Rod Kuhn's FF Idea

Rod Kuhn's idea for a fully enclosed FF, as discussed on the FF list in January 2013. Rod is looking for constructive comments. PNB

Rod Kuhn's FF Idea

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Ian's picture

Is this for real?

1. Why do you feel the need to design an enclosed vehicle?

2. As usual with cabin bikes the headroom looks EXTREMELY limited for anyone who is a fraction of an inch taller than the outline proposed - you need a lot more space to get in and be comfortable. But the passenger looks to have enough legroom but how will they get out of the burning vehicle that the driver just crashed and is unconscious? Get sensible headroom for real people and you'll end up with the BMW C1 top heavy silliness.

3. What is the system for demisting and cooling the cabin and how is it packaged? With two occupants on a hot day in California or two damp people getting into it in a wet winter in the UK the enclosed space could become unbearable or impossible to see out of.

4. Looks very 80's. Reminds me of the Citroen Eco2000.

5. What is the motive power? EV? What range? ICE? Where does the engine go?

constructive comments

It seems entirely rational to me to propose a competitor for the Eco/Monotracer product line. Two just performed outstandingly in the economy X-prize, it's clearly a vehicle that can be improved and the manufacturers seems to have no interest in series production.

This is the 'premium' option for an FF, offering the best cockpit environment, safety and marketability. It also offers the greatest challenges to design if excessive wieght, size, cost and ergonomic issues are to be avoided. Ian's comments regarding heating/de-misting, access, crash performance etc. are entirely valid and must be addressed by good design.

As the vehicle will be judged against the Eco/Mono line it is worth looking at the deficiencies of those vehicles.

1. They are primitive in automotive design terms. Current automotive design, proper front suspension, offer improvements in weight and performance.

2. They are too big and heavy for key PTWs qualities, agility, traffic penetration. Serious effort should be direrected towards packaging and weight improvement.

3. The outrigger sytstem is outrageously crude, requiring training for new users. An easy, safe and intuitive system is essential in a production FF.

4. The aerodynamics of full enclosure are challenging and not fully addressed by Eco/Mono. "Better than a motorcycle" does not mean "Good enough". Further detail research is needed.

5. Eco/Mono's are very expensive, marketed like 'Supercars' A alternative should be much cheaper - or much better. Both would be nice, but implies Big design costs.

Dealing with these issues all imply a high level of design input and as always the best way is to look at what others have done in the field. I strongly recomend building a dynamic 'mule' before finalising design. The vehicle must work properly and the high level of integration needed in the design will make major changes difficult by the development stage.

It'll probably cost you more to do this than buy a Monotracer outright. Think of that as an incentive to do better. Good luck!

Headroom Inconsistency, side-on vs head-on

As Ian has remarked, the driver in the main side-on diagram does not have enough headroom. However, the driver in the head-on diagram seems to have a ludicrous abundance - at least a foot. So is the driver in the head-on diagram a young child?! PNB

Ian's picture


Paul, I think the head-on view shows the seat and not the pilot.

Royce is entirely correct in that the Monotracer has done well in competition, but I would suspect that most people do not ride long distances at speed which gives slippery aeros the winning edge, but they commute around or into and out of congested areas.

It is that 'normal' use (and I note that this has been called an 'Urban Transit Vehicle') that I question the need for an enclosed vehicle. The additional structure, the inherent problems of making it usable and safe, the complications of outriggers et al mean that every step of the project will be fraught with issues.

But I look forward to seeing the prototype managing to overcome all that and being passed on my Voyager by a UTS hacking through the traffic.