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.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A few Tangos in Production


Texas Considers Allowing Lane Splitting

by Paul Crowe

Lane splitting, the practice of slipping between the lanes of backed up and slowly moving cars, is currently only legal in California. State Senator John Carona of Dallas, Texas, wants to change that and has introduced Senate Bill 506 to allow lane splitting in Texas.

Lane splitting is usually subject to some controversy wherever it isn’t legal but the ability to move through traffic is an advantage, not only to the motorcyclist but to the car driver as well who can move up into the space vacated by the bike. There would be strict guidelines.

Read entire article here.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Tango’s Safety Features

by Rick Woodbury

Many people I speak with voice their concern about the Tango’s safety. It is also my primary concern, which is why we incorporated race car safety in the size of a motorbike.

The Tango has four times more door protection bars than the largest SUV. I might point out too, that in addition to being probably the strongest built car on the market, it can avoid accidents like no other car in history. You can move over, brake, or accelerate out of the way if someone comes into your lane. The cage is certified by FIA for 200+ MPH race cars. It weighs 3,300 lbs which is the same as a mid-sized sedan. All in all, I simply believe it is the safest car that you can drive.

Regarding width, the Tango is about the same width as a police Harley, and exactly 5-inches narrower than a Honda Gold Wing--All the better to lane split with. And, that's a blast! I can say that from experience. So far I've asked 58 California police officers if they would ticket it for lane splitting. At this time it's a unanimous NO! --They say it would have to be done safely, just as it is with motorcycles. I do it all the time when in traffic in SF or LA.

For more information on safety and lane splitting, visit our website: and and click on "Lane Splitting" links

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tango Vs. Tesla @ Infineon, Nov 08


Google Tech Talk: Rick Woodbury talks about the Tango


Washington Governor Gregoire Signs Kit Car Bill into Law

Washington State's Governor Gregoire signs kit car bill into law. Washington State Senators Dan Swecker and Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown cosponsored Senate Bill 5719 which allows kit cars to be registered in the State of Washington. Now that this bill has been passed unanimously by the Senate, 97 to 1 in the House, and signed by the Governor, kit cars can be built by individuals with a reasonable set of safety regulations, and don't require air bags and crash testing that previously prohibited kits from being registered without many $millions in engineering and testing.

Thank you Governor Gregoire, the WA State Senate and the House of Representatives for allowing Tango kits again to be registered in the State where they are built!
After signing the bill, Governor Gregoire commented to me that she'd like to drive a Tango.

Best wishes,


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Interview with Tango President Rick Woodbury


Friday, May 8, 2009

A Great Review....

Preview of 2009 Commuter Cars Tango

By Michael Perkins


The greatest obstacle facing electric vehicles is one of ethos - logos is all under control. The specs for so many are hard to dispute, with sub-5-second 0 to 60 times and quarter-mile performance that would put anything under $100,000 to shame. What it really comes down to is style and feel - the fact that most electric vehicles simply don’t look or feel like their internal-combustion counterparts. Commuter Cars’ Tango T600 does nothing to combat either issue.

The question, then, is: Does it need to? With specs that include a stainless-steel chassis, a carbon-fiber body and over 1,000 lb-ft of torque, not really. Sure, it looks a bit funky, with its tiny dimensions and tandem seating, but this is really just a visual issue. Safety simply shouldn’t be a concern with a full NASCAR roll cage, a four-point harness, and more steel in its doors than a Ford Excursion. Yes, it looks like it’ll tip over when you close the door, but it has more than 2,000 pounds of weight under the floor, due to the batteries and motors, giving it a rollover resistance rating of five stars from the NHTSA.

The real issue right now is battery life. On a full charge, the Tango can travel around 40 to 60 miles with the standard lead-acid batteries, and up to 150 miles with the optional Lithium-Ions, with an 80% recharge possible in ten minutes from a 200-amp source. That said, with your 150 miles, you can do a 0-60 romp in just over 4 seconds, the standing quarter-mile in just over 12, and achieve a top speed of 135 mph with its 3.86:1 gear ratio. A top speed of 172 can be achieved by selecting a higher gear ratio from its ten optional ones, ranging from 2.92:1 to 5:1.

For anything other than long-distance travel, it’s hard to argue the relative benefits of an internal combustion-powered vehicle over electric. Electric is more efficient, can outperform all but the world’s supercars, and produces almost none of the obtrusive noise that comes along with internal combustion. And there’s the rub. We are man, not machine - not yet. Because of that, there's still a certain joie de vivre to contend with. It’s not enough that we have fun, we want to be reminded of it, and that’s exactly what internal combustion does. 0-60 in 4.5 seconds is impressive no matter how you get there, but somehow it seems quicker when accompanied by eight, ten, or twelve screaming cylinders just barely containing thousands upon thousands of controlled explosions per second. Will we eventually get over this primal fascination with sound and fury? Absolutely. In the meantime, cars like the Tango can silently surpass their rivals, waiting for the rest of us to catch up.

0-90 in 9 Seconds!

Here's a great little note just forwarded to us from Ken Muir, Applied Materials to Paul Scott at

Hi Paul,

Rick Woodbury dropped by Applied Materials yesterday at the request of our manufacturing engineer, William Sallai.

Rick designed, engineered and builds the Tango. George Clooney purchased one a while back.

Bill and I both got to drive this little rocket for about 10 minutes each. I went zero to 90 in about 9 seconds! The looks I was getting from drivers around me were amazing - mostly slack jawed, wondering how in the world that little car was going that fast without making hardly any noise.

According to Rick the Tango produces 1000 ft lbs of torque at zero RPM and I believe him. When I stomped on the accelerator I was smacked to the seat like a bug on a windshield. After the first few seconds, it kicks into second gear and plasters you back into the seat, (where it seems to like to keep you) like the second stage of a rocket just went off. What a blast!

Rick's goal is to produce thousands of these super clean, super fast little cars to get the price down to where just about anyone can afford to own one.

Ken Muir
Applied Materials
Quality Manager - Glass Coating Products
Energy & Environmental Solutions Group
Fairfield, Ca.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Tango Feedback from Concours continues...

Note from PR Director, Green Cars, Hillsborough Concours:

Hi Rick,

I'm guessing you've made it back to Washington by now!

I just want to thank you so much for being the star of our Green Display at the Hillsborough Concours, from beginning to end. We loved having the "little fella" to drive around town; it was also great to show your car at the Judge's Reception last Saturday. And what a brilliant display you had at the Concours itself. People are still talking about it; they've said it was the best part of the show.

And we still have a Tango in our midst; Lilli has been driving her Tango with her daughter in the back seat, back and forth to school, so the exposure continues. Thanks again for helping us have the best Green Display ever!

Regards and best wishes,

Laurel Miranda

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Commuter Cars Tango in the Bay Area

We just returned from a very successful week-long trip to California, where we dropped off a spanking new Tango (color green!) to a waiting client, who was thrilled with the purchase. This particular Tango is the most advanced of all our Tangos yet.

We also reconnected with some other Tango owners, and showed four Tangos (a rainbow of colors) at the 53rd annual Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance, as part of their extensive Green Car Exhibit. Enthusiasm for the car was fairly extensive, so hopefuly this will result in more orders. Being a small start-up, it's an uphill drive (luckily I have a car with the power to scale the heights).

Am now driving back to Spokane. You can follow me on twitter @TangoCars, and if you are anywhere near us on the road, I am more than happy to show you the car.

The Eelectric TANGO - It's a Happy Car!