is a link entitled 'SDSU College of Engineering suffers a tremendous loss... [] which details a professor who recently died in an auto accident.
  • by DaHat ( 247651 ) on Friday June 07, 2002 @11:25PM (#3663652) Homepage
    Just a warning to all of my fellow South Dakota residence... in this case SDSU is not South Dakota State University in Brookings South Dakota, but sadly is in fact San Diego State University... blast those Californians taking all of our acronyms... in this world if you say SF or SD people think you mean San Francisco or San Diego... when will the world learn that they mean Sioux Falls and South Dakota instead! The FAA and Post Office agree with me... when will the rest of you?
    • Heh. I was, in fact, wondering. :) I expected to see a BHSU acronym in there some where.


      Thanks for a laugh.
      • That's because BHSU students couldn't design a hybrid car. Generally, they'd be lucky to merely identify a car correctly two times out of three.

        Now SDSM&T, on the other hand... *that's* an engineering school.


        Let the flames begin. (Between me an the other four /. readers from SD)
    • What exactly is made/produced/grown in South Dakota? Not intended as a flame, I just realized that I don't really know...
      • Lots of wheat, corn, soybeans, and beef. Some tech products, though, too -- Gateway started out here.
      • Which is smaller and has fewer residents than South Dakota... home of (you guessed it) wheat, barley, durum, sunflowers, and canola. 36 B-52's, some air refueling tankers, 150 Minuteman ICBMs.

        My roommate's from there... I quote "North Dakota? Heh... not much going on there. Heck, the largest city in North Dakota is less than half the size of Lubbock, Texas".
    • Bwahahaha! Well said! As an engineering student at South Dakota State I looked at the title of this article and asked myself, "Why the heck wasn't this thing at Engineering Expo?!?"
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The FAA... agree with me

      I work for the Fresno Academic Administration and I can assure you that we do not!
  • i know it's not completely on topic, but i'm starting to question whether or not hybrid cars are really more safe for the enviornment. after all, where does the electricity for the car come from? mostly from fossil-fuel burning power plants which really do the same thing as your car.

    i may be missing something here, if so please point it out.

    greg clarke
    • by Dreamweaver ( 36364 ) on Friday June 07, 2002 @11:31PM (#3663669)
      Modern hybrid cars don't get plugged into electrical outlets. They use some sort of conservation strategy to burn gasoline in order to charge up a battery while you're driving, that way you run part of the time purely on electric power. Thus, you still fill it up with gas; just less often than normal. That's why you'll see hybrid cars advertising some big number of miles-per-gallon.

      So yeah, hybrids aren't as clean as a purely electrical or hydrogen fuel-cell car would be, but they have significantly less emissions-per-mile than a regular car simply because they burn less fuel over time.

      (Note, I may be totally off about the battery charging thing. I don't know or claim to know how they work exactly, but I know that's the basic premise. Anyone with more details, please post. I'd like to know more but have never found myself motivated to go look :))
      • ah right. in the back of my head i knew that about the recharging thing. heh. thanks

        greg clarke
      • Whenever you brake, instead of just wasting all the energy that the wheels have, some of it is converted into electricity.

      • The lower emissions are not only because hybrids burn less fuel.

        Idling, peak acceleration and sudden throttle changes are the operating regimes where gasoline engines are most polluting. Hybrid technology takes care of all three. Hybrids can turn off the gas engine when the car's not moving, can borrow energy from the battery to meet peak demand without having to push the gas engine, and can instantly throttle the electric motor to provide responsiveness.

        The Prius is an SULEV, a Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle. It's several years ahead of even California standards.

        Glad someone's taking the sporty route. My Prius's drive motor could deliver 258 foot-pounds at 0 rpm if the computer would allow it. Toyota went for conservative design and lightweight parts instead. They made the right choice for proving that hybrids are practical. Now we'll get to see that hybrids are fun;

        Oh, and you want to know just how fast a computer can throttle an electric motor? The Honda Insight has a 3-cylinder engine which runs smoothly. The reason it runs smoothly is that the Insight's electric motor changes torque in real time to counter the momentary imbalance from the gas engine. Sort of a software flywheel.

        The other replies to this parent have good info about how hybrids get charged.

    • Hybrid cars get their electricity from the motor, usually a diesel. It's the same idea as running SETI@Home on your computer, or how a turbo works -- pumping spare energy into storage, to give you a boost one way or another.

      As for electrics, the electricity at least doesn't HAVE to come from a fossil-fuel-burning plant. It can come from hydroelectric power, from wind power, from solar power, or from nuclear power. It at least gives us a choice of what power source we can use, by converting that power source into something universal.

      Ultimately, the real problem with fossil fuels is that we're locked into using them -- this is bad because we will eventually run out, and it is bad because we are forced to send our money to folks in the Middle East, some of whom then send that money to terrorist organizations, some of whom then kill Americans.

      Electricity, at least, can be created through many sources.

      But then, that's electrics, not hybrids.
    • by raygundan ( 16760 ) on Friday June 07, 2002 @11:41PM (#3663701) Homepage
      That's either one of the most common misconceptions about hybrid cars, or a magnificent troll. I'll answer it either way, just so somebody else isn't confused...

      Current hybrids like the Prius, Insight, and Civic don't need external electric charging. Their batteries are very small, and store energy generated by braking or excess power from the gas engine if necessary. The economy comes from a couple of things:

      1. You get back energy when you brake.
      2. Your gas+electric motors combined are approximately the same power output as a traditional gas motor, but you can turn off part of a hybrid when you don't need it. So you've got the power you need for acceleration, but once you're cruising, the extra motor can cut out leaving you using less energy.
      3. Your gas engine can shut off at stoplights, since your electric motor acts as the world's most kickass starter motor. (For example, the Prius' electric motor brings the gas engine to speed in less than one revolution)
      4. Your electric motor doesn't waste power "idling".

      At no point are you ever charging your battery with power generated from a power plant. They really are just more efficient than gas-only cars at the moment.
      • Actually, in the next generation hybrid cars (Due out in 2003 or 2004) according to a Popular Science article, these hybrids will have boosted acceleration. The electric motors coupled with their standard engines gives more power for acceleration. However, the electric motors are not as efficient at higher speeds. If I recall the article correctly, Dodge believes they could reduce 0-60 time by 2 seconds if a system were put on a Viper. I vaguely recall something about 200 extra horses, but I can't say with any certainty that's the case.
        I believe the "Big Three" are all also going to be putting out hybrids such as SUVs and trucks in the next couple years.
        • If I recall the article correctly, Dodge believes they could reduce 0-60 time by 2 seconds if a system were put on a Viper. I vaguely recall something about 200 extra horses, but I can't say with any certainty that's the case.

          It's probably not horsepower so much as it is torque. Internal-combustion engines produce maximum torque (and power as well) at some non-zero rotational speed (usually, it's quite a bit to the right on the curve...3000 rpm or higher, unless it's a big-ass diesel). An electric motor, OTOH, produces maximum torque when it's stopped and still delivers plenty of torque at low speeds...and low speeds are what you're dealing with when you're accelerating from a stop. Torque is what gets you off the line, not horsepower.

      • How much hybrid efficiency is in the hybrid part and how much is light, aerodynamic car on skinny tires with some advanced engine technology?

        The Toyota Echo and the new Corolla have a similar VVT gas engine as the Prius, and Consumer Reports tests suggested that their real-world gas mileage was only marginally worse than the Prius.

      • The one problem with hybird cars that would prevent me from buying one (besides hte fact that i'm a poor college student =)) is I wonder what effect the near constant starting of the motor has on the life of the engine. It bugs me. I just can't believe that a engine would last as long being started 40-50 times a day normal driving.
        • I just can't believe that a engine would last as long being started 40-50 times a day normal driving

          It'll probably mean that lots of parts need regular replacement by an authorised dealer, and that the car becomes obsolete after 3 years, if current practise is anything to go by...
          • I just can't believe that a engine would last as long being started 40-50 times a day normal driving

            It'll probably mean that lots of parts need regular replacement by an authorised dealer, and that the car becomes obsolete after 3 years, if current practise is anything to go by...

            Sounds like a flawed design if that's the case. Properly maintained and not abused, a car ought to be good for at least something like 10-15 years (preferably more than that) before you need to start looking at rebuilding engines and such. Before that, it ought not need much more than oil changes and maybe new rubber parts (belts/hoses/tires).

        • Perhaps you are bothered by the 'starting your engine is the worst thing you can do to it' stuff put out by the oil companies? If so, consider that starting is a problem because you generally start the engine after it has been sitting all night, allowing most of the oil to drain away from where its needed. If you are going to start it 50 times in 8 hours, the wear caused by poorly lubed parts isn't going to occur, because the parts will still be lubed.
    • Ironically, this hybrid burns diesel fuel. That is a pretty dirty thing.

      However, one way hybrids are cleaner than conventional rides burning the same materials is that they run their combustion engines at a constant "ideal" rpm. All piston engines have a specific RPM where the ratio of pollution to power is smallest. Car engines driving wheels mechanically pollute more and burn more fuel because have to speed up and slow down.

      Diesel-Electric trains replaced direct drive combustion and steam locomotives decades ago for this reason.
    • Others pointed out that current hybrids aren't plugged in to get their power, but even if they were, it would probably be cleaner. If the power is generated at a fossil fuel burning plant, the pollution is coming from a single point source -- much easier to clean/filter/whatever than when it comes out the tail pipes of cars spread all over the landscape.

      Anyone else remember the Bill Nye episode where he explained this?
    • Hybrid cars get their power from burning gasoline in a regular car engine. They just need to burn less of it.

    • Cars (internal combustion engine) emit more nasty stuff than greenhouse gases - chemicals such as benzene, adversely affect human health.

      In fact, the two most carcinogenic substances known are emitted from trucks. Diesel fumes are generally considered 25 times more carcinogenic than cigarette smoke - we worry about some passive smoking in a bar, but have trucks/buses/generators blasting diesel into the air *WTF*?

      The comments of Dr. Paul Davies were even raised in the South Australian parliament - that more people die from exhaust emissions each year than speed and alcohol related road accidents!!!!!! Where is the TV advertising campaign "Drive a diesel engine - and you're a bloody idiot" !! :-)

      In terms of health hydrocarbons suck - to me it makes more sense to emit some extra C02 in order to make electricity for cars. Other than it's affect on global warming, C02 is relatively clean - its not unhealthy to breate - certainly compared to car emissions.

      Production of materials such as concrete produce obscene greenhouse gases, we could make a few less tons of that per year to compensate for the extra levels from electricity for cars :-)

    • "where does the electricity for the car come from?"

      Power stations. They're a lot more efficient than petrol engines, they use better fuel (no point wasting oil when coal/gas will do), they have emissions monitoring and regulation, they're sited away from cities, and if you live in a civilised country, they're already starting to become solar/wind/nuclear-powered. For example, drive that electric car in norway and you'll be burning 98% hydroelectrric power, rather than 1/30 gallons per mile of 25% efficient petrol which needs mining out of nature reserves.

      It sounds weird, but using electricity from a big power station gives you more energy per unit pollution than just burning "concentrated" fuel in your car itself.
  • If you were to remove the Manufacturer, Type, and Maximum Range lines from the specs page it would read like any other car company. I wonder why it only has a 5 gallon tank, which limits it to 400 miles driving range (which is still decent). I attend Western Washington University, where our engineering department is famous for the Vehicle Research Institute... I wonder if there's anything similar happening on campus.
    • My regular Honda Civic that I drive to work every day gets about 400 miles to the tank. If I had to only fill up 5 gallons, compared to the 10 I have to now, I'd hella get it.
    • Gasoline is a fluid with weight characteristics similar to water. 1 gallon of water weighs 8 lb, one liter of water weighs 1 kg. Gasoline is slightly lighter (floats on water) but this vehicle runs on Diesel, which I don't remember it's actual weight properties. As a result I am assuming that it is also similar to water, someone can provide the correct numbers.

      At five gallons, or just under 20 liters, the weight of the fule is 5*8/22000 or just over .18% of the weight of the car. I do not know what the crossover point for this vehicle is, but at some point the added weight for a full tank, with expected passenger load will result in lower millage figures than they designers think is acceptable.

      The average range for cars on a full tank of gas isn't much differnt than this vehicles range. Both are significantly longer than most purely electric's 75-100 mile range. Though for 99% of my needs, 75-100 miles is more than sufficient.

      400 miles at 70 mph (average freeway speeds) is over 5 hours of driving.

      But then I don't speak for how you use your car.


  • it looks like one of those fiero F40's. I wouldn't wanna be seen dead in that thing. Maybe Carmac could get one tho.
    • Love the sig. Repo Man sound track.

      "Well the girls would turn the color of an

      When he'd drive down the street in his
      El Dorado

      While he was only Five foot Three
      Girls could not resist his stare

      Pablo Picasso was never called an asshole"
    • I think it looks more like one of those new ugly Toyota MR2's.
      On a side note, I don't think anyone should try and recreate the F40, it's the greatest driving machine of all time.
  • I've said for a while that when they make electric or hybrid cars that are as fun to drive as mine (I drive a Mazda MX-6, '93), I'll go for it. With a peak output of 250HP, that's definitely getting there! I haven't actually tested my car for power / accelleration, but 0-60 in 7s is nice. I just wonder how long the battery would last with ME driving!

    Now, if they can find a way to produce them economically (i.e. I can't pay more than $40,000CDN for one), then I'd buy one.

    • Re:I'd buy it (Score:4, Informative)

      by raygundan ( 16760 ) on Friday June 07, 2002 @11:48PM (#3663718) Homepage
      You don't have to charge the battery in a hybrid from an external source. Ever. Just put gas in. In fact, aggressive driving with lots of hard braking would charge it faster in current hybrids.

      Honda has a sweet prototype called the DualNote [] that makes 400hp and gets 43mpg. I would certainly be in for that!! I'd be even happier at 200hp/86mpg, though. Something small and fun like a WRX that gets 86mpg would rule.
    • Gimme a break with that 250 HP stuff. More like 170 probably. If you had 250HP in an MX-3, even the special purple ones, you'd be in the high 5's 0-60.

      And yes, I've actually driven one of the purple ones with the special engine, suspension, etc. It's a truly excellent car, but not 250 HP.
  • Let's see....

    250 Horsepower, 0-60 in under 7 seconds, 80 mpg - when can I buy one?!

    With the price of gas expected to rise by 40 cents a gallon in the Chicago area to more than $2/gallon, I wouldn't mind owning one of these. It's about time a "high performance" vehicle was truly high performance when it comes to fuel economy.

    Having been a gear-head for a while, I can tell you that high-performance and fuel efficiency were often on opposite ends of the spectrum; high performance has been synonymous with poor fuel economy ever since I can remember. It's good to see engineering talent change this. I for one wouldn't mind owning a very agile car with good fuel economy.

    • Damn straight.

      Finally some respectible specs for a hybrid vehicle. The Toyota and Honda products not only look like ass, as asserted above, but accelerate like ass. If a car can't do 0-60 in under 10 seconds, I don't care how good it is on gas.

    • Having been a gear-head for a while, I can tell you that high-performance and fuel efficiency were often on opposite ends of the spectrum; high performance has been synonymous with poor fuel economy ever since I can remember.

      One thing that you may (or not) have overlooked ... dry weight ... 2200 lbs !!! ... just over a ton ... that's pretty light ... the problem with that comes safety ...

      Look at the pictures ... through the wheel spokes, you can see the other side of the car and the body supports. This may not be very collision safe next to a "normal" car ... and this is just a bunch of plastic next to a SUV ...

      Now ... don't get me wrong, I wouldn't mind one of these ... I think they would be pretty fun to drive.

      The range on these appears to be pretty good ... ~400mi ... on only 5 gal gasoline ...

      • Getting slightly off topic here, but I would point out that the vehicle is using at least four point seat belts. I have no doubt that the desingers are very concerned about the safety of this vehicle. It is also a test vehicle rather than a prototype.

        At the other end of this is the fact that percieved safety on the part of the driver has an inverse ration to the results of colisions. i.e. if the driver percieves the vehicle as safe, the results of accidents the driver is in are worse.

        One way to think about it is how much more attention would you pay to the environment you are driving in, if you were told that the air-bag electronics were wired to a couple of sticks of dynamite under your seat. As long as you prevented yourself from being in an accident, you would survive.

  • Very cool (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fo0bar ( 261207 )
    As the owner of a hybrid car, a 2002 Toyota Prius, I can say that this helps tremendously. The Prius and the hybrid Civic are what I call "anti-concept" cars, they're brand-spanking-new designs with a feel that closely resembles the cars that we're used to seeing on the road.

    However, while very cool, I think of my car as more "practical" and "safe" than "sexy". I've been waiting for a sports car (convertible in particular) with hybrid features. This new car looks like it has all the good things going for it.

    The car of the future will not be an all-electric new-age car, it will be a hybrid. My thoughts, YMMV.

  • ...does it have seats that heat up my butt?
  • by supahdren ( 559625 ) on Saturday June 08, 2002 @12:02AM (#3663761)
    L3 Research Inc. is a company that merges the future with today. Our hybrid technology incorporates best-in-class, off-the-shelf solutions without compromise. We call it Lean Muscle.

    I never thought about it, but "best-in-class, off-the-shelf solutions" is a great way of saying "we stole a copy of photoshop to fade our picture edges and yoinked some flash buttons from a quake fansite we found." oh wait, they're talking about the car.... :) just kidding guys, hybrid technology rocks the blizock

    • Well, they didn't make the bodyshell, the engine, the wheels, tires, or pretty much anything else in the car either. They did exactly as you say: bolted together bits they found around the place.

  • ive seen go-carts with much heavier construction the the looks of the framing beyond the wheels. If a car like that had anything near 250 hp i would imagine it would do 0-60 well under 7 seconds depending on how well the tires can grip with only a few hundred pounds pushing down.
  • "SDSU Engineering students working in conjunction with real life designers create an electric hybrid vehicle that actually...well.. looks cool for all the right reasons.
    Oh me oh my! They actually got to SEE, REAL designers? I mean, my brother went to college to be a designer and we haven't seen him in 7 years. I think it's really great that more and more designers are showing their face in public. This is really, truly great news.
  • by jonbrewer ( 11894 ) on Saturday June 08, 2002 @12:08AM (#3663773) Homepage
    All you looking at the performance and gas milage of this car, have a look at what powers it. Sure there's an electric motor which gives you the fast 0-60, but if you look at the specifications [] page, you'll notice that all that electricity is powered by a Volkswagen TDI diesel engine.

    This is the 1.2 liter Lupo [] engine. Without the electric motor it gets 78 miles to the gallon anyway! Now while cars with this engine aren't sold in the US, one can purchase a Golf or Jetta with a slightly larger 1.9 liter TDI which makes 50 MPG, and generates between 90-115 HP. (with a torque peak of 155 lb. ft. @ 1900 rpm) 0-60 is a pathetic 10s, but 0-40 is a phenomenal ~4 seconds, which I find easily leaves a Subaru WRX or a BMW M3 in the dust.

    (Yeah, that's me in my diesel Golf [] playing "the fast and the furious []" on the streets of Boston twice a day.) :-)
    • The VW TDI is indeed a good engine. My family has 2 New Beetles here, both powered by TDIs. (BTW, the acronym stands for Turbocharged Direct Injection.) People are often surprised when I mention that the car has a turbo-diesel engine in it, with one person going so far as to say there was something wrong with my Bug because it was idling too loud. It's really all worth it, since I can make it from here to LA and back (~600 miles) without having to stop for fuel. The torque curve is also beneficial as well, for putting small dents in the self-esteem of a number of street racers. Interestingly enough, I saw a VW ad the other day marketing the Golf TDI as a performance vehicle, showing one about to get stopped by a highway patrol officer. Maybe they intend to take advantage of the engine's performance potential?

      In Europe, VW has a Lupo prototype made from lightweight materials that can do 130 MPG without a hybrid powerplant. I can't find a link offhand, but I believe I read that in Automobile magazine. With advances like these, I think these engines are a major force in the future of internal-combustion technology. (Interestingly enough, the state of California was offering tax breaks for people who bought TDIs, since they were considered a low-emissions vehicle. This was until VW stopped shipping TDIs into CA and NY state in 1999 due to more stringent environmental restrictions. Local dealerships have only begun to receive TDIs again in the past year or so...)
    • Now while cars with this engine aren't sold in the
      US, one can purchase a Golf or Jetta with a slightly larger 1.9 liter TDI
      which makes 50 MPG, and generates between 90-115 HP. (with a torque peak
      of 155 lb. ft. @ 1900 rpm) 0-60 is a pathetic 10s, but 0-40 is a phenomenal
      ~4 seconds, which I find easily leaves a Subaru WRX or a BMW M3 in the dust.

      If said vehicles are driven by Miss Daisy.

      BMW M3 []. 343 bhp. 365 Nm. 0-100 km/h: 5.2 seconds.

      Subaru WRX []. 250 bhp. 333 Nm. 0-100 km/h: 5.9 seconds. (Original spec)

      Buddy, I don't think so.

      • Maybe kinda sorta.

        WRX. 0-40 in 3.9s []. Maybe. Such measurements can very by as much as 15% due to driver, ambient temperature and humidity, and height above sea level variations, so it's possible they can beat the WRX to 40 (though if the WRX does the 5000rpm clutch drop to launch, there's no way the Golf/Jetta can beat it, they just don't have the grip).

        M3. 0-40 in 3.4s []. Okay, probably not.

      • Exagerations withstanding, your missing the point.

        Will the BMW or or WRX get over 50MPG?

        NO, the M3 get's 16 city, 24 highway. Dare to compare GALLONS per SECOND?

        Point being, just because it's high gas mileage doesn't mean it is a complete slouch in preformance. Compare ANYTHING to a M3 and you will see it is a decent preformer.

    • 0-40 in 4 seconds? good luck doing that in the snow!!

      Seriously, that's pretty neat -- good torque at a really low RPM. Nice to see such a cool engine with such great mpg do well in acceleration, too. But, you may want to check out this 0-40 mph comparison []:

      2003 Subaru Impreza WRX Sti Sedan (US spec) 2.5s hard launch /7.0s soft launch
      2001 BMW M3 2.8s hard launch /3.4s soft launch

      Also, I don't quite get your math... 0-40 in ~4 seconds, and then another 6 seconds to get to 60? Does it feel like the engine cuts out, or is there a different technique involved, or what is it that I'm missing? Actually, IIRC, the WRX is 0-60 in something like 6 seconds -- that scales similarily, so I guess its normal...

      and don't miss this neat WRX picture!! []
    • 0-60 in 10s is faster than a BMW 5 series from the 80s, faster than many high priced sports cars from the 70s, and faster than many "muscle cars" from the 60s. Just because the average econobox smokes all of these now doesn't mean it's "slow."
      • Because the average econobox smokes all of these, they are slow. Fast or slow is relative - if you drive your "fast" cars from the older days on today's roads you'll know what it means to be crawling.

        For sure when the Model-T came out people would say it was fast. It might be true at that time, but for sure not now.
  • pictures (Score:2, Informative)

    by supahdren ( 559625 )
    courtesy of your friendly neighborhood karmawhore, here are the pics:

    click here []

  • by edo-01 ( 241933 ) on Saturday June 08, 2002 @12:25AM (#3663820)
    I have long suspected (half jokingly), as I am sure have many here, that the big car companies who have developed hybrid/alternate energy cars have deliberately made them look incredibly ugly [] to prevent anyone actually wanting to buy one.

    It's great to see one of these cars that actually looks cool, even if the models posing with the car don't. []

    • The EV1 strikes me as being incredibly aerodynamic and therefore getting more miles per charge. PLEASE correct me if I'm wrong, but I assume an enlongated sphere which comes to a point at the front and back is the most aerodynamic shape possible that holds any volume inside. Therefore all our cars should be bubble shaped. Unfortunately most of our eyes are drawn to cars that have defined "lines." Even the Miata and Corvette have lines of a mild sort, but the McLaren F1 gets our serious attention for styling.

  • IMO, one of the reasons why we don't see many of these hybrid cars on the road is because they look so damn stupid. Have you ever seen the Honda Insight? It looks like an old CRX, except it's more streamlined, and smaller.

    Let's face it, we all want a car that gets good mileage, but we also want a car that looks good too. If we all cared about gas mileage, we'd be driving Geo Metros. But we aren't, because they are ugly cars that are slightly larger than a Matchbox car, and they wouldn't hold up in a fender bender. Everyone wants a big vehicle...not 1975 Cadillac big, but big enough to make us feel safe and look good at the same time. Most hybrids out there lack in the second department.

    Auto manufacturers seem to be catching on, and they're starting to make hybrids of existing vehicles (the Honda Civic and Ford Escape come to mind). But they need to start cranking out hybrids of existing models that people like, or models that resemble the SDSU vehicle. Hell, I'd like to see a hybrid Volkswagen Jetta...not that they don't get good mileage as-is, especially if you have diesel. But that's besides the point. :)

    Until the auto manufacturers start doing that, I don't think we'll see any general acceptance of hybrid vehicles, because nobody wants to plunk down the money for a silly looking electric Matchbox car.
  • Doors? (Score:4, Funny)

    by jcsehak ( 559709 ) on Saturday June 08, 2002 @12:54AM (#3663879) Homepage
    Are those doors or drive-in-movie trays? What is that, like 3 less inches you have to step over to get out? I say save money on hinges and go dukes of hazzard style.
    • Reminds me of the Lotus Elise []. In that car, the door sill actually doubles as an arm rest by design.

      As the uni designed this hybrid as a lightweight car, it wouldn't surprise me if they borrowed some design cues from the Elise (1600 lbs).

  • []

    Not really a CAVE, but the three projectors, curved screen, and the two pipe / 2x8 channel late model deskside Onyx2 makes it a "Reality Center". Not too shabby.
  • I see that their onboard computer and even their dashboard is controlled by LabView. Any idea the specs are on the computer that's driving this? I'm curious as to the CPU/Ram and power supply choices.
  • by jezzball ( 28743 ) <slash2@dan k e> on Saturday June 08, 2002 @01:34AM (#3663959) Homepage Journal
    I'm at Cornell, and several of my close friends are involved with the FutureTruck competition ( Very very cool stuff - They've made a Ford Explorer with a Miata engine (turbocharged) and electric motor. Much more practical than yet another sporty car (which I think has been done better...witness the EV1, for instance).

    Go Cornell! Competition starts Monday! Go Big Red!
  • Is the 0-60 and quarter mile time posted somewhere?

    Oh and it's a cute little death trap. Imagine what a Maibatsu Monstrosity would do to that thing...

  • After having worked on several electric cars (conversions), and being 'into" electric/hybrid vehicles for well over two decades, I can say nice effort, nice lines, but when can we buy one that's affordable?

    And speaking of un-affordable, here's something pretty darn sweet that's been around since 1997.

    I like this TZero [] better because it can be a pure electric around town, and for long trips you just hook up their very cool 'Long Ranger' hybrid trailer, which allows for continuous highway cruising.

    And it's quick too!

    • 0 to 60 mph: 4.07 sec
    • 1/4 mile: 13.24 sec at 90 mph
    • Skidpad: 0.88 G
    • Range: 100 miles at 60 mph

    I want a TZero!

  • hybrids rule (Score:2, Informative)

    by carnut ( 584198 )
    There are just so many things I want to say about so many of the comments here that I don't know where to start.

    First off, I was at the 2002 Tour de Sol where this car was supposed to be the best car ever. All you have to do is check out the scores. The car from SDSU finished the race with -18 points. Yes, that is less than zero. Just showing up and filling out paper work earns some points. Where was all this 260hp performance? If you want to see some real student built hybrid vehicles check out Western Washington University's Vehicle Research Institute at We have several hybrids. Some are conversions but we tend to specialize in the ground up design of real vehicles.

    Second, plugging an electric car into the wall is more efficient and cleaner than burning gasoline to power a generator. This is because it is easier to clean up the emissions from a large plant, it's all in one place, than it is to clean up the tailpipe of many cars that move all over the place.

    Third, diesel engines are more efficient than most other internal combustion engines. Those of you that think they are dirty and pollute the air more than gasoline engines are also wrong. You probably think of those city buses and heavy equipment belching black smoke into the air when you think of diesel power. That's only because those engines are not very well tuned. A well tuned diesel engine is just as clean as a well tuned gas engine.

    Finally, hybrids rule. You get the best of both worlds. Electric drive that is most efficient at low speeds and internal combustion power that is most efficient at cruising speeds. I have spent a couple years of my college carrer researching and building a hybrid vehicle so it pains me to see people so uninformed about what is happening to the cars of the future. Pure electric vehicles are not generally accepted by consumers since you have to plug them in every night or you don't get to work the next day. Fuel cells require gaseous hydrogen. When is the last time you went to the corner refuelling station and found hydrogen? Hybrid vehicles use technology for a sustainable future.
    • Second, plugging an electric car into the wall is more efficient and cleaner than burning gasoline to power a generator. This is because it is easier to clean up the emissions from a large plant, it's all in one place, than it is to clean up the tailpipe of many cars that move all over the place.

      This gave me an idea: How about creating "power mats" that the owner parks the car over, which provide an inductive trickle charge to the electric-only car overnight?

      They could even provide "keys", encrypted, so other drivers couldn't steal energy (for, say, such a device buried in a driveway).

      The idea being, of course, to make the user experience more enjoyable/less frustrating.

  • "On April 23 2002, Dr. Larry Thompson was tragically killed in an auto accident."

    Unless this is a joke I feel sorry, and am sorry for the friends and family of this man... but dammit they can tell the future well!
  • A while back i stumbled across a company called AC Propulsion. They built an electric car that has better acceleration than a farrari, porche, and others.... and it's funny that this new car looks just like it, but with tiny body kit...

    ...what do you think? . tm []

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