Discussion in 'General' started by Jim J Fox, Nov 19, 2017.

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Central driving is the answer to LHD/RHD costs

Poll closed Dec 3, 2017.
  1. Yes

  2. No

  3. Maybe, in the future

    0 vote(s)
  1. Jim J Fox

    Jim J Fox Member

    GM will not produce a RHD Bolt, thereby ignoring a market of up to 2 BILLION.
    Answer? For ALL EV makers- Central Driving.
    Now, I know this is an old & unsuccessful concept but I'm convinced it's time for a re-think.

    Objection- loss of front passenger seat
    Answer 1- passengers are SAFER 'in-back' Answer 2- Make driver controls sliding to enable
    both LHD/RHD choice [awkward!] Drive-by-wire required for this. Answer 3- Build wider cars? Answer 4- fit rear facing child restraint seat. No, not really!
    Objection- forward vision restricted, overtaking made riskier.
    Answer- forward looking cameras both sides. Eventually, Autopilot? Audible warning of oncoming traffic?
    Objection- people won't accept it.
    Answer- Well, they didn't accept EVs until Elon made them take notice. Also the fabulous new Tesla Big Rig has central driving. Yes I know it's a special case but it must be adaptable to other vehicles, in a different iteration.

    Opinions? Probably 90% will be against!
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  3. Feed The Trees

    Feed The Trees Active Member

    Center drive is such a awful waste of space. If the goal is efficient movement of bodies then you're losing an entire person/mile capacity.

    Also where is this 2B market for the Bolt? Poor people in rural India? UK and Australia, perhaps some on Japan. But GM can sell every Bolt they desire to build right in the US, so why make more and deal with international complexities.
  4. Jim J Fox

    Jim J Fox Member

    The most recent data for the average number of passengers per car (including the driver) for the countries sampled is approximately 1.45 passengers per vehicle (in the UK - 1.58; Germany - 1.42 and Netherlands - 1.38 passengers accordingly)

    So- efficient movement of bodies? Apparently not. About HALF a passenger per car is the norm. This has been the ultimate inefficiency of private cars since... well, forever. Planes operate efficiently because the calculations are based on kg of fuel per passenger mile plus high seat bookings- can't do this with cars, obviously.

    where is this 2B market for the Bolt? Poor people in rural India?
    Obviously not. In truth, the entire World is the potential market, including wealthy city dwellers in all countries.

    GM can sell every Bolt they desire to build right in the US- Absolutely; my thinking extends far beyond GM, Bolt & USA, though.
    Key word- 'desire'. GM don't want to lose high profits on big gas pickups?
  5. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Is central driving is the answer to LHD/RHD costs?


    When driving, it's nice to have someone sitting beside you, so you can hold a conversation. If you're going out for a date, do you really want her (or him) to sit in the back seat?

    Cars are not just for individual drivers commuting and running errands.
  6. Jim J Fox

    Jim J Fox Member

    Do you not believe-- "About HALF a passenger per car is the norm"?
    Best that you are parked and BOTH in the back seat!
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  8. wavelet

    wavelet New Member

    Uh, the market for the Bolt in LHD-road countries is much smaller than the OP thinks.
    India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Tanzania & Kenya are much too poor. South Africa is borderline too poor, but also has no relevant infrastructure.
    The Bolt would never sell well in Japan because it's not a Japanese car (look it up... No imports sell in Japan except high-end luxury cars, which GM/Chevy isn't).

    That leaves the UK/Ireland, as well as Australia & NZ... Too small a market for now. GM isn't stupid -- if it had made sense, they would have had a RHD it to begin with. I'm sure there's no technical issue with doing a RHD redesign, but it wasn't worth it when they thought the car would sell an initial 30K units global total the first year.
    The LEAF, a cheaper car, had a RHD version right off the bat for 3 reasons: (1) Japanese company, with strong local market that already had EVs; (2) Nissan thought they would sell 100K-200K the first year (3) Their main European factory was already in the UK, so saving them on shipping cars there.
    WadeTyhon likes this.
  9. WadeTyhon

    WadeTyhon Well-Known Member

    This is the reality of the situation. The only truly large market for this would have been the UK. Now that GM has left Europe (for now) there is even less reason to build it.

    GM sells more Buicks in China *every month* than it sells Holdens in Australia every year. Japan does not buy American cars that are not luxury. And the other markets discussed (as well as Australia) will eventually get GM EVs... once it is profitable to do so, and once those countries begin to embrace EVs. Australia EV adoption has been pretty embarrassing thus far. 250 Volts, a little over 1000 leafs sold there in the past 5 years.

    Hopefully this changes soon... In the mean time, we need EVs to be profitable for companies so that they are encouraged to build more. We are finally on the verge of that happening.

    Also, the idea of a center drive is just too impractical to work. Just because most of the time people are riding solo doesn't mean they always are. Also this would be a pain for leaning out the window for drive thrus, banks, ATMS, checking your mailbox etc.
  10. wavelet

    wavelet New Member

    Oh, as for having a central driver seat, losing the passenger seat? Come on. Car companies are not going to change a basic feature of car design, not to mention waste so much space, for a tiny minority of cars. There's no reasons for EVs to be built like this.
    Only cars with an extremely narrow shape like the motorcycle-derived autocycle designs, or low-speed LSVs or non-rectangular footprint vehicles, have that.
    I suspect that it wouldn't even be legal for passenger cars to be sold with a central driving location, in many jurisdictions.
  11. Jim J Fox

    Jim J Fox Member

    Bolt [& all other US made EV's] is 90% American market- I get that. Does Tesla offer RHD anywhere? GM has more or less admitted it does not want to sell it in any significant numbers even though it has massive production capabilities if it did. Batteries? Who is their supplier? Would they be able to get a million Bolt packs should they suddenly change their corporate mind?

    As for LHD/RHD which was the issue, not just the Bolt- almost every ICE has been made in both versions so why are Bolts the exception?
    The EV market is in its infancy so no maker can risk adding cost to mass market EV's, I guess
    Counter-intuitive, as it must be far easier/cheaper to do so with an EV lacking all that mechanical linkage...
    As for the central driving issue- that's mostly a provocative "what if" suggestion. Point is, IF it could be workable & acceptable it would kill the LHD/RHD problem stone dead, would it not?
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  13. Jim J Fox

    Jim J Fox Member

    Answer 2- Make driver controls sliding to enable both LHD/RHD choice [awkward!] Drive-by-wire required for this.

    Nobody has addressed this yet; is it even feasible or cost-effective? Otherwise, could EV's be made with both options built-in
    so sales to other markets would be a simple matter at time of order? I have no idea what the added cost would be but think
    that it might be quite low... Tesla M3 center console display is a small step in this direction.
  14. Feed The Trees

    Feed The Trees Active Member

    As with most averages, they only tell a very narrow data point. If it's ~1.5 people per trip with 5 person cars it will go down with 4 person cars. It has to. Maybe not a whole lot of trips occur with 5 people inside but they exist and you're wiping them out by eliminating the seat. If you are concerned about averages, they will go down even more under your plan.

    Like range, "most trips" does not in any way talk about full need. "Most" people only drive 10 miles to work each way, but they cannot live with a 30 mile EV because of the not work day driving. If "most" trips are with 1.5 people a) that half person is probably pretty unhappy :) and b) it says nothing about the other needs.

    2 parents commute each by themselves and record 20 '1' trips. nTrips = 20 nPass = 20 Avg = 1. On the weekends they go everywhere as a family and take 4 car trips full of 5 people (3 kids). nTrips = 4 nPass = 20. Added together you get 24 trips and 40 people and an average of 1.66. There's your 1.5ish average but still has a need for 5.
  15. Jim J Fox

    Jim J Fox Member

    It's NOT a plan- only a tongue-in-cheek suggestion. Of course there are a host of valid objections; losing a seat is NOT unavoidable,
    that idea is constrained by current thinking; you don't attempt to address my 'Answer 2' above, nor has anyone else. Which
    tells me everybody is thinking along conventional lines, not "lateral thinking" [pun intended].
    I read recently that "Every American family has at least two cars"- probably an exaggeration but if so, one could be central driving.
    Except that regulation would likely prevent that.

    As for your convoluted theorising about occupancy numbers, large families would opt for a 'people carrier' anyway, I imagine.
    With 7 seats it could be argued losing one would be neither here nor there.
  16. Feed The Trees

    Feed The Trees Active Member

    How averages like this work is not convoluted.
  17. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    People don't buy cars just to cover the "norm" of different needs. If they did, then all cars would have a range of only 40 miles, and none would have a back seat.

    Would putting a centrally placed single seat in front save money in the cost of making a car? Sure. So would eliminating the back seat. So would eliminating a lot of things modern cars have. It doesn't mean most people would choose that option just to save maybe $100-200 per car!
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2017
  18. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    If you meant your suggestion to be taken as humor, then it would have been helpful to give some indication of that in the OP. You didn't.

    There is a reason many or most forum, including this one, have a smiley function. Please use it where appropriate.
  19. jdbob

    jdbob New Member

  20. Jim J Fox

    Jim J Fox Member

    QED. GM refuses
  21. Jim J Fox

    Jim J Fox Member

    'Tongue in cheek' was not the correct wording- I meant to imply a degree of doubt with some degree of seriousness.
    Didn't know it means 'humorous'...
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2017
  22. Jim J Fox

    Jim J Fox Member

    Is anyone game to inform me about my 'Answer 2' above- possible or pure fantasy?
    I confess to being a bit obsessed about the silly LHD/RHD conundrum, seems so
    unnecessary. In a similar vein, Australia had THREE different rail gauges for 100 yrs
    or so, you'd change trains at State borders... because each State refused to be 'told
    what to do'- before Federation. Only recently has that issue been fixed, I think.
  23. Jim J Fox

    Jim J Fox Member

    I'm not talking about the COST of making an EV but the possibility of using its inherent flexibility re LHD/RHD. I find your 'analogy' less than
    useful. Most people buy [family] cars for all the wrong reasons anyway, from my observations.
    Wifey just had to have that pink Cadillac, so that's what she got... to use another silly example.
    'It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this'. Bertrand Russell- vehicle buying is a fine example of this truth.

    Recall at some point I used the term 'provocative' [or was it 'contentious'?] so bear that in mind with this discussion- which mercifully, ends soon!

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