Comment on The Civic Went on an Diet

The Civic Went A Diet with a serious weight reduction

I think you can take off the back doors and replace them with lightweight panels.

This made me think, I wonder what would happen if you could buy a “barebones car”, like “barebones computer”? No interior, no heater or AC, then add components as you like. Kit built special purpose cars? If one person owns and drives a car, do they need all those seats? I wonder what the barest requirements are? How light could a frame and axles and wheels be, if they only carried what was needed? And were stronger and made light by design?

Half a century ago, my friend in college took a Porsche engine, doubled its horsepower, and put it in a beach buggy frame he welded himself. That thing could climb straight up a dune. That was where I learned to drive a stick shift, so for years I shifted fast at high rpm and never gave it a thought. Friends like that, who ask nothing for themselves, and help others, are rare. But we lost track and I wonder where he went.

The cost to carry all that weight, much that is not needed, gets burned up in fuel and wear on tires. What would happen if the whole world fleet of cars and trucks and vehicles was built for minimum weight and more strength, and not so much things that get sold to us in the package that we never or seldom or probably don’t need? Cut the weight, you need less power, less motor weight, less transmission size, less tires and axles. Interesting problem.

I wonder if anyone has offered a prize for a minimal, functional vehicle? It was fun watching this. But I would like to see someone go the whole way stripping down the weight. And also see what would be the lowest weight and best performance and lowest cost – starting from blank sheet of design paper (or computer design tools now).

Do you know that people on YouTube hardly talk to each other? It is hard to have a conversation, let alone anything serious where collaboration and sharing tools are needed. It is not really a global community, or a set of global communities – everyone helping each other. Showing videos of things is NOT the same efficiency as sharing tools, diagrams, plans, processes, software, data, models, and linking to all the needed parts and background. It is NOT hard to share globally, but few are doing it. And good ideas like, lets use less fuel in cars – kind of get pushed aside, because people do little bits and don’t work together. I think all those car races they keep everything secret to get advantage and “win”. But what if everyone was working on helping the human species do a better job for everyone? Not just a few individuals, but everyone?

If there were a contest, you could buy the heaviest and worst car to strip the most. Interesting problem. Too bad there is nowhere to donate money to buy cars to strip. You could take junked cars, with all their parts, not functional, but all that weight, strip and weight them. You could take cars that work, strip and weigh them, and test their performance and mileage. Are there schools that teach effective design? Or is everyone rewarded for putting the most parts on cars at the highest price?

Richard Collins, Director, The Internet Foundation

Richard K Collins

About: Richard K Collins

Director, The Internet Foundation Studying formation and optimized collaboration of global communities. Applying the Internet to solve global problems and build sustainable communities. Internet policies, standards and best practices.

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