Monday, February 27, 2012

Lighter Materials for Cars and Trucks Also Comes With Hazardous Safety Issues

One only has to take a look at the fuel prices these days to realize we need more fuel efficient cars in our own households. Indeed, I have one of those huge motor coaches and generally I use it so very little as opposed to previous years, strictly due to my adverse view on paying more at the pump. I guess in this case like many Americans I am voting with my dollar. High gasoline and diesel prices take a huge toll on our economy, so what's the solution?

Well, if you think hybrid vehicles is it, you'd be wrong, as those vehicles cost so much more due to the fact that they have dual systems, plus they are more complicated and often maintenance challenges too. Lighter materials seem to be one of the most obvious answers, lighter weight means less fuel to motivate down the highway. However, there are challenges too with all these new materials. For instance, many of the carbon composites give off toxic gases when they catch on fire, that's a scary thought - of course there are other challenges as well.

If the cars and trucks are too light, they will get blown around on the freeway and highway in strong winds, or have stability issues at higher speeds. For instance, consider a very lightweight car passing a truck which is blocking the wind, and all the suddenly now it is in the wind, or being blown by the wind which the truck was previously blocking.

What about trucks which are empty? Indeed, I live out in a desert area where it is quite windy, and often lightweight trucks which are empty get blown over on the freeway. I can recall a large truck full potato chips, it was a double, it blew over, and as a jackknifed it blocked all of the lanes of the freeway going one direction.

Now then, there may be a solution for that such as morphing boxes on the trailers. Let me explain how this might work; when the truck is empty the sides might fold into a triangle, or flat back onto themselves making the truck a flat bed, or even adjust to the side. For instance as an LTL - Less Than Load truck made its drop off they truck trailer body would adjust to the new shape based on the best possible aerodynamic shape to cover and haul the load inside. Indeed, I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.

Lance Winslow has launched a new provocative series of eBooks on Future Truck Tech. Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a Nationwide Franchise Chain, and now runs the Online Think Tank;

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