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Moving toward a transportation system that fuels healthy people and a healthy planet.

Now Is the Time to Solve Our Problems … While There Is Power in the Grid and Fuel at the Pump

By Craig Vetter

Tags: Fuel economy, living within our means, Craig Vetter, , Craig Vetter,

 6 title 

I am an American designer and inventor. I love our country and want to do my part to help us stay strong and free. I am here to encourage you to do the same.

6 franklin quote 

This was good advice then. It is good advice now. Especially when 3 out of 4 gallons of fuel we use for transportation is imported. Living beyond our means is making us poor and them rich.

I have suggested a variation of Mr. Franklin’s advice:

“To live better on less energy”  

Living better on less energy? These two words don’t seem to go together, Craig. Can it be done?

The answer is “Yes.” Take a look at my current project:

  6 helix and streamliner 

Honda Scooter                                                               Vetter Streamlining 

The goal is to live better on less energy. The way Honda made this machine, it would go 70 mph and burn fuel at the rate of 52 mpg. Modified with real streamlining (round at the front, pointed at the tail) it will now go 82 mph and burn fuel at the rate of 80 mpg. You wouldn’t think this could be true… it looks so much bigger. But it is true. It also carries four bags of groceries, something no other 2 wheeler does. I really like riding this thing. It is a perfect example of living better on less energy.

The techniques shown here can be applied to any vehicle… cars, busses, trucks. You can do this. Follow the progress on: 

Now is the time to be learning how to live better on less energy, while it is still cheap and abundant. Don’t want to wait until it is all gone to begin.

People today seem to lack a sense of “greater purpose”. Could “living better with less energy” bring a new hope for the future?

 6 goals 

1: To continue to work on my streamliner.

2: To turn it into a kit that you can make at home

3: To convince you of the importance of living within our means

4: To organize challenges where you can meet and compete with others

5: To ignite a sense of noble purpose in you, if you don’t have one already

And… to post responses more consistently, like every weekend. Your role is to tell me what you are thinking.  

Now is the time to be solving our problems… while there is power in the grid and fuel at the pump.

 6 sig 

frank lee
5/21/2011 12:22:42 AM

Now THIS is what I'm talking about! Thank you Craig for your inspiring competition; may it lead to great things.

sean wenger
1/10/2011 2:17:32 AM

Hey Craig, You mean this guy: "Sam Whittingham defends 82 mph world record for fastest human powered bicycle"? I concur with your analysis. His vehicle is impractical and perhaps dangerous (too low) for a daily commute on the highway. However, it does set an upper bar for what a human is capable of. I see better, not as going faster, but more comfortably. Also, the method they use to cut through the air is called laminar flow (probably spelled it wrong). It is dependent on some very ideal conditions. I'm using a completely different approach to aim at a much lower goal 100 km/h (62 MPH). Basically I’m trying to get extended range out of a battery dependent system. My thought was if I take more frontal area (vehicle height) and more weight (batteries and motor) is there a way to maintain speed using my body, and having the electrical system engaged minimally? That is where you all taught me that there may be a better way to approach the problem. What if the electrical system processed the air the vehicle was attempting to push through? Would it be enough to tip the scale in my favor at higher speeds? Perhaps you are correct about all of this. But I'm not willing to die in an armchair years from now wondering "what if?" Thank you for your genuine concern and design experience. You are right; there is not enough room to put everything in these boxes. Have you considered Golf ball aerodynamics? CM

craig vetter
1/9/2011 2:57:17 PM

Crimson: Please keep in mind that it is all about power. How fast can you make a vehicle go? If you are an animal, like Sam Worthington,you can go 82 mpg briefly. If you make yourself real tiny... real hot and sweaty... real uncomfortable like Sam you can do 54 mph for an hour. Are you gonna go to work in those conditions? Besides,in a tiny vehicle like that you are very likely to be run over and squished by somebody in a car or truck. You gotta be bigger to be seen so you can stay alive. You need more power, too. I don't think you or I or almost anybody has what it takes to go highway speeds for any useful time. In my contests of the 1980s, we discovered you needed about 3 hp - and that was in an era when highway speeds were 55 mph.

sean wenger
1/8/2011 9:14:53 PM

Hello Craig, First let me thank you for "throwing down the gauntlet" and challenging us to think critically about these important issues. I have learned of many things that are allowing me to re-think some of my designs. The reason I have is because of the answers to your questions posted here. While they may not directly solve a design issue, they do provide hints that lead down new paths as I think outside the box. So, thank you also for those of you creative enough to do, and then post your experiences. I have ordered the Recumbent Conversion Kit and also devised a system (utilizing a compressor and turbine) that should allow my Highway project bicycle to eat a hole in the air it is passing through and fill it in behind the vehicle. This is an attempt to reduce frontal area and drag without actually changing the vehicles dimensions. Theoretically I should be able to pedal the thing very fast, using a little electrical assistance in the aerodynamics dept. Will I get Highway speeds? TBD. Thank you All. Crimson Mavrick