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Old 03-16-2009, 12:01 PM   #1
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Single Occupancy Commuter Car?

Since nobody ever seems to carpool much (I'd like to see high gas taxes with rebates so they did, but that's another discussion), what about a dedicated single occupancy commuter car? It'd have to be very inexpensive (saw an electric 3 wheeler that was out of this world expensive) as most likely you'd need to own another vehicle. Perhaps be an option for a couple to own one as an alternative to a second full sized car.

A small three wheeler along the lines of the Messerschmitt could be narrow enough that two normal lanes could theoretically be turned into three smaller ones for such vehicles. A full sized car pool vehicle would just use two of the lanes.

Yes, yes, I know none of this is ever going to happen. Just making conversation.
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co de pen den cy
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Old 03-16-2009, 12:41 PM   #2
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Vespa!
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Old 03-16-2009, 01:08 PM   #3
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myers motors has the NMG vehicle. it meets all the criteria but price. it is $30k but they say if production were to go up the price would go down. it is a strange little thing. runs on electricity.

www.myersmotors.com
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Old 03-16-2009, 01:10 PM   #4
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I've thought about this a hundred times.

Right now, the only solution I've seen is a motorcycle. And if the weather was better here, I would seriously consider this.

I'd love to see a one-person commuter vehicle, but one of the significant problems is that a very narrow vehicle would be very tipsy. You really need to make a car fairly wide so it will be stable, and at that point you might as well put a second seat inside. Otherwise the car would have to be SO low to the ground that it would get run over by larger SUVs and such.

-BC
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Old 03-16-2009, 01:55 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by BEEF View Post
myers motors has the NMG vehicle.

www.myersmotors.com
That was the sticker shock vehicle I was referencing! Thanks for the link.
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Main Entry: co de pen dence - see codependency
co de pen den cy
Pronunciation: \kō-di-ˈpen-dən(t)-sē\
Function: noun
Date: 1979

: a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (as an addiction to alcohol or heroin) ; broadly : dependence on the needs of or control by another
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Old 03-16-2009, 01:58 PM   #6
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I think a 4-passenger supermini would be more appropriate for commuting. That way you can still drop your kids off at the daycare, pick up groceries, grab the wife on the way home, get your kids from school, do SO MUCH MORE with the car than JUST run to and from work. Something VW Lupo sized, I guess us Americans would be thinking 1st gen Geo Metro, Ford Festiva, etc. There's no reason a lean-burn, fuel-injected, 1.0 liter 4-cylinder engine, geared right, with skinny tires, a jellybean shape, and just enough weight to pass federal crash testing with 3 or 4 stars, couldn't get 50-60mpg and still be as useful as say, a Cobalt or a Corolla.

Mazda made a 121 for the Australian market that is very similar to the 94-97 Aspire sold in the US except it's jellybean shaped. They called it the Bubble Car. Sold tens of thousands of them in Oz. They should have sold that here. It looks like a 7/8 scale '95 Hyundai Accent sedan with fewer straight lines, if you can imagine that. It's CUTE. Give me that with a 1000cc engine, CVT automatic, AC, manual steering, power brakes, and I'll see 60+mpg out of it no problem.
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Old 03-16-2009, 01:58 PM   #7
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I've thought about this a hundred times.

I'd love to see a one-person commuter vehicle, but one of the significant problems is that a very narrow vehicle would be very tipsy.

-BC
I checked and even the Messerschmitt was four feet wide. I wonder what lane size would work with that? I don't know what size vehicle standard lanes are intended for.

Scooters and motorcycles are great, but weather, safety, and required skill are all serious problems. My scooter wasn't so hot in Vermont winters.
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Main Entry: co de pen dence - see codependency
co de pen den cy
Pronunciation: \kō-di-ˈpen-dən(t)-sē\
Function: noun
Date: 1979

: a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (as an addiction to alcohol or heroin) ; broadly : dependence on the needs of or control by another
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Old 03-16-2009, 02:30 PM   #8
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Apparently minimum highway lane width is 12 feet (at least according to wikipedia). So two lanes turned into three would be 8 feet. So for a Messerschmitt sized vehicle, there'd be two feet on each size (and four feet between two vehicles). That'd be the same as an eight foot wide vehicle in a 12 foot wide lane. A Ford F150 is 97" wide, although that's with the mirrors. On the face of it the idea seems possible from a purely dimensional basis. Still completely impractical from a political standpoint. Good luck prying another travel lane out of the hands of normal cars for a fleet of theoretical vehicles with no installed base.
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Main Entry: co de pen dence - see codependency
co de pen den cy
Pronunciation: \kō-di-ˈpen-dən(t)-sē\
Function: noun
Date: 1979

: a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (as an addiction to alcohol or heroin) ; broadly : dependence on the needs of or control by another
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Old 03-16-2009, 08:08 PM   #9
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Mazda made a 121 for the Australian market that is very similar to the 94-97 Aspire sold in the US except it's jellybean shaped. They called it the Bubble Car. Sold tens of thousands of them in Oz. They should have sold that here. It looks like a 7/8 scale '95 Hyundai Accent sedan with fewer straight lines, if you can imagine that. It's CUTE. Give me that with a 1000cc engine, CVT automatic, AC, manual steering, power brakes, and I'll see 60+mpg out of it no problem.
The 121 was a great car and helped Mazda's reputation here no small amount.
There are still some getting around and they were generally known as "Jellybeans" even by Mazda dealers although the official distributors never called them that.

Pete.
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Old 03-16-2009, 08:14 PM   #10
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The Messerchmitt Kabinroller may be an option as a commuter vehicle.
Quite a good design if a little quirky with the lift up roof and fighter plane controls.
Our neighbour had one some years ago.

True story:

Many years ago one of our neighbours had a Messerschmitt Kabinroller.

Not known for being man happy to open his wallet he bought this thing from a car yard who got stuck with it as a trade and really just wanted to see it off the lot.

Needless to say he thought he found a bargain and was even more convinced when the local laws said he could drive it on a car licence thus saving the cost of another licence.

To hold the newly acquired pride and joy he scrounged a wooden crate from the local truck dealership and a very used tarpaulin from the same place.
He sat the crate next to the garage , covered it with the tarp and was duly satisfied with the arrangement as he had previously measured the Kabinroller and found he had about two feet either side and about three feet at one end.

Perfect.

The big day finally arrived and he and his wife set off in their daily transport (a Morris of unknown and doubtful parentage ) to bring home the new means of transport.

Some time later he drove down the street with all the neighbours curious to see what this thing he had been rattling on about for some time actually was.

The wife parks the Morris in the garage and heads into the house.
The husband following behind enters the attached wooden crate covered by the very used tarpaulin which makes up the garage for the new machine.

Some time later the wife still has not seen the husband but thinks he is still outside talking to the neighbours about the new transport so is not concerned.

Mealtime arrives and the husband is nowhere in sight and the wife goes outside to check.

She finds the husband stuck in the Kabinroller inside the wooden crate.

There was space around the thing but not above and the Kabinroller has a lift up plastic canopy.
It did lift up but only about four inches before it was stopped by the top of the wooden crate.
Being motorcycle based it also had no reverse gear so he was well and truly stuck.

The wife came across the road to our house to get some help pushing this thing (and the embarrassed owner) back onto the driveway.

We would have pushed it out sooner but we fell about in fits of laughter unable to control ourselves long enough to render any useful assistance.
Needless to say the poor husband never lived in peace of the event from that day onwards.

Pete.
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