Flux S900 Shortrider
Fateba L1 Longrider
Street Machine Gt Shortrider
Roulandt Longrider
E-Motion California
Flyer C8
Diamond Frame Bicycles
MTB Kuwahara
Cyco Compact 28TR
Mobility Diary

    "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference."

    Reinhold Niebuhr

    Mobility Diary

    Solar Powered Airplane: Solar Impulse
    last edited 2010/07/11 11:10 (*)

    In a century which brought a lot of invention about mobility, recent developments only pretend to be real innovations, but mostly refinements of existing ideas, concepts and realizations. Solar Impulse project around Bertrand Piccard is such a project.

    Solar Impulse Plans

    Solar Impulse (Illustration)

    Solar Impulse Test Flight

    General characteristics

    • Crew: 1
    • Payload: Lithium-ion batteries: 450 kg, (capacity: 200 Wh/kg = 90 KWh)
    • Length: 21.85 m (71.7 ft)
    • Wingspan: 63.4 m (208 ft)
    • Height: 6.40 m (21.0 ft)
    • Wing area: 11,628 photovoltaic cells: 200 m2 (2,200 sq ft)
    • Loaded weight: 1600 kg (3,500 lb)
    • Max takeoff weight: 2000 kg (4,400 lb)
    • Powerplant: 4 electric motors, 7.5 kW (10 HP) each
    • Take-off speed: 35 kilometres per hour (22 mph)


    • Cruise speed: 70 kilometres per hour (43 mph)
    • Endurance: 36 hours (projected)
    • Service ceiling: 8,500 m (27,900 ft) Maximum altitude: 12,000 metres (39,000 ft)

    Wingspan Comparison of Solar Impulse vs Airbus 380

    The wingspan comparison and weight comparison shows the key of energy efficiency: weight. Regardless in air or surface, the weight is a major factor as pointed out in other postings here. To build a 1600kg airplane where the batteries already use up 25% of the weight reveals also the main problem: storing (electric) energy, and currently (2010) electricity is stored in batteries, and those still impose a high weight cost.

    I hope the research around Solar Impulse provides also new insights of efficiency of ground mobility and vice-versa.


    General Motors & Chrysler Bankruptcy
    last edited 2009/06/03 18:58 (*)

    GM Headquarter, Detroit, USA
    Two large US manufacturers are bankrupt - all the criticism which was denied the last 10 years finally came true: heavy and inefficient cars without a perspective for the future demands. It has been pointed out, the main reason for the collapse of the two US car manufactures wasn't the financial and economic crisis as such, it just made it appearant that something was wrong and it wasn't just the selection of cars, but the managment itself unable to make the shift.

    Chrysler established in 1925 finally filed "chapter 11" bankruptcy protection April 30, 2009 - and General Motors (GM) (doing brands like Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, Hummer, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, Vauxhall and Wuling) established in 1908 filed also "chapter 11" bankruptcy protection in June 1, 2009 and has been taken over by the US government in order to relaunch with a much smaller infrastructure and its implied loss of jobs.

    With these two large US car manufactures also an era of "old thinking" finds an end - the arrogance how the US car manufacturers and its lobbyist prevented early adoption of greener and cleaner standards now finds its unglory end - unable to transform itself within the capitalistic market it requires aid by the fomerly much despised US government - very ironic.

    To be fair, both companies developed zero emission electric cars (e.g. the EV1 by GM), yet, according their own statement, the market wasn't ready - so those early attempts failed - compare also EV1 Criticism .

    Addenum: The german manufacturer Opel was extracted from the GM prior the "chapter 11" protection - they are trying to survive independently with aid of the german government.

    USA wants cars make 39MPG or more (~6.2L/100km or less) by 2016
    last edited 2009/05/19 22:09 (*)

    There is some motion regarding efficiency going on in the US car industry, coming from a couple states and now Obama adminstration itself: 30% reduction of gasoline usage is a start. The US administration under Obama wants to make it a federal law and start a phase-in process starting 2011 already.

    Hoping investment capital flows into more efficient vehicles and stire up the market and innovation which has been stagnant for way too long.

    Source: MSNBC

    High-Speed Railway for USA
    last edited 2009/04/18 15:46 (*)

    Obama pushes his agenda of progressive solutions further, and he seems to walk his talk and presented his plan for a high speed railway for the USA. As I listed railway approach in Mobility, it has a very good energy efficiency, e.g. the swiss railway (SBB) gave excellent energy consumption per passenger, whereas Amtrak has much worse energy consumption - it really matter how the railway will be actually implemented.




    Thank you very much. That is a wonderful reception, and I want to, in addition to Ray LaHood and Joe Biden, Rahm Emanuel, all of who have worked on this extensively, I also want to acknowledge Jim Oberstar and Rob Andrews, two of our finest members of Congress, both people who understand that investing in our infrastructure, investing in our transportation system pays enormous dividends over the long term. So I'm grateful to them. (Applause.)

    You know, I've been speaking a lot lately about what we're doing to break free of our economic crisis so to put people back to work and move this nation from recession to recovery. And one area in which we can make investments with impact both immediate and lasting is in America's infrastructure.

    And that's why the Recovery and Reinvestment Plan we passed not two months ago included the most sweeping investment in our infrastructure since President Eisenhower built the Interstate Highway System in the 1950s. And these efforts will save money by untangling gridlock, and saving lives by improving our roads, and save or create 150,000 jobs, mostly in the private sector, by the end of next year. Already, it's put Americans back to work. And so far, we're ahead of schedule, we're under budget, and adhering to the highest standards of transparency and accountability.

    But if we want to move from recovery to prosperity, then we have to do a little bit more. We also have to build a new foundation for our future growth. Today, our aging system of highways and byways, air routes and rail lines is hindering that growth. Our highways are clogged with traffic, costing us $80 billion a year in lost productivity and wasted fuel. Our airports are choked with increased loads. Some of you flew down here and you know what that was about. We're at the mercy of fluctuating gas prices all too often; we pump too many greenhouse gases into the air.

    What we need, then, is a smart transportation system equal to the needs of the 21st century. A system that reduces travel times and increases mobility. A system that reduces congestion and boosts productivity. A system that reduces destructive emissions and creates jobs.

    What we're talking about is a vision for high-speed rail in America. Imagine boarding a train in the center of a city. No racing to an airport and across a terminal, no delays, no sitting on the tarmac, no lost luggage, no taking off your shoes. (Laughter.) Imagine whisking through towns at speeds over 100 miles an hour, walking only a few steps to public transportation, and ending up just blocks from your destination. Imagine what a great project that would be to rebuild America.

    Now, all of you know this is not some fanciful, pie-in-the-sky vision of the future. It is now. It is happening right now. It's been happening for decades. The problem is it's been happening elsewhere, not here.

    In France, high-speed rail has pulled regions from isolation, ignited growth, remade quiet towns into thriving tourist destinations. In Spain, a high-speed line between Madrid and Seville is so successful that more people travel between those cities by rail than by car and airplane combined. China, where service began just two years ago, may have more miles of high-speed rail service than any other country just five years from now. And Japan, the nation that unveiled the first high-speed rail system, is already at work building the next: a line that will connect Tokyo with Osaka at speeds of over 300 miles per hour. So it's being done; it's just not being done here.

    There's no reason why we can't do this. This is America. There's no reason why the future of travel should lie somewhere else beyond our borders. Building a new system of high-speed rail in America will be faster, cheaper and easier than building more freeways or adding to an already overburdened aviation system - and everybody stands to benefit.

    And that's why today, with the help of Secretary LaHood and Vice President Biden, America's number one rail fan, I've been told -- (laughter) -- I'm announcing my administration's efforts to transform travel in America with an historic investment in high-speed rail.

    And our strategy has two parts: improving our existing rail lines to make current train service faster -- so Rob can, you know, shave a few hours over the course of a week -- but also identifying potential corridors for the creation of world-class high-speed rail. To make this happen, we've already dedicated $8 billion of Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to this initiative, and I've requested another $5 billion over the next five years.

    The Department of Transportation expects to begin awarding funds to ready projects before the end of this summer, well ahead of schedule. And like all funding decisions under the Recovery Act, money will be distributed based on merit -- not on politics, not as favors, not for any other consideration --purely on merit.

    Now, this plan is realistic. And the first round of funding will focus on projects that can create jobs and benefits in the near term. We're not talking about starting from scratch, we're talking about using existing infrastructure to increase speeds on some routes from 70 miles an hour to over 100 miles per hour -- so you're taking existing rail lines, you're upgrading them. And many corridors merit even faster service, but this is the first step that is quickly achievable, and it will create jobs improving tracks, crossings, signal systems.

    The next step is investing in high-speed rail that unleashes the economic potential of all our regions by shrinking distances within our regions. There are at least 10 major corridors in the United States of 100 to 600 miles in length with the potential for successful high-speed rail systems. And these areas have explored its potential impact on their long-term growth and competitiveness, and they've already presented sound plans. I want to be clear: No decision about where to allocate funds has yet been made, and any region can step up, present a plan and be considered.

    The high-speed rail corridors we've identified so far would connect areas like the cities of the Pacific Northwest; southern and central Florida; the Gulf Coast to the Southeast to our nation's capital; the breadth of Pennsylvania and New York to the cities of New England; and something close to my heart, a central hub network that draws the cities of our industrial heartland closer to Chicago and one another.

    Or California, where voters have already chosen to move forward with their own high-speed rail system, a system of new stations and 220 mile-per-hour trains that links big cities to inland towns; that alleviates crippling congestion on highways and at airports; and that makes travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles possible in two and a half hours.

    And by making investments across the country, we'll lay a new foundation for our economic competitiveness and contribute to smart urban and rural growth. We'll create highly-skilled construction and operating jobs that can't be outsourced, and generate demand for technology that gives a new generation of innovators and entrepreneurs the opportunity to step up and lead the way in the 21st century. We'll move to cleaner energy and a cleaner environment, we'll reduce our need for foreign oil by millions of barrels a year, and eliminate more than 6 billion pounds of carbon dioxide emissions annually - equal to removing 1 million cars from our roads.

    Now, I know that this vision has its critics. There are those who say high-speed rail is a fantasy -- but its success around the world says otherwise. I know Americans love their cars, and nobody is talking about replacing the automobile and our highways as critical parts of our transportation system. We are upgrading those in the Recovery Package, as well. But this is something that can be done, has been done, and can provide us enormous benefits.

    Now, there are those who argue that if an investment doesn't directly benefit the people of their district, then it shouldn't be made. Jim, you know some of those arguments. (Laughter.) But if we followed that rationale, we'd have no infrastructure at all.

    There are those who say, well, this investment is too small. But this is just a first step. We know that this is going to be a long-term project. But us getting started now, us moving the process forward and getting people to imagine what's possible, and putting resources behind it so that people can start seeing examples of this around the country, that's going to spur all kinds of activity.

    Now finally, there are those who say at a time of crisis, we shouldn't be pursuing such a strategy; we've got too many other things to do. But our history teaches us a different lesson.

    As Secretary LaHood just mentioned, President Lincoln was committed to a nation connected from East to West, even at the same time he was trying to hold North and South together. He was in the middle of a Civil War. While fighting raged on one side of the continent, tens of thousands of Americans from all walks of life came together on the other. Dreamers and risk-takers willing to invest in America. College-educated engineers and supervisors who learned leadership in war. American workers and immigrants from all over the world. Confederates and Yankees joined on the same side.

    And eventually, those two sets of tracks met. And with one final blow of a hammer, backed by years of hard work and decades of dreams, the way was laid for a nationwide economy. A telegraph operator sent out a simple message to a waiting nation. It just said, "DONE." (Laughter.) A newspaper proclaimed: "We are the youngest of peoples. But we are teaching the world to march forward."

    In retrospect, America's march forward seems inevitable. But time and again, it's only made possible by generations that are willing to work and sacrifice and invest in plans to make tomorrow better than today. That's the vision we can't afford to lose sight of. That's the challenge that's fallen to this generation. And with this strategy for America's transportation future, and our efforts across all fronts to lay a new foundation for our lasting prosperity, that is the challenge we will meet.

    "Make no little plans." That's what Daniel Burnham said in Chicago. I believe that about America: Make no little plans. So let's get to work. Thank you, everybody. (Applause.)

    Source: A vision for high speed rail ,

    Exotic Vehicles
    last edited 2009/04/18 11:50 (*)

    Segway (Mono Standing)

    For long one of the most "modern" vehicles for urban application, now becomes almost a classic of its own: the Segway.

    2008/12/04 10:55
    2006/12/05 15:30

    Source: Segway PT

    Segway (Dual Seats)

    A newer version with two seats:

    2009/04/07 06:08
    2009/04/07 06:08


    A truly exotic approach is this mono wheel approach, where you sit where the hub usually is. I don't think this is really an efficient vehicle, because more friction due more wheels to create a hubless setup, you need various smaller wheels to keep the large wheel attached to the drive and seat and overall structure - on the other hand there is only one wheel and wheel friction involved, but I speculate that doesn't make it even.

    2008/06/10 01:08
    2007/11/23 01:09


    Microcar: Swiss-based Cree's SAM
    last edited 2009/04/14 13:55 (*)

    This 3 wheel motocycle-like micro-car has been developed in 1990's already, and was revived in 2006 again and got its own web-site finally.

    2005/12/15 15:41
    2005/12/15 15:41
    2005/12/15 15:41
    2005/12/15 15:41

    Technical Details:

    • weight: 545kg (6.8 vehicle/body ratio @ 80kg human)
    • seats: 2 (one faces front, 2nd seat faces backward)
    • energy usage: 8kWh / 100km ~ 2.5L gasoline / 100km
    • max. speed: 85 km/h or 50 MPH
    • price: Euro 8,300 / US$ 10,000


    It's a bit heavy with 545kg with only two seats, when one recalls the Loremo LS which has 550kg and 4 seats available. Yet, the SAM comes with an electric engine, and with 8kWh or equivalent apprx. 2-3L gasoline per 100km it's ok, but it could be better.

    Lightweight Car: Loremo LS - 1.5L per 100km / 155 MPG
    last edited 2009/04/15 10:43 (*)

    I finally found a lightweight car, still 550kg, but that team realized the overall weight is a crucial aspect of the overall efficency: Loremo LS - developed by a german-based team.

    2008/07/31 12:21
    2006/10/26 16:59
    2007/08/13 15:36

    Technical Details:

    • weight: 550kg (6.8 vehicle/body ratio @ 80kg human)
    • seats: 4
    • fuel usage: 1.5L diesel / 100km or 155 MPG
    • fuel: diesel
    • max. speed: 150 km/h or 90 MPH
    • Euro 17,000 / US$ 22,000

    Even though they still have 550kg, they seem to have developed a full scale car with 4 seats: 2 seats facing to the front, and 2 seats facing backwards. No regular doors but to open it with the entire front; this due the ridig steel frame for the front seats.

    So, the vehicle/body ratio for:

    • 1 adult: 550/80 = 6.87
    • 2 adults: 550/160 = 3.43
    • 2 adults + 2 kids: 550/260 = 2.11
    • 4 adults: 550/320 = 1.71

    which is impressive, almost reaching 1 - so a range of 1.7-6.8.

    The overall fuel usage from 1.5 to 2L gasoline per 100km is much better than what I have seen so far, e.g. compare to micro-cars with only 2 seats still having 5-6L per 100km.

    Update: The "EV" variant comes with an electric engine, and reaching 170km/h, see YouTube: 1st public run Loremo EV (2009/04/11) - it's a bit heavier with 600kg, and 150km / 90 miles range with one battery charge.

    As comparison of diesel vs electric version:

    diesel electric
    weight 550kg 600kg
    range 1000km / 600 miles 150km / 90 miles

    Source: , Wikipedia: Loremo , YouTube: Loremo (german)

    Older posts:

  • Vehicle/Body Ratio: Efficiency and Safety (2009/04/13 12:29)
  • Microcars Done Wrong: Smart Fortwo & Obvio 828 (2009/04/13 11:27)
  • Tesla Roadster: Old Way Car with Electric Engine (2009/04/11 17:26)
  • Solar Taxi - A Swiss Entrepreneur (2009/03/29 07:19)
  • Wind-powered car breaks record: 126.1 mph or 202.9 km/h (2009/03/28 22:09)
  • US car manufacturer crisis (2009/03/25 12:28)
  • Shell quits alternative energy investments (2009/03/25 10:37)

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