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10377Re: [future-fuels-and-vehicles] Re: Electric Smart Cars With NiMH Batteries

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  • Lee Dekker
    Dec 6, 2007
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      Ernie, if you're drafting my car at over 15 MPH with anything bigger than a bicycle, I'll just pull over and let you draft some other guy. But I do get your point.

      So although I don't draft anyone except my wife on her bicycle, I do annoy the hell out of people by coasting to red lights and stop signs. I try to get to the stoplight just a little after it turns green. By that time the stopped traffic has started to move and (if all goes well) I simply accelerate with traffic, never having had to come to a complete stop.

      Some drivers will become so aggravated with this that they will blast around me and power up to the stoplight where they inevitably have to cram on their brakes and then sit there and idle. Clever. When the light changes and traffic starts moving again they are forced to pick up their momentum from a full stop.

      Adding to their aggravation (I suspect), they have to watch me cruising past them because I never stopped rolling, and never give up my forward momentum. Too bad for them but all they need is to learn and apply some simple green driving habits. If they did, they would not only improve the driving experience for everyone else but they would also save themselves some $$$ and possibly eliminate some pent-up aggravation.

      Arcologic@... wrote: Lee said,

      One of the simplest things we could all do right now to improve driving
      safety and fuel consumption is simply to leave more space between us and the
      driver in front of us. Yes, some numb skull will inevitably zoom into that space
      in front of us. When that happens, we simply need to back off and create
      another space in front of us. This very simple driving mindset increases fuel
      efficiency and decreases stop and go driving while simultaneously improving
      safety for everyone. The substantial advantages of creating extra space between
      us and the car in front of us is well known but not fully understood by most
      drivers. And apparently government currently has no interest in explaining it.

      Yes! Timely comment. More space improves safety and saves a lot of fuel.
      There is a loss in carrying capacity beyond some particular spacing, but it
      always saves fuel at higher speeds, and that also means better air quality.
      At low speeds, tight spacing can be safe and save fuel by drafting.

      Murdoch said,

      However, I'm not familiar with any formal studies or articles or other
      discussions on the pros and cons of leaving a bit more space.

      There was an excellent paper maybe 30 years ago that treated propagation of
      waves and conditions for instability. (My guess is there are newer studies.)
      The author talked about braking waves. There was a problem at the time
      with frequent multiple-car collisions in a tunnel near Boston. For a given
      speed, as car spacing is reduced, the damping rate of braking waves declines and
      the frequency of hard braking increases. This is after all just common
      sense. We know that hard braking (no, not skidding, just firm use) at a rate of
      once a mile can reduce fuel economy by about 30%. The mathematician showed
      that when the spacing fell below a critical value, waves grew in amplitude--
      "instability"-- and an accident would soon follow. (He had a nice formula for
      it.) The authorities at the time stopped the tunnel accidents by enforcing
      adequate spacing in the tunnel.

      Ernie Rogers

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