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Improving functionality

Discussion in 'Future Cars' started by malcolm, Jun 29, 2008.

  1. malcolm

    malcolm Active Member

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    So often claims of innovation in the auto industry amount to nothing more than pointless gadgetry, e.g. rain-sensing windshield wipers - as if a driver is incapable of noticing rainfall and operating a simple switch!

    We're so used to silly features lists that it is difficult to come up with genuine benefits for the owner.

    So, let's assume future cars from Tesla are going to look good; let's assume that they will have the usual gadgets; let's forget about drivetrains.

    How will they be better? How will they be easier to use and to live with? How will they be more compelling?

    Feel free to list things which may be impossible for Tesla to achieve without major input from outside/ever.

    Here's my 2c:-

    The Self-cleaning car: windshield, windows and paintwork...

    http://www.pilkington.com/resources/activresdatasheet.pdf
    Scientists ponder self-cleaning bathroom. 23/01/2006. ABC News Online
     
  2. Cobos

    Cobos S60 owner since 2013

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    I like the ideas that Think has for their Ox, where the key is basically a USB-drive with all your personal preferences and your music and data. That actually sounds like a very useful feature if you take the time to set it up.

    That's the first I come up with off the top of my head.

    Cobos
     
  3. mt2

    mt2 Member

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    Something the the best EV prototypes are wearing this year is photovoltaic panels to operate the interior environment equipment (air conditioner,heat) even while the car is shut off. The idea is to get into a comfortable car even when it's been sitting in a parking lot in Phoenix Arizona all day.

    I think that's an absolute must-have for the idiots who take their dog to the grocery store with them (present company excluded, of course).
     
  4. malcolm

    malcolm Active Member

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    Th!nk-like telemetry.

    The Th!nk New City lets you text your car for the state of charge and the car is in contact with Th!nk in Norway who monitor the battery calender life etc.

    A future EV could be set to defrost on a cold morning via the key fob, without you having to unlock and sit in the car. Could turn on the AC remotely on a hot day as well.
     
  5. BBHighway

    BBHighway Member

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    The rain-sensing windshield wipers are a gimmick, but if the car could sense rain while sitting in the parking lot, (ie. at work), and put up the windows by itself, (and close the sunroof, if applicable), that would prevent a wet seat on the ride home.

    Probably not allowed, due to the danger of someone/pets getting stuck in the window.
     
  6. doug

    doug Administrator / Head Moderator

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    #6 doug, Jun 30, 2008
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2009
    With connectivity there is the possibility of some nice security features. (Just as long as only I have control of them and my right to privacy isn't violated.) You could track your car if it was stolen, or know if it's been broken into. With cameras an image could be sent to your phone. You could know who gave you that door dingie in the parking lot.
     
  7. malcolm

    malcolm Active Member

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    Many cars (including the Roadster) have automatic tire pressure sensing. Maybe DOT safety can allow automatic tire pressure control (with suitable backups and overrides).
     
  8. malcolm

    malcolm Active Member

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    Trunk 2 Trunk

    Accessories for supermarket shopping

    A set of suitable containers with carry handles which can stack straight into your domestic trunk freezer and which also fit neatly across the width/depth of the car's trunk.

    Maybe could be extended to fit shopping carts and a range of freezers, fridges and kitchen cupboards.

    No need for grocery bags, since the loose items in the shopping cart can be sorted into appropriate containers in the car's trunk.
     
  9. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    F1 had custom fit luggage.

    [​IMG]

    I like the idea of custom fit shopping containers.
    If you keep your frozen foods insulated better from store to freezer then less energy is needed to re-freeze it.
     

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  10. WarpedOne

    WarpedOne Supreme Premier

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    How much energy is used to design in produce custom fit shopping containers?
    Custom tooling, special design, special materials ... In the end you consume more.

    With every thing there are visible and hidden costs.
     
  11. Manntis

    Manntis Member

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    That's a snap. You can already get remote "command start" modules - just hook the signal wire into your HVAC circuit so, when activated, it powers up the HVAC. In winter you'd have your HVAC set to heat/defrost and in summer to AC, so all you need is for the fob to activate it.
     
  12. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    "

    The Th!nk New City lets you text your car for the state of charge and the car is in contact with Th!nk in Norway who monitor the battery calender life etc."

    I don't want any privaye company to know where I am. This is information that can be sold, stolen or taken by governmental bodies.

    If they just want the battery info OK, Just leave my trips to see the Giant Ball of string between me and my cat.
     
  13. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    I was surprised to find that cars like the Infiniti have auto (one flick of a switch) open and close windows. If you stick your arm into the opening and close the window it will apply a bit of pressure to the limb then reverse back open.

    Would probably crush your pet gerbil though.
     
  14. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    Off the top of my (tiny) head.

    Things that exist now in some form:

    Solar paint
    Solar glass
    Energy creating shock absorbers
    Smart cruise control
    keyless entry
    coloured tires
    no exterior rear view mirrors (drag) video cameras
    "quiet horn" for alerting pedestrians
    A second cup holder
    seat cooler
    48 volt standard
    VTG
    heads up display
    lojack


    Future tech:

    near zero rolling resistance tires (that stick like glue in the corners)
    auto drive option
    zero carbon footprint car
    park charging (no plugging)
    carbon dust-free braking pads
    eliminated air ducts for even better airflow
     
  15. tonybelding

    tonybelding Active Member

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    Most of the ideas brought out in this thread have been alien to me. I guess I'm an automotive throwback. . . I like the almost spartan purity of the Roadster. I see the lack of power steering and power-adjustable seats as a positive. I'm even ambivalent about power windows. (The base model Lotus Elise has manual windows to save weight.)

    If your electric motors in your power seats weigh five pounds, that's five pounds fewer batteries the car can carry.

    If we're going to get serious about efficiency, cars need to get lighter, and one way to make them lighter is by stripping out a lot of these frills. That doesn't merely improve the efficiency, but also improves all aspects of handling: acceleration, braking, cornering. I think that approach ought to remain in Tesla's brand DNA, even as they go into different market segments.
     
  16. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    #16 TEG, Jul 4, 2008
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2008
    I agree, Tony, but unfortunately many assume a $100K+ (or even $60K) car is expected to be packed with "bells and whistles".

    I see the Roadster frequently referred to as a "luxury car", so people expect luxury/comfort/gadget features, and in some cases are disappointed by their lack.

    Model S is expected to go "head to head" with cars like the BMW 5 series which comes standard with a lot of "creature comforts" and luxury features.

    The Elise basis for the Roadster is a bare-bones, spartan, purists sports car, so the Roadster ended up sharing some of that philosophy which isn't well suited to every type of potential customer. Over time, Tesla seems to have tried to add some more luxury and unfortunately more weight has come along with it.

    Just look at some of the "features" you can get on a 911 Turbo:
    911 Turbo Brochure

    ..."Adaptive Sports Seats. This seat option offers full electric adjustment of fore/aft position, seat height, backrest angle, lumbar support, seat side bolsters and backrest side bolsters. By varying the side bolsters, you can increase occupant comfort on longdistance journeys or maximize support on the racetrack. A driver memory function includes the exterior mirror position on the driver side and all driver seat settings, except for the bolster depth."...

    ..."“Welcome Home” lighting. This standard feature illuminates the fog lights and taillights for 30 seconds following the locking or unlocking of your 911 Turbo with the key remote. The duration is user-adjustable in vehicles equipped with the optional Sport Chrono Package Turbo."...

    ..."ParkAssist. This optional parking aid uses six ultrasonic sensors to monitor the distance to obstacles behind your car. Shift the car into reverse, and an audio signal increases in frequency as objects draw near, helping you safely back into tight spaces."...

    ..."Porsche CD changer. The optional Porsche CD changer holds up to six CDs for hours of uninterrupted listening pleasure. "...

    ..."The standard Bose Surround Sound system transforms the Sports Seats of your 911 Turbo into front-row concert seats.
    Created expressly for the car’s unique acoustics, this system offers amazing sound reproduction, regardless of driving conditions."...
    ..."A total of 13 individual speakers, enhanced by individual front and rear channels, creates a panorama of sound that duplicates the quality of live music. The system is powered by a seven-channel digital amplifier and active equalization that match the sound to the cabin’s acoustics. A fiber-optic network beneath the dashboard integrates 5x25-watt linear amps and a single 100-watt switching unit with sparkling signal quality, while a second switching amp in the active subwoofer offers an additional 100 watts of power."...

    ..."Porsche navigation. The 911 Turbo is famous for reducing travel times. With a DVD/GPS navigation system now standard, you may get there even more quickly."...

    ..."Porsche Communication Management (PCM), a standard feature of the 911 Turbo. The centerpiece of PCM is a highresolution color monitor that displays simple menus in plain language. A button array offers access to the standard Extended Navigation Module, Bose Surround Sound system, onboard computer and other PCM systems. PCM also provides central control for optional equipment, including a six-disc MP3-compatible CD changer, a telephone module and an electronic logbook."...

    For interior you can pick from multiple trim packages:
    Leather, Alcantara, Makassar wood, Sycamore wood, Carbon Fiber, Aluminum, Stainless Steel, ...

    Options include headlight washers, Wheels painted in exterior color, Aerokit, Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake (PCCB), etc.

    Those were just some highlights. My point is that the gap in available features is huge. I would bet Tesla gets requests for all sorts of things, some reasonable, and some excessive. They would have to make some hard choices on what is appropriate. Their status as a small manufacturer, and one that can't afford to take on the extra weight (since it could hurt their "oh so important" range & acceleration numbers) puts them at a disadvantage in this area.

    (That 911 Turbo makes 480hp / 460lb-ft so it can take on extra weight and still have similar 0-60 performance)
     
  17. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    By the way, most of those 911 turbo features are "excessive" in my book.

    The main differentiators to me would be:

    #1: Quality of the audio sound system.
    #2: Ease of use of the GPS/NAV system.
    #3: Comfort of the seats.

    Some people probably like the myriad of customization options you could get on the 911 turbo. Lots of material choices, and color schemes. For that kind of $ some people would want to have a car made that they are sure is unique. Their "al la carte" pricing on so many options could probably drive the price way up.
     
  18. Cobos

    Cobos S60 owner since 2013

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    They could perhaps limit costs by selling the Roadster or the Whitestar in a base version with very little options or a significantly more expensive delux version where they unlock all the options. That sort of caters to both variants. When you look at a BMW 5-series they manage very good handling and good acceleration even with the myriad of luxury features. And for a luxury sedan they NEED those extra features. In many ways the Roadster is more of a pure sports car so it makes less sense to weigh it down with many more luxury features than they've got now.

    Cobos
     
  19. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    One trend in car dashboards is to have bigger and bigger touchscreen LCDs as the years progress. I sortof like the way Aptera has a tri-view (wide) camera view out the back as well as large system controls on one big primary LCD.
    071228aptera-5-interior.jpg

    Integration of StreetDeck with the Aptera Vehicle | streetdeck.com

    Nissan Skyline dashboard LCD:
    [​IMG]
     
  20. doug

    doug Administrator / Head Moderator

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    #20 doug, Jul 5, 2008
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2008
    Most of the extra features I'd like, really just depend on software and don't have to add much weight at all. Once you've integrated hardware like GPS, wi-fi, bluetooth, a cellular data connection like EvDO, and some solid state storage (all stuff that currently fits in my cell phone), there are ton of cool features one could think up.

    EDIT: Here's an example. GPS directly to an open parking space.
    Wireless parking sensors alert San Francisco drivers to open parking spaces
    [​IMG]
    Can’t Find a Parking Spot? Check Smartphone - NYTimes.com
     

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