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Besides the issue of the cost of oil and the potential savings that a vehicle like the Volt could bring, it is time to think beyond.

What I would love for GM to consider is making a smaller lighter electric vehicle that could be used in an urban environment in a automated fashion. I invite you to look at proposed systems like PRTs (personal rapid transit).

The market potential is huge. A small, light weight vehicle that could operate on an automated track system for the bulk of its journey. Add the ability to disembark the 'track' and go the 'last mile' under driver control and you really have the best of both public and personal transportation. Individuals would be free to buy their own vehicles, while cities could supply public ones, to be paid for by a per/mile charge.

The ability to get power on route allows for much smaller batteries and eliminates the need for a range extending ICE. Municipalites would benefit by moving a large portion of public transportation capital cost (plus service and maintenance) of vehicles to individuals. It also might allow for automated parking.

In a nut shell, not only would such a vehicle be cheaper to produce (all electric 5 mile range?), it would be able to supplant public transportation as we know it today. Considering that Public transportation might not be as energy efficient as generally thought , this might be the most efficient, practical and acceptable way to travel.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_rapid_transit
http://faculty.washington.edu/jbs/itrans/prtquick.htm
http://faculty.washington.edu/jbs/itrans/debate.htm


That how I want to travel in the future!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Here is an example.......





NB ugliness is not a prerequisite! :)

I would also like to see the ability of cars to slipstream each other when on automated travel.
 

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The problem with this concept, and it's been around a while, is the infrastructure required to make it work. Think about it, we can't even manage to fix all the pot holes, rotten roads and bridges in the highways we have now, much less lay down millions of miles of power track, power lines and power plants that would be required to make this work.

GM can't do much about this. They can invent the system (much of which has already been done) and demonstrate it, but it's up to congress and the American people to decide if they want to pay for it. Not going to happen in an economic climate like this one. Automatic driving systems are coming one way or another and so it makes more sense to just put the effort into better battery or energy storage systems.
 

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The problem with this concept, and it's been around a while, is the infrastructure required to make it work. Think about it, we can't even manage to fix all the pot holes, rotten roads and bridges in the highways we have now, much less lay down millions of miles of power track, power lines and power plants that would be required to make this work.

GM can't do much about this. They can invent the system (much of which has already been done) and demonstrate it, but it's up to congress and the American people to decide if they want to pay for it. Not going to happen in an economic climate like this one. Automatic driving systems are coming one way or another and so it makes more sense to just put the effort into better battery or energy storage systems.

I don't know if that is really a problem. If it is feasible as a stand alone public system, which it looks like it is already, it might be worthwhile. Instead of a city building new subways or LRT lines they could build a system like this. It has the added benefit of being able to be supplemented by private individuals. If a standard could be produced to utilize the automated portions, car makers could produce cars that are "PRT ready" which might not add much to much to the price at all.

The idea is that even as a standalone system, with no private cars on it, it looks to be a better system of public transportation, in terms of service, cost and efficiency. The ability for private 'cars' to utilize it just adds to the benefits.


Here is a more recent look.
 

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GM, please make a car like those used in Minority Report. Thank you. I enclosed $5 to get the project started.




Sadly we don't do big projects anymore. Interstate system, Apollo, etc. We will have to wait for a real crisis situation. When we get to the OMG! What are we going to do?!! situation then we can get some very cool things built. Until then, don't hold your breath.
 

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GM Really needs to consider this

Keep the price affordable for the average Joe (or Josephine).
Every electric I've seen that looked stylish and larger than a bread box was outrageously expensive.
I saw the survey GM was conducting for those who hoped to test drive the Equinox Fuel Cell vehicle. The questions suggested that we would gladly pay much more for new technology, efficiency, etc.
True, we would save at the pump, but fuel prices are not considered on your credit report when purchasing a new car.
If it's priced out of reach, what's the point?
 
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