iPhone On Wheels aka New iSetta

 Click on pictures and colored words for more perspective 

What if the car would be more cost- and time-efficient, less cumbersome, less self-serving, using less precious resources to begin with, and offering whole new selling points? Without falling back on the typical "been there, done that" small hatchback... Well, you enter that yet uncharted territory between car and motor scooter - an unexplored void, potentially a huge market. Let's do some out of the (car) box thinking, shall we? The 'New iSetta' you see depicted here sets out to outperform on the five major criteria:

1. Safety 
2. Energy efficiency (costs)
3. Comfort 
4. Functionality and Flexibility in today's traffic incl. 'driverless'
5. Freude am Fahren
6. Next-Generation approach

1. The traditional two-row seating layout forces automakers to use a box-type frame. A pod-like shape is inherently stronger than a box shape (reason why tunnels and airplanes are built cylindrical). The resulting 'Smart ForThreeseating layout (no shoulder to shoulder) ensures class-leading impact safety and 360° visibility. Enough margins to the side. Driver seated 'on the other side' (here's why) makes for a safer entry too. The tapered rear-end forms an additional safety feature in case of a rear-impact. Ever hit a traffic pole or tree? 

 2. Because of the intrinsically rigid shape, lighter materials can be used.Combined with the low drag body, this results in unparalleled energy efficiency, regardless the type of propulsion. As far as electric: a game-changing development would be to use the fast-charging batteries Stanford University (April 7th 2015) claims it is developing. Since Stanford's aluminum battery has a lower energy density than the lithium-ion type, it may benefit vehicles with a low dry weight (as opposed to Tesla's heavyweights). There is still a long way to go, so it seems.

 3. The unusual long wheelbase equals more ride comfort (no choppy ride like in similarly sized hatchbacks).

 4. The form-follows-function looks not only makes it standout at shows and in the media, autonomous drive 'comes natural' to a vehicle that's compact and sleek. Split-lane use in a brick-like formation will be a piece of cake for instance (see picture below). When the driver has a feel for a car's outer dimensions, as opposed to driving a big SUV, he/she will feel more at ease when the auto-pilot is switched on. There's less surface area, less risk to run into other road users, and vice versa. All in all the vehicle described here presents a better basis for self-driving than Google's robo car... Why not get it right the first time? 

 5. Want to enjoy the vehicle in 'manual mode'? Well, a long wheelbase, combined with a narrow track, forms the best excuse to have yourself a vehicle that banks during cornering (to offset the weight shift, counter lateral forces), which results in handling no other car has. It does make for this vehicle's most challenging engineering task: predictable, safe, fun cornering behavior. There are a couple of systems to choose from.

according to the inventor Louis Pasteur. Meaning: the prepared mind is ready to act on any situation that presents itself. I'd say: better get ready for a future in which governments aren't willing to subsidize low/zero emission cars as generously as they do now. You might call it Tesla's Achilles heel. If they do, it won't hurt the formula lightweight + sleek = energy-efficient + low to zero emission. If governments will cut back, this one will be prepared. **   Last but not least, youth lose interest in cars should bring the industry to rethink the 'auto-mobile' altogether.  ***  

Ralph Panhuyzen
++31 61 743 4661

PS: With car sales well over 80 million worldwide, convincing 1 out 0f 800 prospective buyers seems quite doable. Also think what this three-seater can do in a country known for its one-child family policy, the cramped infrastructure and poor air quality in cities and... the fastest growing car market (China). Now the Chinese love big cars. Might make New iSetta the one to have next to the 'big one'. With the Mini, BMW proved that small needn't be cheap. If it is distinctive enough, it may well be premium... Global auto-mobile 2.0? - read  *** 

 *  A preliminary assessment at Tata Steel came to a very conservative estimate of 1200-1400 lbs (approx. 550-650 kg) based on the use of (high-strength) steel. Use of other materials, such as aluminum, composites and thermoplastics, can further reduce the base weight.   
 **  Now it's emissions that determines fiscal policies all over the globe. Perhaps a car's (eco) footprint and size come next that (city) governments will focus on, in terms of road pricing, inner city access and granting parking permitsBelow: classic boxy space frame - not the best in terms of rigidity & lightweight 

Automotive experts already acknowledged the 'outside the car box' vehicle described/depicted here as a viable alternative, and doable to engineer. It received recognition by a distinguished jury at NAIAS. Auctor intellectualis (and IP holder) Ralph Panhuyzen was involved with the scientific study on car mobility (ISBN-13: 978-90-442-0015-7) in the Netherlands (one of the most densely populated countries in the world) which was held under the auspices of the NWO, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research. NB: this presentation is put together for assessment and publicity purposes only. Unauthorized use forbidden. The New Isetta aka Smart ForThree is not an open source project, and formally OHIM registered. If in doubt about the semantics of what is "authorized" (literally: of, by or from the author) and what is not (presenting or using what has been created by someone else as if it were yours) consult a legal expert. 

 ***  Global Auto-mobile 2.0 - Vision, Mission, Recipe 
Are (1) running a car company & car brand and (2) catering to people's personal mobility needs and preferences mutually inclusive? Or do they merely overlap to a certain degree? The first is about developing, manufacturing and selling successors to a car company's present models, hoping they will do better than the competition's - still a lot of wishful thinking & venturing involved. The second takes a fresh new approach to what (literally) 'moves' people, what motivates them. The established car brands have long been shielded from the "change or perish" rule. No longer. In a relatively short period of time we have seen electric propulsion hit it off, new manufacturing methods and new materials make their debut, new automakers enter the arena, fuel efficiency and emissions standards become more demanding, urbanization accelerate (requiring/challenging everyone to do more with less), connectivity technology open up new possibilities, and consumer preferences changing mainly under the influence of new and social media. In the author's opinion, any global brand or alliance may step up to the plate of marketing and selling new-generation 'personal transportation devices'. Perhaps even develop. Could be an electronics producer, a rental agency, a retail chain, an energy company, or a determined Silicon Valley-type visionary like Elon Musk. Who's next? Google? Apple? Not to worry. Could be quite interesting actually. It might mean that car companies can become facilitators, providers, partners as well, next to their traditional role as developers, makers and sellers of automobiles...


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