Saturday, August 18, 2018

Three Wheel Death Trap

I've always liked cars.  Actually, I like anything with a motor - even riding lawnmowers.  The push mower you can keep and give to your teenage son or daughter, who clearly needs more exercise to remain a healthy and productive member of your family.

I saw this article on Rueters: Swiss Brothers Get Ready to Refloat the Bubble Car (August 16, 2018).  This might be a good idea in Switzerland, but not in the U.S.

From the article:
Today, two Swiss brothers are developing a new version of the two-seater, a full 56 years after BMW halted production of its famed BMW Isetta after churning out more than 160,000 vehicles.

Oliver and Merlin Ouboter have more than 7,200 orders for their Microlino, a modern version of the Isetta which swaps the old single-cylinder petrol engine for a 20 horsepower electric motor but keeps the famous front-opening door.

Gee, twenty whole horsepower.  Be still my beatin' heart.

The thing is going to retail at 12,000 Euros, which is about $13,700 in good old U.S. greenbacks.  That's a lot of long green for a glorified golf cart, which has a range of 75 miles and a top speed of 55 mph - downhill, with a jockey at the wheel and a 5 mph tailwind.

Still, the idea of using a golf cart to run to the liquor store or wherever is appealing.  Parking is easy, and I generally don't have passengers or pick up hitchhikers, although I might be persuaded... never mind all that.

Again, from the article:
“The average modern car is way too big for normal use,” said Oliver, the project’s 24-year-old operations chief [and resident idiot - MJ].
Tell that to the millions of people driving SUVs or pickup trucks in the US.  This is their primary vehicle, and one reason for the popularity of these gas-guzzling behemoths is safety.  The occupants of a Ford F-150 are much more likely to walk away from a T-Bone 'fender bender' than the driver of a Corvette or Ferrari and his red hot passenger.  Just sayin'.

If the manufacturers got the price of this eggshell down to four or five grand, people would buy it.  Particularly people who couldn't afford to spend $40,000 on a brand new pile of Tokyo Trash, complete with track me for my own safety electronics and a sound system that would blow the ears out of anyone foolish enough to turn it up to five.  And, seeing as how this Swedish miracle is environmentally friendly and green and renewable and all that guilt-ridding stuff, even the wealthy could buy one, drive it once a month, and feel real good about themselves.

Surely the good life has arrived, however briefly.

The old BMW with its memorable front door had a convertible top, and the reason for this is that if you were ever in a wreck, you couldn't get out of the thing - the front door being either jammed shut, or held shut by whatever you slammed into.  Physics being what they are, that hasn't changed much.

Another thing that hasn't changed much - well, actually it has changed.  It's gone up, and that's the number of traffic accidents.  About the time sales for this newest thing are actually taking off, some green genius will try making a left at a busy intersection when the traffic light turns from yellow to red, because all that oncoming traffic has to stop, right?  And at the same time, the driver of an SUV will once again offer us conclusive evidence that distracted driving is much more dangerous than inebriated driving will ever be by running the red light, obliterating the cute little green microcar, and turning the occupants into organ donors.

Such is the way of the world.

Since it has three wheels and is tiny, it's classed as a motorcycle or something.  Ergo, it's immune from US vehicular safety regulations.  I think licensing is also different, but I could be wrong.

So I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens, but knowing human nature the way I do, and if the number of idiots we all see on the road everyday is any indication of the average IQ of the adult in your local area, well... I'm sticking with my Honda Accord.


CWMartin said...

But think of all the wonderful memes that will be made of it!

Ed Bonderenka said...

Good analysis and writing.

Mad Jack said...

CW: Proving once again that there's some good in everything. I was thinking about all the lives that will be saved by organ donation, and stimulating the economy by the increase in waste management and parts salvage. But you have a good point!

Ed: Thanks.

Glen Filthie said...

Small cars are a means for a certain demographic to signal their virtue. I have a lot of champagne socialists in my family, and when greentards became cool they all sold off their SUV's and Caddies and bought chit boxes like the Focus, Prius, or other cute little pi** burners. I just laughed and they all got offended and started pressuring me to do the same. My response was that I drive a truck, I don't care how many Iraqies gotta die to run it, and I need it to drive into the forest to kill Bambi and all his delicious little woodland friends.

For some reason I don't get invited to family events anymore... :)

Bob G. said...

Mad jack:
---I look as "cars" like these as a form of "Automotive Darwinism".
(decreases the surplus population nicely)

The Isetta (Microlino) is not far removed from the UK Robin...a 3-wheeled disaster in it's own right.
Sure, they're novel, but the bloom comes off that rose all too soon...(and the fad fades).

And screw the green aspect...the only green I like with a car is the paint job...HUNTER GREEN (like Bullitt)

Wifey's car (2015 Impala) has more computing power than horsepower, and we're at the shallow end of that electronic infotainment pool.
There are car that put hers to shame with gizmos, gadgets and goof ball crap.
Maybe that's why I STILL got my '83 Firebird...not nearly as much "clutter" as what rolls off the lines today...and yes, a HELLUVA lot safer (Consumer Reports for that year gave it high grades for survivability)...I like's come to be a habit of mine.

And I'm STILL waiting for my FLYING car...or even MR. FUSION!

Excellent post (good call).
Roll safe out there.

Mad Jack said...

Glen: Big Mike has a Chrysler 300 and works with a large group of Lefties. When it was his turn to car pool for lunch, three of the passengers started to whine, but were silenced by another (Lefty). "Yes, it's big and uses a lot of gas, but just wait until you ride in it!"
"But the ecology! Global warming! The children!"
"Yeah, yeah, all that. Put a sock in it and ride in the car."

I heard there was this lengthy silence both in the car and when they finally got back to the office. Now they all enthusiastically pile into Big Mike's car for lunch.

Bob G: What really gets on my very last nerve is all the gadgets and crap they hang on a car. I got to thinking (dangerous, I know) and all I really want on my instrument panel are:

Oil Pressure
Engine Temperature (in degrees Fahrenheit)
Brake (idiot!) Light for the parking brake
Headlight Switch
Windshield Wipers
Turn Signal Lights

Necessities which used to be luxury items are:
Air Conditioning

Luxury items are a decent stereo and iPod hookup. I don't want cameras or anything else. I for certain sure do not want a car that slams on the brakes because some dildo is standing the middle of the road.

As with everything else, your mileage may vary.