Friday, May 22, 2009

Lane-Sharing Cause on Facebook

by Rick Woodbury

I've recently asked all of my facebook friends to join the Lane Sharing Cause.

I just got this amusing response from Britta, a friend from Palo Alto, CA. I realize now, that unless you're a motorcyclist, the terms lane splitting and lane sharing might get confusing, especially since we talk about our goal of getting the fast lane split in two for ultra-narrow vehicles like the Tango, and motorcycles, hence increasing commuter flow from 2000 Vehicles Per Hour (VPH) per lane to 4,400 VPH, and thus drastically reducing congestion. So, I think we should come up with some definitions.

Lane Sharing:
Two motorbikes or Tangos in a single lane, possibly side by side, but usually staggered a bit for safety. It still more than doubles lane capacity as can be seen when observing a pack of motorcycles on the highway.

Lane Splitting:
This, according to The California Highway Patrol web page, Q&A, section, is riding between lanes.
From CHP web page: Lane splitting by motorcycles is permissible but must be done in a safe and prudent manner.

Lane Doubling:
This we can define as actually painting a stripe down the center of a lane so that one lane becomes two.

Here's Britta's comment:
I gotta say Rick, I love your Tango! I want one!
And "Lane splitting"? Ain't bad at all. As long as all parties involved understand how it works. How does it work, by the way? In my imagination, it gets a little scary when I picture a 4 lane highway doubled into 8 lanes. Changing 7 lanes (in worst case) to catch an exit seems like a courageous act and a good opportunity to lose a load of human fuel. (see adrenals...)

And my response:
It's really not all that complicated. It's just exactly the same as it is right now with motorcycles. If there're just a few, they just go down the white line in a traffic jam, just as is commonplace in CA, Europe, and the Orient. That's lane splitting. Lane sharing, is when you have a pack of motorcycles, and although they aren't necessarily 2-abreast much of the time, (they are usually staggered a bit) and still, far more than double lane capacity for single and double-tandem occupants. In the future, if there are enough Tangos and motorcycles combined, they could dedicate a lane for just the UNVs (Ultra Narrow Vehicles). A simple stripe down the center is all that it would take to get 4,400 vehicles per hour where only 2,000 vehicles per hour were previously possible. We'll call this lane doubling. This capacity increase is based on the fact that 88 % of all commuter cars have only one occupant.


Anonymous said...

I have been eyeing this car for years, but the price has to drop. Yes, there are some gears that need to fall into place for that to happen, but that is a reality. When I can but a Tango for the price of a Honda Civic or Accord (and it will not be a bare bone vehicle), that will be the day a lot of people will buy a Tango. What a great car! But what a great cost. There has to be much more government incentive to purchase these too. And that needs to happen soon. So I sure as hell hope that "yes, we can" will mean sooner than the next election cycle.

Tango Electric Cars said...

I agree wholeheartedly that the price has to drop to get to the mass market. Few realize how difficult that is to do. To compete with the price of a Honda Civic requires tooling and manufacturing for 100,000 units per year. That is an up-front cost of roughly $1.5 billion. Yes, that's with a B. In the meantime, we are completing a business plan to raise $50M so that we can produce 5,000 units that can retail for $44k. That's a far cry from $20k but the investment is also a far cry from $1.5-billion. Even this low-production plan will probably require fleet and government orders in advance in order to convince investors that the risk is low enough. If anyone has connections to possible fleet orders, preferably to rental car companies, please introduce them to the Tango. Rentals are a perfect first market because people could experience the Tango before committing to buy one.

Nickname unavailable said...

44K and I'm in. I'm so ready to stop buying oil. Does Tango have a way to keep potential customers in the loop yet? Like an RSS feed? I'm in Atlanta, GA. What will my service options be? I'm willing to be flexible. I've brought up your car in parties, work, and among friends about 10 times in the last two days. You've really got something.