Lots of the Auto X Prize design guidelines are worth continuing to follow as we develop our 100-mpg DIY car. If you scroll back to Update No. 19: A Roof Over our Heads, you'll see our first shot at compliance with the Auto X Prize’s no-roadsters rule. And if you scroll ahead a couple of posts from there, you'll find Update No. 21: New Motivation for an Enclosed Cabin, which pretty well speaks for itself.
I've driven a couple thousand miles with that “bikini top” and it's excellent for sun protection and decent for ordinary rain protection, but in serious rain, snow or slush storms, it's no great shakes. It didn't help streamlining either. The bikini top had five of the eight features we want in a top (it was cheap, it was light, it was simple, it was reliable, and it looked kinda cool), but it missed out on two biggies — weather protection and drag reduction, and it only gets a C- in the easy entry category.
I'm confident we can do better, and when I say “we”, I'm including you! If you'll go to the Kinetic Vehicles website and scroll down to the bottom of the page (look for “August 2009” subhead), you'll find some computer generated pix (side, front, top and rear) of the streamlined, aerodynamic body we're currently constructing, with front roll bar and split windshield added in. You have my enthusiastic permission to download those images and doodle up your own cabin ideas.
If you come up with something you think is worth sharing, follow the instructions on the Contact Us page to let me know. I'll write you back and we'll work out a way to transfer it. Use “MAX cabin kv” as your subject when you e-mail me. If you're a Rhino user (our software of choice for 3D imaging and CAM), let me know and I'll send you a Rhino file of MAX to work with. All I ask is you please don't send me any attachments — our system rejects anything with an unexpected attachment and I'll never see it. Actually, I'd rather not get any spam either, but I'm willing to risk it in the pursuit of a better roof.