Wednesday, March 26, 2008

It's a Lifestyle

My inspiration for today's post comes from two very important aspects, each of which carries its own importance in the grand scheme of auto manufacturing, but when one is minimized while the other is increased simultaneously, the results can be staggering: weight and power.

In an earlier conversation that Jay, Dave and I had in regards to the powerplant for our first prototype, as always the topic of power came up. Because of numerous parameters we have to work under (Federalization requirements, cost, drivability, packaging etc.) we simply can't make the car as light as a feather, and have the power to move mountains (although we'd love that) and meet all of these goals. Therefore, we are constantly assessing our options and being very careful to make sure we will have the right balance to meet all of our goals, mainly those of performance.

The quest for lightweight and power is not just a design goal, but a lifestyle for the crew here at Local Motors and Factory Five. Our ideal goal would be to drive the weight down to almost nothing and push the power through the roof, resulting in something like the 1300cc Hyabusa powered go-kart seen in this video if we could and still meet every design goal/regulation!

Did you see how the engine just whips the kart in the other direction when he gasses it at the end of the straight-away?! With that kind of power, who needs steering?! Absolutely amazing.

Just to give you a frame of reference, the normal 125 cc shifter kart like those at the Bondurant School of High Performance Driving will go 0-100mph in about 6 seconds - one of the fastest and most exciting things you'll ever drive, so just imagine how quickly he's accelerating and what his top speed must be in that beast! It's no wonder shifter karts are what F1 drivers learn on from a young age and can still drive once they've experienced an F1 car and still be challenged!

Coincidentally, now that the weather is getting warmer out here in New England, we decided to take our shifter carts out and lay some rubber down on the pavement! If you're in the area and you feel like taking a shot at the title, stop by!

Here are some pictures...

Don't worry, that is an empty gas tank Josh is passing, serving as a replacement for a cone!


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