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Car To Solve US Energy Problems
Old 05-27-2009, 09:28 PM   #1
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Car To Solve US Energy Problems

There have been many discussions here on this board about cars. It shows that Americans are passionate about automobiles. So, I have to join the fray and show you a car that will solve all our energy problems.

The puzzle I am posing is this: what is this car?

Hint: I took this picture on a European trip.

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Old 05-27-2009, 09:29 PM   #2
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How hard is it to pedal?
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Old 05-27-2009, 09:44 PM   #3
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How hard is it to pedal?
Pedal? This thing is Flintstone powered. Yabba dabba doo!!

Is it a golf cart?
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Old 05-27-2009, 09:45 PM   #4
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It looks like one of those vehicles one can legally drive without a driver's license. Several European manufacturers make these, including Aixam, Microcar, JDM and Ligier.

Technically, it is not a "car", which would require a license to operate, but rather it's a "motorized quadricyle". In other words, it's a riding lawnmower with a cabin and no blade.
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Old 05-27-2009, 09:50 PM   #5
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Heh heh heh...

Candidates must supply Web link(s) to substantiate their answers, else the replies would have to be disqualified.
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Old 05-27-2009, 10:36 PM   #6
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There it is: meet the Canta LX...

Canta LX, a minicar on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Transeum » Micro Car


Hum, yummy... It cruises at speeds up to 28 mph and costs between 11,500 and 17,000 euros!!!
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Old 05-27-2009, 10:47 PM   #7
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We have a winner!

Yes, it is the Canta produced by hand in the Netherlands by a local company. It is for use only by handicapped people, and propelled by a 160cc engine (10 cubic in).

The world’s smallest car? Meet the “Canta” | Amsterdam Travel Guide

Here's the Web site of the car maker (not in English though)

Waaijenberg mobiliteit
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Old 05-27-2009, 10:51 PM   #8
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If I may quote the caption under the photo in my first link:

Quote:
These minicars, top speed 45 km/h, can be driven without a driver's license. Originally meant for the elderly, handicapped or those who for some reason are unable to pass their driving test, they are increasingly thought to be "cool" and driven by 16yr olds.
Can you imagine a 16 year old American kid pulling in the parking lot of his high school in one of those?
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Old 05-27-2009, 10:51 PM   #9
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I snapped this picture while wandering through the suburb, about 10 km south of Amsterdam, looking for an old church described in a guidebook. The driver was driving on the bicycle path, and was a bit lost. Hence I was able to pull out my camera while he (or she) was looking for the path continuation. I am not sure if it can be driven on the surface road or must be restricted to bike paths. Later, I saw one parked on the sidewalk.

Returning to the US, I had to satisfy my curiosity to look for info on this car.
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Old 05-27-2009, 10:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FIREdreamer View Post
If I may quote the caption under the photo in my first link:

Can you imagine a 16 year old American kid pulling in the parking lot of his high school in one of those?
The shockwaves from the tremendous roar of laughter would knock the kid and his minicar off the property...

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Old 05-27-2009, 10:58 PM   #11
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Can you imagine a 16 year old American kid pulling in the parking lot of his high school in one of those?
Forget about 16-yr olds! I want one of these to tour European cities in, but I would need a luggage rack.

You know how hard it is to find parking places in the cities. Yet, these can be parked on sidewalks. Well, at least in Amsterdam anyway. Even if you have to share the "road" with bicyclists, heck, it still beats walking.

I suspect it would not be long before they pass laws to crack down on this.
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Old 05-27-2009, 11:02 PM   #12
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I am not sure if it can be driven on the surface road or must be restricted to bike paths. Later, I saw one parked on the sidewalk.
These cars can legally be driven on any surface road, except highways, by anyone over the age of 16 with or without a driver's license. Being stuck behind one of those micro cars is a nightmare... Now yours truly managed to get stuck behind one going up a mountain road with a 10 mile long no-passing zone. It took a lot of self control not to mow it over...
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Old 05-28-2009, 06:35 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NW-Bound View Post
We have a winner!

Yes, it is the Canta produced by hand in the Netherlands by a local company. It is for use only by handicapped people, and propelled by a 160cc engine (10 cubic in).

The world’s smallest car? Meet the “Canta” | Amsterdam Travel Guide

Here's the Web site of the car maker (not in English though)

Waaijenberg mobiliteit
My lawnmower has a larger engine.
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Old 05-28-2009, 09:25 AM   #14
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Can you imagine a 16 year old American kid pulling in the parking lot of his high school in one of those?
At my high school, sure! Extra cool points if it was a hybrid or electric car, and bonus extra cool points if it is covered in solar panels with an on board inverter and charging management system. And triple those cool points if you upgraded it yourself. But for 17,000 euros??!! I think a 3 year old BMW might impress da ladies a bit more...
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Old 05-28-2009, 09:31 AM   #15
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I'd love to have a small, cheap electric vehicle to use in running errands around town. We can get anywhere in town by staying on streets posted for 35 MPH or less. The problem is that once you add all the safety features required to make them street legal, you're looking at the price of a conventional small gas-powered car.
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Old 05-28-2009, 10:36 AM   #16
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Much more practical and roomy than this. Of course who said cars should be practical:

Smallest Car In The World
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Old 05-28-2009, 10:53 AM   #17
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I'd love to have a small, cheap electric vehicle to use in running errands around town. We can get anywhere in town by staying on streets posted for 35 MPH or less. The problem is that once you add all the safety features required to make them street legal, you're looking at the price of a conventional small gas-powered car.
I am tempted by the idea of an electric bicycle for this task. I saw one at walmart.com for $250 IIRC that actually got decent reviews from bike enthusiasts (given the price). 12-18 mile range (the higher range in flat areas with the rider pedaling too). Top speeds around 20 mph. Only problem was the whole bike with batteries weighed 75 lbs so if you run out of juice, it would be a beast to pedal that thing uphill.

You would think there would be a market for something like an electric bike that may weigh up to twice as much (~100-150 lbs), have 3-4 wheels and be set up more like a recumbent with a more comfortable seat and more battery capacity. More efficient batteries would further reduce the weight. Let's say double the price of the walmart bike, or $500. Not too bad a price for an entry level around town cruiser.
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Old 05-28-2009, 11:11 AM   #18
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When I was living in Europe during my younger years, I used to have a moped, not unlike the one pictured below:

http://servimg.marche.fr/photo/big/4.../9884361_1.jpg

It was great for running errands around town. It could easily climb hills under its own power (although I probably weighted 100 lbs or less at the time), and it was fast enough to be used on all roads except highways.

A friend of mine had one of the iconic "solex" bikes:

http://pagesperso-orange.fr/cyclo60/...x-impex.-2.jpg

It's basically a bike with a small engine mounted on the front tire. Not very powerful, and you might have to pedal going up small hills, but great for urban environments in general.
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Old 05-28-2009, 12:58 PM   #19
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These cars can legally be driven on any surface road, except highways, by anyone over the age of 16 with or without a driver's license.

The reason I thought that this car was restricted to bike paths in Amsterdam was that as I watched, the driver drove away staying on the bike path all the way. Note that it is a Dutch policy to encourage biking, hence the bike paths are often two-lane and wide enough for passing. See another picture that I took below.






Quote:
Originally Posted by FIREdreamer View Post
Being stuck behind one of those micro cars is a nightmare... Now yours truly managed to get stuck behind one going up a mountain road with a 10 mile long no-passing zone. It took a lot of self control not to mow it over...

Ya think I could mow over a Canta with this rental car I rented?

The picture below was of a Citroën C1 (5-door version), taken at de Gaulle Airport. I rented it to tour the Loire Valley. It has been the only trip that I drove, preferring to use public transportations as much as possible. This car had a 1-liter engine (60 cu.in.), and averaged 48 mi/gallon on my trip. This was a good thing, because at $US 8/gallon, the fill-ups hurt like the Dickens.







The car was small, even by European standards. We fit snugly in it, because we were (and still are) skinny people (by US standard). At 60mph on the freeway, it felt comfortable. I once pushed it to 90mph, but a gust of wind might blow it out of the lane! There were no huge SUVs around me, so I never felt threatened. I suspect this car is still bigger than a SmartCar. I just looked up the 2009 price. It's 9,300 Euro. I would not hesitate to rent it again. Parking in the cities and navigating the French coutry roads were a blast, though I usually pulled over whenever possible to let other pass.



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