Heavy quad comeback?

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Clay
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Heavy quad comeback?

Post by Clay » Thu, 29 Nov 2007, 00:06

I remember reading with much interest the story of the indian-built REVA lightweight electric vehicle. It had support federally from the Labor party when the Libs scrapped the idea of a Heavy Quadricycle category for road cars.

I wonder if the new regime will change this ruling now they are in power?

Any thoughts?

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Thalass
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Heavy quad comeback?

Post by Thalass » Fri, 30 Nov 2007, 03:38

From what I can tell, the "heavy quadricycle" road registered vehicle combines the worst of both worlds: You're exposed to the elements and impacts like a motorbike, but you're too big to weave around and through traffic like a bike...

But I don't know, something new would be interesting at least.
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Clay
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Heavy quad comeback?

Post by Clay » Fri, 30 Nov 2007, 17:46

It depends on what type of vehicle you drive. I've seen footage of the REVA in a UK 30mph crash test and it is seriously scary. However if you look at the racing 'Aussie Racing Cars' - motorcycle engined replicas of V8 Supercars, these weigh about the same as the REVA, go a hell of a lot faster, and have survived horrible crashes.

If a HQ was built to racing standards, it could still be light enough to fit the HQ rules, be powered by electric motor/s, and would be safe.

At least this would be a 'starting point' for locally built electric vehicles. I imagine a car sized on the original mini, with a steel spaceframe (rollcage basically) and GRP bodywork. Weighing 350kg with a motor with continuous 15kW (peak figure???) it would work pretty well.

At least that's what I reckon...

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Thalass
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Heavy quad comeback?

Post by Thalass » Sat, 01 Dec 2007, 18:40

hrm... That's a point. When they say "quadricycle" do they mean like a four-wheeled bike? Or just a small four wheeled vehicle? Would they allow an open-wheeled buggy-like thing with one seat and a rollcage to register as that?

Man... that'd be nifteh.
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Clay
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Heavy quad comeback?

Post by Clay » Sat, 01 Dec 2007, 21:04

No, these things are not motorcycle quads, instead lightweight cars, weighing between 350-450kg empty. Google 'heavy quadricycle' and you should find the rules on a UK or European site.

Basically they are city cars which could be all electric. The REVA is one of these, called the g-Whiz in the UK. The SA guy who wanted to sell them in oz reckoned he would sell them for $15k a pop. I reckon you could almost build a better one for that here in Perth.

Anyone interested?

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Thalass
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Heavy quad comeback?

Post by Thalass » Sun, 02 Dec 2007, 20:22

Interesting. The Reva crash tests aren't encouraging, but I would like to see the regs as to what one of these is defined as legally... (Though it seems we don't have the Quadricycle catagory)

Really, though, the Smart Car and other tiny little things are more or less a quadricycle.
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Heavy quad comeback?

Post by Clay » Mon, 03 Dec 2007, 17:12

The point is I guess is that Labor promised to endorse the HQ rules from the EU if they won office. They did, and I'm wondering if they will now legislate the category. If they do, then an opportunity exists for the development of an aussie made HQ, safer and better looking than the REVA.

The Smart is too expensive, the REVA is pretty dodgy from a safety standpoint, looking at the video, so a market might exist...

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Thalass
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Heavy quad comeback?

Post by Thalass » Mon, 03 Dec 2007, 17:39

It would definitely be a good starting point for a company. That, and scooters for neighbourhood driving. IIRC piaggo have added an electric scooter to their lineup.
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Heavy quad comeback?

Post by jpcw » Tue, 04 Dec 2007, 00:44

Thalass wrote: ... but I would like to see the regs as to what one of these is defined as legally... (Though it seems we don't have the Quadricycle catagory)

That’s the exact problem, we don't have a category so they fall in to no mans land.

Personally I'm inclined to think that an electric car should have to pass the same safety tests as any car of the same year. ie converted cars need to match the regs of the year they were originally made, new cars need to match current specs. What will kill the EV industry in Australia quicker than anything is if we have a couple of fatalities that would not have happened in a standard car.

Unfortunately the result of this is that cars like the REVA will need some design changes that they can get away without in other countries.
“The best way to predict the future is to invent it,” Alan Kay 1971

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Post by Clay » Tue, 04 Dec 2007, 07:33

I agree... to a point. In Japan they have had the 'Kei' class cars for years. They are 600cc or thereabouts mini-cars which have different safety standards simply because they are designed for inner city driving.

While I would not in any way advocate an unsafe car - which the REVA seems to be in comparison with 'normal' aussie cars - in order to minimise the cost of a car designed for speeds of 60km/h or thereabouts things like airbags etc which drive up the development cost of the car could be done away with.

Something with a decent structure (as i said, something motorsport based) can still be built strong and light. I keep harking back to the original mini, but there are plenty of fibreglass replicas of these around which would make an ideal starting point.

In the UK the HQ fatality rate is LOWER than that for normal cars. I guess people blind drunk can't go quick enough to kill themselves, which is different to climbing in the driver's seat of a falcon or commodore...

Front drive cars started from being adopted by small cars to being adopted as a mainstream layout for large cars. Why could the same not be true of electric vehicles? Use them as a 'proof of concept' and allow the technology to filter upwards to larger cars...

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Heavy quad comeback?

Post by jpcw » Wed, 05 Dec 2007, 02:45

I agree with you, some of the safety features won't be needed if your only doing 60km/h, we have done without airbags for a long time for example. However structurally the car has to stand up to at least a 120km/h crash (60km/h head on with another car doing 60km/h). Also you might not be doing over 60 but others around you might. One of the things the REVA's are good for is driving in cramped cities like London where everyone is going slow because they have no choice, in a city like Perth though it’s going to be a lot harder to deal with a car that can only do 60. That being said I guess a motor bike doesn’t deal with a 120km/h crash very well and we still drive them.. hmm I could probably be talked around to something like the REVA but I’d prefer something safer if possible.

We do however need someone to start the ball rolling, once we get one car selling then the other should start before too long. I would just love the first one to be and Australian car rather than an import, our car industry could really do with being the leaders for a change.
“The best way to predict the future is to invent it,” Alan Kay 1971

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