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Old 08-12-2008, 04:42 PM
 
28,790 posts, read 45,556,098 times
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I keep thinking about this.

Since we seem to be heading towards electric for vehicles, will it possible to set up electromagnetic induction under the surface of a highway and power the motors using it?

Wouldn't that be cool?
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Old 08-12-2008, 05:31 PM
 
22,360 posts, read 65,775,507 times
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Possible in theory. Expensive in practice (lots of metal and induction losses). For more years than I care to admit, I've promoted the idea of a different type of vehicle.

Core concept:
Standardized modular vehicle for most commuter and local shopping use, which is typically one person per car and some cargo. Individually owned cabin/cockpit module is removable and plugs into the corporate owned standard motive unit. Cabin seats one driver, space in back for either second person or cargo. A longer version is used for large families and some delivery vehicles. Width of vehicle no more than five feet, with a 36" distance between metal wheel for traveling on tracks, wider distance and larger tires for driving on roads. Undercarriage motive unit is also modular - with two electric motors, battery, a small 5hp IC motor and drivetrain for emergency less than 35mph driving and recharge of batteries, pick-ups for electric power (similar to trolley pickups) for use when on guideway or major roads. Bad or worn motive units can be hot swapped in less than five minutes for repair at a major shop.

Guideways to major cities go at 50 mph all the time - no exceptions. (The speed limits urban sprawl) Each undercarriage is electronically scanned and verified before being allowed on the guideway. No steering on guideway, punch in the destination and it takes you to a parking lot exit at the destination.

Commuter putts to local guideway entrance, gets on guideway, reads paper etc. on way to work, gets shunted off guideway at work, parks in special lots and goes to work.

The vehicle is less than 1/2 the width of current roadways, allowing a single HOV lane to be turned into two guideways with a minimum of four times the capacity due to standardized speed. No accidents on the guideways because of flanged wheels, no steering, preset speeds and verification of mechanical integrity of the undercarriage. Power comes from the roadway - no local pollution.

Crosscountry trips can simply drop the motive unit and load the cabins onto a train or ferry and get new motive units at the destination. Rural driving is via a motive unit with a conventional IC engine.

By standardizing the motive unit and having major repair centers, the cost of them is reduced, people can customize their cabins to personal taste without being allowed to make modifications to the drive system that can be a danger to other drivers.

There is a lot more detail, but that is the basic idea.
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Old 08-12-2008, 07:57 PM
 
28,790 posts, read 45,556,098 times
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I like to sit next to my wife in a car. Your idea will be a flop with me. I like everything except forcing her into a back seat.
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Old 08-12-2008, 08:51 PM
 
Location: Not far from Fairbanks, AK
19,648 posts, read 34,672,794 times
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Well, the idea is good, and it's already being used in some new homes. For example, if you look at the power cord on the side os a Macbook computer, you will notice that this plug has no prongs on it, except for the end connected to the outlet. The one connected to the computer is being magnetically held in place, so if you trip on the cord you don't knock the computer off the desk or table.

Another example: the charger used in a Sonicare electric toothbrush. All you do is to place the brush's handle in the cradle (charger), and the battery in the handle is charged without any connection between the charger and the battery. Some new stoves use this sort of technology. For using on the road it would be prohibitively expensive, however.
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Old 08-12-2008, 10:17 PM
 
28,790 posts, read 45,556,098 times
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But would it need to be a constant "belt" all the way down the road? If you zapped the battery in a car every mile or so would it be possible to give enough of a boost to keep it going? Assuming it is charged fully before you leave your house.
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Old 08-13-2008, 12:02 AM
 
22,360 posts, read 65,775,507 times
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What, you don't want your wife in the back seat? Bet I could sell the idea in the middle east. Seriously, most commuters are single occupants, and a commuter car that primarily is designed to seat one is a no-brainer. If you wanted to have your wife sit beside you, a second car is a possibility. Remember that most state laws now forbid kids riding up front anyway.

Induction falls off as an inverse square to the distance. Good induction has to be pretty darn close, and at X mph, that can be problematic.

As for the amount of power required, consider that the average lead acid car battery contains only about the energy equivalent to a half cup of gasoline. Lithium are more energy dense, but the problem is still there. You need a fairly constant input of external power for such a system to be effective.
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Old 08-13-2008, 10:56 AM
 
28,790 posts, read 45,556,098 times
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Good point about commuters. If I stop and think about the majority of my driving: I'm alone. I run all over town fixing computers so your concept (as long as it has room for PC's and equipment) would work for me. We've always had two cars so the second one would be "our" ride.

The Saudi model could have a hood that drops down over the head in the back seat. That way if any snooty furrin women get in they have their face covered.
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Old 08-14-2008, 07:47 PM
 
Location: Texas
5,070 posts, read 9,790,962 times
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The technology for capacitors has been improving quite a bit. I think they'll be replacing our current batteries.
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