Wrightspeed Article

By Deane Barker on May 5, 2006

A car that could save the planet — fast: Here’s an in-depth CNN article about the electric car Dave posted about a while back. All of this on batteries? Insane.

Last November, Wright towed the X1 to a racetrack near Sacramento to see how his prototype would do against a Ferrari and a Porsche. On paper, a win seemed guaranteed. But he hadn’t yet run the car full out.

In the first matchup, the X1 crushed the Ferrari in an eighth-mile sprint and then in the quarter-mile, winning by two car lengths. In the second race, against the $440,000 Porsche, the two cars were even after an eighth of a mile. But as the Porsche driver let out the clutch in a final upshift, his tires briefly lost traction. The X1, blazing along in its software-controlled performance mode, beat the Porsche by half a car length.

It never occurred to me that I would lose,” says Kim Stuart, the Porsche’s driver. “It was like a light switch. He hit the pedal and was gone.”

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  1. I don’t know about saving the planet; that electricity has to come from somewhere, and around these parts I believe it’s derived from burning coal.

    Even so, there really isn’t much reason that car manufacturers can’t be building short-range commuter vehicles that run solely on electric power. My daily commute, including errands, is only about 20 miles, and I would hazard to guess that there are a lot of people like me who would be willing to pay between $3,000 and $5,000 for something that’ll get us where we need to go cheaply and keep us out of the elements.

    Like Dean Kamen once said, nobody needs a 5,000lb vehicle to haul their 200lb asses around town. But the Segway is definitely not the answer for me.

  2. http://www.zapworld.com/

    This company makes golf carts that are dressed up like cars.

    My prior company had two locations in the city, about a mile apart. They had a nice enclosed golf cart that people (mostly the facilities staff) would drive back and forth on city streets.

    I personally think there should be a ratio of vehicle weight to average weight of contents. Find out what the average weight over a month is of stuff you haul around, including your own weight and that of your passengers. Then don’t buy a car that weights over X times that.

    The receptionist for another company I worked at weighed maybe 110 pounds. She always drove alone, and never hauled anything around. She drove a GMC Tahoe XL.

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