“To add speed, add lightness”

     For sedans, they’re getting beefier and beefier each year due to crash regulations.  These days, its all been about Horsepower as each new ad will emphasize that this model is their most powerful model ever.  Back in th 90s, 300 ponies stock in a car would be incredible, and 200 horses would be enough to satisfy any owner.  But nowadays we have luxury and mid size sedans pushing 300 and 400 ponies.  It seems that every new iteration will add another 25 ponies which may sound great on paper, but the problem is that for each iteration they’re also adding 100 pounds or so.  And we’re still worrying about greenhouse emissions and the sort.  Instead of making these 4,000 pound behemoths with 400 horsepower, why don’t we concentrate by lessning the weight of these damn cars.  Without all that weight to heave around, we won’t need 400 horsepower engines to haul them around.  A 200 horsepower engine would be fine, and that reduction in engine weight in itself would be helpful.  And instead of blaming crash regulations as an excuse for your chubby cars, why don’t you find other ways to reduce weight?  The automotive industry is starting to use carbon fiber, and although its expensive, I’m sure the more companies use it, the cheaper it’ll become.  Stop worrying about trunk space, as 4 door cars have enough room in the rear seats to accomodate your luggage.  Everyday commuters don’t need a limosine to ferry them to work either.  Those extra seats in the back seem useless as so many of the cars are stuck in traffic doing nothing but spitting out carbon dioxide.  Most commuters drive themselves to work anyways, so what’s the use of all those extra seats and amenties?

     So instead of adding more horsepower and catalyst converters, why don’t we kill both birds by just adding lightness?  With less crap to haul around, we won’t need such powerful engines.  Unfortunately, these days, its all about alternate fuels and MPGs.  Won’t a car be able to drive farther if the damn car didn’t weigh so much?  And if all cars were to reduce their weight, we could lax our crash regulations a bit, as the kinetic energy a car has when its moving will be lessened along with its mass.  The problem though, is that most accident deaths are caused by the lack of the driver/passenger wearing a seatbelt.  So who’s fault is it now?  Don’t punish everyone just because a few people are too stupid to wear a seatbelt.  Just a decade ago, our cars seemed to be 500 pounds or so lighter.  And 20 years ago, some models are lighter by more than 1,000 pounds.  I wonder how much energy it takes to drag that extra 1,000 pounds along everyday to work.


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April 2009
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If you'd like to contact me, please feel free to email me at projektrise@yahoo.com. Any and all opinions/ideas are welcome.


© 2009 Rusi Li

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