It's not quite that simple. Really, they need investors and the investors wil have to be able to see that it's profitable too, and a lot of changes will have to be made so that it can be marketed. Some of Nikola Tesla's inventions would have been brilliant but they weren't considered marketable at the time.
Why can't we make this? Oh where to begin. I know! Let's start with what the Federal Government requires (and not anyone else.) First off, the car must be capable of handling collision. This includes t-boning, head-on, and rear collision from different size vehicles (say what you want, but some of the biggest pickups are going to be staying in agricultural areas for a long time) as well as rolling. So you can't really skip out on a strong material. The only light weight that I can think of it carbon fiber, but that is expensive and is a pain to take care of (a lot more than the average driver is willing to accept.) There must be a fully functional seat belt. Light seatbelt systems are extremely uncomfortable as you either have to get a custom mold or else they cut back on a lot of cushioning. Either way, you aren't relaxing in light seats. The car must sit so high. How high? I'm getting away with about 4-5 inches stock, I heard you can get to 3 outside of New Jersey and California. If you know anything about car physics, then you would know that sitting higher causes more drag which is something the car must get past (a lot of professional race cars may not even have an entire inch from the ground.)
Now, let's talk of what the overage consumer wants. Obviously, they probably want some kind of roof. Ignoring convertables (they tend to be heavier,) that is quite a bit of extra weight you have to add. Traction would be nice. I mean, it is really annoying when your tires spin out at the slightest preassure of gas. So you need at least some width to your tires. The problem is that with more width means more friction the car must defeat to even roll. AC units suck fuel efficiency, even just leaving the air conditioning is not good on milage (and rolling down windows is worse after about 35 mph.) More than likely an individual wants more than one seat for their significant other or good friend that they are offering a ride to. This doubles the seatbelt weight. Even more likely, people want room for an entire family to sit comfortably. Trunks, you'll use them eventually and they need space, so that is more weight. Leg room and head room is important for tall people, which means that everything must be further apart, which makes the car a bit bigger. If you can't do this, tall people will simply prefer pickups which have to exist for the agriculture business. With all required weight, I would appreciate if my car can get over some hills at 75 mph just outside of Denver, Colorado. Because life is too short to spend 5 hours of traveling when it should be in half. This doesn't include other this like sound proofing (more weight,) a bigger truck (more weight,) and any more sporty options that people highly desire somtimes.
With that said, I offer three cars: First, there is the typical Smart Fortwo, weighing in at 1,600 lbs and a fuel efficiency of 36 mpg, the car has recieved decent crash ratings with issues of poor control over head movment (the dummy hitting the steering wheel) as well as spinning 450 degrees in the air when hit by a Mercedes C-class. As can tell by images, the car only sits two people. Not good for families. [link] Next, let's try the Toyota Prius. Unlike our little Smart car, the Prius has been given 5 stars in general with issues with pedestrians (small tires, man...) Fuel efficiency is about 50 mpg (beating the Smart car,) which isn't bad. So the weight? 3,000 lbs. (Hmmm...) [link] Now, I would offer information on the Aerial Atom, but here is Top Gear: [link] That is your bare bone car that happens to have a bigger engine and tire (you almost need thoses tires at light as it is) than really needed, have fun.
You're forgetting that if every auto maker were to suddenly start making more fuel efficient cars, the oil industry would collapse. They need money to stay afloat, and if every car were suddenly using 300 miles per gallon plus engines, there would be no need for as much oil as we consume now.
Okay, yeah, I missed that part. However, what if oil were completely replaced? What then? Still, it's not like we're replacing oil anytime soon with all the Republican nut-jobs wanting to keep their Hummers.
There have been multiple attempts to put a fully electric car on the market, even one that could use alternative fuels to make the car go. The issue is that if this happened, the gas companies' profits would plummet, so they have always quashed the research or paid them off.
We will never have a vehicle like that, it would end the 1%'s reign of wealth
I think the biggest problem there is safety. And test conditions. Can't go over 30mi/h? Max of 35ft turning radius? To put in all the safety requirements; to give it more performance; to make it go faster; to add more seats... all that extra weight...
It's a great learning experience to be sure, but to conflate that with current car manufacturing? Completely different league to compare efficiency.
The car you described wouldn't be permitted on the road; the government has set minimum standards for automobile safety, and such a vehicle almost certainly doesn't meet them.
In contrast, even the lightest of vehicles capable of meeting the requirements tend to be rather hefty. For example, a Yugo 45 ([link]) still manages to tip the scales at over 1,800 pounds. The heavier a vehicle is, the less fuel-efficient it is.
Additionally, there is the problem of weight and fuel economy, which Defense2 explained and is the reason there's a ceiling to how much fuel economy you can actually get with a small car and still have it be safe. Consider the SmartCar. How smart (!) is it to drive in something that little among other vehicles?
Ultra-light micro-cars have been tried before, even in the 1950s. Consider the tiny Brutsch Mopetta, it got something like 100mpg way back in 1957. But how safe is something like this to drive? Look at the photo of the driver talking to a guy in a big rig! [link]
(I used the Czech website because it has that truck pic, it's the only place I could find it with that view. The car really was tiny.) Would you want a car that small? Even if it was that efficient? Is it THAT important to get around in a car??????
How many of these can they make? And taking that measurement at 30mph is not fair, since the federal requirement measures 'highway mpg' at 65mph. It used to be measured at 55mph until Obama changed it, because 55 is a lower speed and makes the engines seem more efficient. Nevertheless, I bet a Prius would get close to 100mpg if it had a standard trans and in top gear at 30mph- completely unmodified.
The average economy car will get maybe 30mpg or 40 on highways in the US. So if 30 kids rode in 30 cars going 300 miles, a total of 300 gallons of gas would be used. If all 30 kids rode a bus that got 10mpg going 300 miles, a total of 30 gallons would be used.
And not only that, but there is one vehicle instead of 30 now. Imagine the difference on our public roads and highways, with that many fewer cars. Imagine the resources used to build that many cars, and the computers put into them, and the amount of money spent on them. Compare it to a bus ticket. Suddenly a 300mpg car sounds like a stupid joke, doesn't it? Yep, it's not gonna solve our problem.
My high school got in on those contests too. I think they got something like 325 mpg. Also, fun fact: Briggs & Stratton, one of the brands you mentioned for engines originally started as a car company even producing the cheapest mass-produced car ever and I believe developed the first hybrid car in 1980, though it was never mass-produced since the oil crisis was just ending.
As for why car companies can't do better, they have to keep their car road legal with crumple zones, lights, muffler, and creature comforts like fans, radios, etc. So making a fuel efficient car while maintaining a decent profit margin can be difficult. Though if you want fuel efficient, diesel and ethanol are both better. For those of you with Flex Fuel cars who disagree about the ethanol, that's because your car's computer was optimized for gasoline, not ethanol. A well equipped garage can fix that.
Exactly. Instead of the "us vs. them" mentality that we have know we'd have had a much bigger outcry of corruption and change. Great duress is what brings about drastic change, we're only just seeing the beginnings of it
Sure, they're not really that hard to build. The thing is: The have no torque and can't go faster than 35mph. At that speed it'd take you days just to travel across a city. Without torque, it'd be almost impossible to go up a hill(of which America has many). Could/Should cars be a lot more fuel efficient? Heck yes. But this isn't how you do it.
The giant mish-mash hybrid cities of San Fransisco, San Jose and Oakland. It's about 60 miles from the Golden Gate to the edge of San Jose and it's pretty much solid city driving along highway 101. Same for from Richmond through San Jose. The 3-4 cities have basically merged and it's almost impossible to determine where one stops and the other begins.
I'm, as much as it pains me to say... Try doing all of that with the bear bones of what cars need to be on the road today... Let alone sell to the public.
Safety takes up weight and design which can cause drag
Each electronic device adds weight and power from the engine.
Can we simply remove the wheel itself and have a joystick to reduce weight with drive by wire? Yes, but we all would have to relearn how to drive if you change the wheel... The car won't sell well,.. At least not to most, if it gets better mileage, I'll learn to drive it, most won't.
Without the AC, cars anymore won't sell Without a radio, cd player and or mp3, cars won't sell. Without power windows, locks and car alarms, cars don't sell well.
So, when you design a car around these things, and get such mileage, let me know. I'm not saying they don't exist, bu they aren't on the show room floor for the public to buy.
An interesting experiment, but nothing more. While stunning in it's fuel efficiency, it is completely impractical for common use. With some exception to consumer taste, there must always be a balance of efficiency and practicality that will naturally limit design.
This does, however, remind me of that story I'd heard years ago of the man in the 1950s who designed a carburetor that allowed a car to get fifty miles to the gallon. It vanished quickly after the auto and petroleum companies found out about it, likely to that man's financial gain and everyone else's loss. Rumor has it GM actually equipped a few cars with it that accidentally found their way to market, and later grabbed them back up under pretense of a recall...
I've heard of aftermarket carb kits that boost the millage of an engine to some impressive numbers, but if this guys carb was anything like these aftermarket ones it would have really sapped the engines power and performance, in the 1950s this would not have worked and by the time it would have worked the car companies had smaller almost as efficient but more powerful engines available.
and i don't think you can really blame the car companies for this, they just make what people want to buy. though GM didn't even need this carb, if they wanted to they could have been building hybrids sense 1969! [link]