Monday, May 9, 2011

Tango Chinese News Story: Now with Translation

No need to sit in this frustrating mess: If you have a Tango you can enjoy the freedom of driving past all of these cars. That's infinitely more fun than sitting in traffic.

Commuter Cars’ “Tango”—The Urban Driving Electric Supercar

Filmed and edited by Enming Liu for Voice of America’s “Cultural Odyssey”

For a YouTube version that skips the host's introduction, please click this link:

MP4 Version for iPhone / iPad can be downloaded from our web site using this link:

The complete news story as aired in China can be seen searched for on this link:

Host Peggy Chang's intro is short, and then the action starts.

Host Peggy Chang (in studio):

In many large Chinese and American cities, traffic congestion is an increasingly big problem. Whether you’re on Beijing’s 3rd-ring Road or Washington DC’s I-495, traffic grinds to a standstill every day at rush hour. Every year, Americans waste $115 billion worth of work time and gas being caught up in these traffic jams. Faced with this problem, one man came up with the brilliant idea of making drastically narrower cars. If two cars could fit in a lane where only one could previously fit, roadways would effectively have their capacity doubled. And if everyone drove cars like that, wouldn’t the world’s traffic problems be instantly solved? In this next piece, Cultural Odyssey reporter Enming Liu introduces a vehicle that aims to do just that—the charming Tango electric car.
(the start of Enming’s piece)
According to Texas A&M University, every year Americans waste $115 billion worth of gas and work time being caught up on congested roadways. And it’s not only an American problem. The problems of wasted resources and environmental harm, caused by congested traffic, plague virtually every major city in the world.
So, how can this problem be solved? Here to offer a solution, is the Tango, an electric car, just one seat wide.
Rick Woodbury, President, Commuter Cars:
“It’s the only car in the world that fits in half a lane on the freeway with more clearance than a truck has in a full lane. With this one, you can move over, you can get between the lanes of cars because it’s narrower than a lot of motorcycles.”
His name is Rick Woodbury, and he is the inventor of the 39-inch wide Tango electric car. He’s also the CEO of Commuter Cars Corporation.
Rick Woodbury:
“Commuter Cars is a company that plans to build lots of commuter cars. This is the purpose of the car.”
There was nothing random about the birth of the Tango and Commuter Cars. In fact, it has a direct connection with Mr. Woodbury’s personal experience commuting to and from work everyday.
Rick Woodbury:
The reason this car exists, is that I was stuck in traffic in 1982 going to work everyday. While stuck in traffic I looked around, and noticed that there was only one person in every car around me. I thought, ‘This is an incredible waste of real estate, and a waste of people’s time.’”
The cute, nimble Tango seems like a motorcycle with an added roof on the top. At first glance, very few people would think it looks like a speed car.
Rick Woodbury:
“Right now it’s a super car. It’s unequivocally the fastest car through traffic. But it’s one of the fastest cars you can buy—even on a drag strip. It’s extremely fast and powerful.”
Under the Tango’s floorboard are two motors that combined produce 600,000 Watts of power, the equivalent of 805 horsepower. Even more amazing, the motors produce 2,500 foot-pounds of torque. That’s the same amount of torque produced by five Dodge Vipers. Thomas Greither, the owner of a health foods business, is a Tango driver.
Thomas Greither, President, Flora, Inc.:
“I have owned a Bentley before, a Maserati—I have owned a lot of nice cars, but I have never owned a car which got so much attention. It’s the most fun car I have ever owned to drive. The acceleration from 0 to 60 is less than 4 seconds. It can beat most Ferraris and Porsches.”
Rick Woodbury:
“We probably can get down to an 11-second quarter-mile, which is a half second slower than a Bugatti Veyron—which costs $1.2 million. We’re talking not just a little bit fast; we’re talking extremely fast.”
The Tango is powered by 1,000 lithium batteries located under the seat. On a full charge, the Tango can travel 120 miles. And the car’s vast power capacity has its origin in China.
Rick Woodbury:
“This is a module of Headway cells. These are made in China.”
The 1,000 lithium batteries under the seat also perform another function—that is, keeping the Tango’s center of gravity very low to the ground, allowing the car to keep it’s balance around turns at high speeds. As a matter of fact, this is the question most often asked by those who see a Tango on the street.
Thomas Greither:
“I think the number one question is that they think the car will fall over around corners. What people don’t realize is there is a whole pack of batteries underneath it, and all the weight is on the bottom. So, it’s quite stable around corners. That’s the number one question people ask.”
City parking is an even bigger advantage of the Tango. Because of it’s short and narrow body, the Tango can fit into the tiny spots between normal parking spaces. Tom Boyd is an Oncologist and Tango owner.
Tom Boyd, Oncologist, Northstar Lodge Cancer Center:
“I can park in the spaces that aren’t really spaces—you know, that diagonal area that isn’t really big enough to fit a car. This is only a fourth of the size of most vehicles. So, you can squeeze into a very tiny cubicle and do very well, sort of essentially create your own parking spaces.”
Into just how small of a space can the Tango fit? As an April fools joke one year, an employee of Internet search giant Google parked his Tango in the exceedingly small office of the company’s Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt, showing in just how small a space the Tango can fit. No wonder Rick Woodbury has such wonderful things to say about his invention:
Rick Woodbury:
“It’s the only car in the world that can solve these huge traffic problems. I heard about and saw photographs of traffic jams in China, and I don’t know how many of those cars had one person in them. I bet if those people with just one or two people [in the car] were in Tangos, you wouldn’t have that traffic jam. That 11-day gridlock wouldn’t have been there.”
The very first Tango owner is none other than Hollywood actor George Clooney. In fact, all current Tango owners are not your average Joe. Because only 11 Tangos have ever been produced, the low production drives the price tag up to $150,000—a price that most people couldn’t afford.
Rick Woodbury:
“Please understand this $150,000 price is only because of its low production. As soon as we get into production, we want to sell these cars for under $10,000.”
Currently, Rick Woodbury is still searching for enough investment to bring the Tango into large-scale production. At the same time, he and Commuter Cars are committed to constantly improving the Tango, increasing its range to 240 miles on one full charge, for example. An electric super car boasting these many amazing qualities—if the price really does get under $10,000, who wouldn’t want to buy one?
Voice of America Cultural Odyssey reporter Enming Liu reporting from Spokane, Washington.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Biggest Barrier to Electric Vehicles?

I saw a post on an EV battery forum, asking: "What is the biggest barrier to EVs."

My opinion may not be popular, however, I believe that it's founded on excellent logic.

I believe the biggest barrier for EVs is usefulness. When EVs are better than gasoline cars in enough ways to benefit the person paying the bill for them, they will outsell them. Some scenarios are that lithium battery cost mile drops by 75%, or gasoline cost quadruples, then the range and recharge time will be overshadowed by pure cost incentive despite the inconvenience. People choose a mode of transportation primarily based on:
1. Speed from point to point.
2. Convenience to schedule, and
3. Convenience to carry goods and to keep them secure when not on one's person.
4. If using a car or motorcycle, then ease of parking becomes an issue
A major investment in a car, except in extremely dense cities like New York, meets these objectives best. However, when making such a large investment, it goes without saying that one would want to be able to use it, at least occasionally, for long-distance trips. This one item is a huge deterrent for pure electric vehicles. Companies that are promoting pure electric cars and plug-in hybrids seem to ignore, that as far as we can tell, battery replacement and electricity combined cost at least as much as gasoline on a cost per mile basis.

However, there is an immediate solution. It's the Tango. As 90% of all trips fall within its range, the Tango is the only car in the world, to my knowledge, that does a better job for commuters and errand goers than any other car in history, despite the fact that it's pure electric. It is the only car that can lanesplit and park like a motorcycle, giving 200% to 300% speed advantage in heavy traffic in California, Europe, and Asia, where lanesplitting is legal. When there are enough of them, along with motorcycles, they can increase lane capacity from 2,000 vehicles per hour to 4,400 vehicles per hour, according to a UC Berkeley/Booz-Allen-Hamilton study. Using a full sized car for commuting is like using a sledge hammer to drive finish nails. It's the wrong tool for the job, yet, 106-million single-occupant drivers out of the 140-million workers in the U.S. do just that. By the same token, a long haul electric semi truck would be like using a claw hammer to drive railroad spikes—also the wrong tool for the job.

Just as transistors could not possibly have replaced vacuum tubes in TVs in the 50s, batteries cannot replace gasoline and diesel now. However, just as transistors did the job perfectly in transistor radios and hearing aids in the 50s, so batteries do the job perfectly in a Tango today. People didn't buy transistor radios in the 50s because they had transistors in them. They bought them because of the job that the radio did. Today, the mass market will not buy cars because they are electric, but rather for the job that they can do. The Tango is faster, safer, more convenient, and more fun to drive in any urban situation, where most driver's have the most frustration. If a manufacturer really wants to sell a lot of EVs over the next 30 years, they should be talking to me, as I have world-wide patents on the only practical mass-market-appealing EV in existence—in my humble opinion of course. :^)


Renderings of Complete Roll Cage and Door Bars

Vadim, creator of the Tango commercial, has just graphically assembled the whole roll cage with door bars. Because the door bars were integrated into the doors, they could not be photographed with the cage. This rendering shows the integrated door bar system, as it is over 4 times greater than any production car that we know of.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tango Commercial: Animation Video

Vadim Stupin, a recent graduate of film school in Germany, graciously created a Tango commercial pro bono.
I hope that you enjoy it!
Click Here to View Commercial

Now available in MP4 so that you can see it on iPhones or iPads.
Click Here to Download MP4 from our Website


Monday, March 14, 2011

AOL Translogic News Story on Tango—Awesome Footage

AOL Translogic's Bradley Hasemeyer experiencing the series/parallel shift for the first time. He explains it in the video.

AOL Translogic has just published their news story on the Tango. It is most informative.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Proof of Tango's Motor Torque

For many years I've been saying that the Tango has over 1,000 ft lbs of motor torque—500 ft-lbs each. In a recent drag strip event, we proved that the Tango has over 2,500 ft-lbs of torque at the motors—over 5 times the torque of a Viper V-10 engine at peak output. This is proven by the fact that the Tango weighs 3,500 lbs with the driver, distributed 43%-57% front to rear, and a 75" wheelbase. Therefore, it requires 9,500 ft-lbs of torque at the rear wheels to lift the front wheels off of the ground, as demonstrated in the video below. The drive ratio is 3.86:1 from motors to rear axles. It took a very sticky track to accomplish this with street tires. It was prepped with a goo that was stickier than the floor in a 7-11 next to the Slurpee machine—hard to keep your shoes on.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Tango Painted by Romero Britto

The first red prototype has been painted by Romero Britto. It is currently in the San Diego Auto Museum