Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Future Of Transportation - China

A friend sent me a tounge-in-cheek piece suggesting that the Chinese had bought the rights to the Volkswagen L1 vehicle
The original was built a few years ago and was widely touted as the winner of the L1 prize, that is a vehicle capable of traveling 100 km on 1 L of fuel, 258 mpg. The vehicle had a 1 cyl diesel engine and I believe a variable ratio transmission. It was made from graphite and magnesium and cost a bit over $1M. 

Like Jeremy Clarkson's machine (scroll down) it wasn't very fast
but that wasn't the point.

The e-mail I got suggested that the Chinese were about to put this thing into production at a price of just $600 to address Chinas transportation problems. In the same spirit, here are the modifications the Chinese will be making to the vehicle to address their manufacturing issues:
1. Instead of graphite, Magnesium, and heat treated Unobtanium, the Chinese version will be made from pot metal and FRP. FRP is what most suitcases are made from. The Chinese are good at that.
2. Instead of the expensive VW-Audi diesel, a Long Dong diesel driver from an agricultural power hoe will be used. A quick-change connection will allow the power plant to revert to its usual role as a motorized substitute for a water buffalo.
3. While the German version would only seat one, the Chinese feel the average legal family of 3 will fit comfortably, so no size change.
4. To increase the utility, a roof rack and trailer hitch will be included to accomodate the kinds of loads formerly relegated to bicycles.
Fuel economy is expected to be slightly lower, but no one is expected to notice.

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