This is response to Karl Slym’s call for Ideas in his Next Gen Tata Car. This list of my crazy needs might be updated or modified multiple times.
I don’t think there is one dream feature I would like in it, but there are a couple of things, I think can be implemented to make an exciting deal.
1. Start Stop : Start stop as a technology has matured quite a bit now and if mated with a quality power-pack can perform flawlessly. It also will be a significant value addition to congested & crawling traffic scenarios, most cities around the world. It can provide considerable gains in fuel economy and is not an expensive proposal when compared to full hybrids that need advanced batteries & auxiliaries. Significant gains in Fuel Economy & Carbon Footprint can be realized.
2. Solar Roof : Adding solar panel to the roof of the car is an option being considered & being implemented by many major automotive OEM’s in their premium / EV’s / PHEV’s cars. The solar panel does not generate a lot of power, but the available power can be used to Ventilate the vehicle when parked in the sun & insides get really hot hence possibility of fast cooling the cabin and decreasing the duty cycle of the AC when the driver demands it. Apart from that, it can also be used to trickle charge the batteries or power other electronics in the meantime.
3. Spares & Service : It would be amazing and a great proposition to cost conscious customers if spares are not restricted to authorized dealers & available to other qualified garages too. Currently cost of spares & service is a serious consideration to any car buyer. My friends for example like GM’s cars at-least the earlier models and were good value but did not buy them as they felt the cost of spares and service at GM authorized agencies was quite high.
4. Kill instrument clusters : Instead project all that information on to the windshield, so that the driver does not have to peep into the cluster each time to check vital data and be distracted away from the road. With that possibility the wind screen can also be turned into a huge display module, with a lot of possibilities.
5. Black-box: As per US Govt. statistics 25,580 people died in the first 9 months of 2012 due to road accidents. The rate could be proportional in India & other developing economies & in these cases lack of immediate medical care is another major cause of death. If we can install a black box in the cars, it would be possible to find the root cause.
6. Emergency Beacon: Secondly provision of an emergency beacon that can transmit distress calls with the location details of the incident at a radio frequency that is being continuously monitored, so that help can be rushed to the spot immediately.
7. No Seat Belt Vehicle Immobilization: Vehicle will not move unless the seat belt is fastened.
8. a SIRI in my Car : A provision to interact with the car like it is possible with Apple SIRI. Should be able to take voice commands and give Visual & Voice output for non critical tasks like Navigation, News, Warning of bad weather/traffic/bad news at destination or en-route and suggest alternatives. Learn driver preferences and suggest choices and value added information based on requests. So that the driver can concentrate more on driving & fun rather than fiddling with the console.
9. SELF Cleaning Cars : This would be my WOW factor & that of almost all drivers. Cars that can clean themselves at the flick of a switch. I don’t know how that can be achieved, but if I can just do the driving and never have to wash & polish my car. it would be a terrific Idea for me. ( There are ways cars are painted when the car is coated with a charge & then taken to a paint booth where the sprayed paint sticks to the charged surface. cant the process just be reversed? Is any of that possible? 🙂 ).
10. Aluminium Body & Understructure : Using an Aluminium body structure & Chassis can give us considerable weight savings and with that a lighter car with better handling & Efficiency.