When it comes to damaging the environment, vehicle length is not the issue. Width is. Streamlined, lightweight vehicles like the so-called Space Efficient Vehicle (SEV) that you see presented here, will dramatically reduce fuel consumption and emission levels.
Most governments expect a further increase of personal mobility. Cars seem bigger each year, and 'big' has a tendency to ruin a car's fuel economy. Rising fuel demand causes fuel prices to rise even more. The growing number of cars showing signs of becoming seriously obese, tend to clog up 'arteries,' or the infrastructure.
Building new roads is expensive, sometimes even impossible because of the limited amount of space. Most governments have committed to reducing CO2 and the use of fossil fuels. Many are planning to introduce some sort of road pricing. Demographics are constantly changing. Particularly in densely populated urban areas the average household becomes smaller. 90-95% of the people normally drive alone anyway, particularly when commuting or running errands.
So, why don't we slim down our mode of transport? Here lies a great opportunity for governments and tax payers/car drivers to save billions and for the industry to make billions.
Governments will be able to utilize present freeways and parking facilities far more efficiently. 'Lightweight' allows for lean, sustainable manufacturing, and may contribute to substantially raising a manufacturer's profit margins and improve his overall mpg and emission profile.
The SEV concept that many car enthusiasts perceive as a next-generation (BMW) Isetta, Heinkel or Messerschmitt , is catering to a whole new market that has not been catered yet. The SEV combines striking good looks, substantial savings, an eco-friendly lifestyle and personal mobility. What about 70-105 mpg with a small conventional gasoline engine? All electric would be possible too. It is easy to see why the three-seat SEV would be more practical, safer and more comfortable than the Smart ForTwo. Probably cheaper to manufacture as well.
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By: Ralph Panhuyzen - Published: May 6, 2008 • References: michelinchallengedesign