MIT's "City Car" Aims to Ease City Congestion, Pollution
November 7, 2007 12:36 PM
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MIT City Car conceptual drawing
MIT dreams up a rentable, stackable, all-electric car for cities
America just seems to be obsessed with large vehicles. Maybe it’s our expanding waistlines, image consciousness or our "You can't tell me what to do, so I'm gonna buy whatever I want" mentality that persuades people to transport junior in a Suburban, go grocery shopping with a Tundra CrewMax or take Fido to the get his yearly shot in an Escalade EXT.
With rising gas prices, an increasing attention to our
consumption of fossil fuels
, an increasing awareness of
and expanding city centers, many are looking for more cost effective and efficient ways of transporting people in metropolitan areas. MIT Media Lab's Smart Cities group is thinking small with a new stackable car to reduce emissions and congestion in and around city centers.
The MIT "
" would be an all-electric vehicle capable of carrying two passengers and their cargo. The vehicles would be located near train stations, bus terminals and airports to ferry travelers to their final destination.
"The problem with mass transit is it kind of takes you to where you want to go and at the approximate time you want to get there, but not exactly," said Ph.D. candidate Franco Vairani of MIT's school of architecture. "Sometimes you have to walk up to a mile from the last train or subway stop."
The City Car will be stackable -- the entire back end of the vehicle would rise up allowing as many as eight of the vehicles to fit into a conventional parking space. The vehicle itself would also be mechanically simple with the electric motor, steering system and suspension enclosed within the wheel hubs.
The vehicle is said to weigh between 1,000 to 1,200 pounds and will be powered by lithium-ion batteries. According to Vairani, there could also be multiple versions of the City Car to accommodate a certain city's needs. A City Car destined for use in New York City might have a less powerful battery and a lower top speed due to traffic congestion. In other cities where interstate travel is more frequent, more powerful batteries capable of propelling the City Car faster and farther could be used.
If all goes well, MIT will show a prototype of the City Car sometime next year.
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Wonder how it would...
11/7/2007 1:57:18 PM
I wonder how it would handle in colder climates and deal with snow, slush, rain, wind, etc... At 1200 lbs it might blow over pretty easily in decent wind.
RE: Wonder how it would...
11/7/2007 3:05:04 PM
They also fail to consider more modern metro areas like Phoenix. Most traditional urban areas have well developed mass transit system, but larger metro areas have little to none.
That thing would be nothing more then a pancake on an Interstate.
RE: Wonder how it would...
11/7/2007 8:32:59 PM
It's not intended for the interstate, hence the name, "CITY CAR"
RE: Wonder how it would...
11/8/2007 9:00:47 AM
Cities like Phoenix make large use of Interstates, which is what I was referring to as modern cities.
I wish other cities weren't so opposed to building more highways. It seems in the DC area freeway is a scary word, but when I lived in Phoenix I could go 4 times the distance in the same amount of time and that was all due to a robust freeway and Interstate system.
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