Last year I was invited on the spot to join Chris Paine at the September 2010 Opportunity Green Conference and gave a podium talk without any slides. Here is a recap:
Mainly, I told the true story that occurred while driving down from Simi Valley on the highway with the MonoTracer on that very morning. My wife was quietly sitting in the back of our little tandem seater and suddenly asked why we were still moving while everybody else was sitting in traffic? At that time, I was using the “MonoTracer-lane”, so I was lane splitting on the right side of the HOV lane. Watch a sample video here – MonoTracer lane splitting in SoCal:
I told her it’s because everybody is sitting in their cars alone and because a car occupies a whole lane, even if it’s just a little Smart. Or in fact a Prius, LEAF, whatever. Small cars or electric cars do not use less space in traffic nor do they punch a smaller hole in the air which would reduce their energy consumption. Nobody will drive closer to the back of a Smart just because it’s a shorter car. The Smart driver will leave an even bigger gap to the front because he does not have a crush zone on his car. Anyway, we continued for about a mile before she replied “hey, it’s really true, they are all in there just by themselves!”. The audience at Opportunity Green laughed. They wanted to hear more. There is no more. Why?
Because the story ends here. If we want to prevent the total collapse of private individual mobility in mega-clusters, we need to go a) electric AND b) single-track tandem seating like the MonoTracer or narrow cars like the Tango or Nissan Land Glider. We can reduce the amount of energy needed to a) produce these vehicles by a factor of up to 6 on average, counting all of the primary resources like electric energy and water used for instance in the production of aluminum, etc. (The MonoTracer uses ten times less total resources than a Prius, for instance.) and b) a tandem two-seater uses about 3 times less energy to run than a side-by-side two seater. Physics are cruel and the frontal area is multiplied with the drag coefficient and the amount of energy needed to move that vehicle at highway speed is exponential. Wanna save the planet? There is no alternative other than walking or mass transport to the MonoTracer solution. But even the famous Swiss Mass Transit System around Zurich uses on average more energy per passenger mile than the all electric MonoTracer…
Happy MonoTracering, Roger
How and Why Motorcycle Lane Splitting is Safe and Good – RideApart
Additional references: How and Why Motorcycle Lane Splitting is Safe and Good – RideApart, LaneShare.org, CalMSTA, CHP Lane Splitting, Lane Splitting wiki
This is a startling statement: ” Small cars or electric cars do not take up less space in traffic nor do they punch a smaller hole in the air which would reduce their energy consumption.”
Revolutionary thinking but so true!