Slender Car as a Speed Ambulance
This urges the need to use of an expedient vehicle to transport medical personnel, even through congested down town traffic. Often conventional ambulance is too large to overcome such traffic hindrances; it does not merge with the desire to attain high speeds and flexibility to adapt to the changing patter of the traffic; it may only attain high speeds in open traffic lanes and highways and therefore often arriving too late on the scene. There needs to be an alternative, which is the "Slender Car" which is developed in The Netherlands. These vehicles can serve emergency first aid help services by giving the rescuers the ability to by-pass traffic queues and congested areas.
One needs to ponder why it really should take 2.5 tons automobile of steel to transport just one person of, say, 100 kg. Instead of enjoying the splendors of Paris the co-founder in the late '80s was stuck in a hideous traffic jam, long before the larger European cities were considering congestion charges in an attempt to cut down on emissions arising from too many vehicles clogging the roads. He was convinced that mobility could be made more efficient by moving that same person using only a fraction of the space and fuel consumption without giving in on comfort and safety. What he envisaged was a man-wide lightweight vehicle.
Obviously, for the vehicle to cater for the average car driver, it had to be modified. Stability at low speeds or at rest requires at least three wheels. In order to provide stability in corners as well, the body of the vehicle would have to be made to tilt. This should come as no surprise: banking is the only natural way to take corners. By bringing the center of gravity towards the center of the curve, just as airplanes, bikers and snowboarders do, stability would be guaranteed.
In the years that followed, successive versions of the vehicle concept were developed, fine-tuning the hydraulic tilting mechanism and the steering system. The Dutch police put the prototype to the test in 1997, and in the summer of that year it was officially approved for road use by the Dutch National Road Authority.
The “Slender Car”
In essence this technologically developed machine is a hybrid between a car and a motorbike and it manifests the prime quality and relative comforts of each with the added incentive that it fits the global strive towards a low energy utilization and carbon dioxide footprint which are important parameters in these modern times. But unlike a motorcycle where the rider adjusts the tilt angle by shifting their weight, the Dynamic Vehicle Control (DVC™) system automatically adjusts the tilt angle to the speed and acceleration of the vehicle, thus ensuring an optimum balance at all times. This then combines the exciting agility of a motorcycle with the comfort and safety of a car: the best of both worlds.
Being slender and comfortable, SCV's combine the positive characteristics of a car (high safety, comfort & luxury) with the positive characteristics of a motorcycle (low weight & dynamic driving performance). These vehicles have been proven to show an excellent and inspiring driving behavior and outperform most cars in agility and curving, while easily beating motorcycles on comfort and safety. The tilting behavior, which is essential to keep the narrow vehicle in balance, also adds an extra dimension to its driving behavior, which is appreciated by many customers.
What is it exactly, a car or a motorbike? Both! You steer the "Slender Car" just like a car and this Car reacts (tilts) just like a motor cycle; but then fully automatic!: ‘The Best of Both Worlds’. Within all the countries of the European Union a normal car driver’s license is required. The control is similar to that of a normal car. There is no special skill required. For most people it takes a 15 minute ride to get used to the tilting, which obviously is different from a normal car. On the other hand, due to this tilting behavior the driving sensation is very different from a car and is appreciated by many people.
Further, the Slender Car allows the transport of two people in tandem to each other, alternatively a paramedics bag in the rear. The car's enclosure is a safe means to transport to avoid the vigor of the elements; as an extra air condition is also possible to ease the transport of valuable medical materials for safe transport. The driver has interior room equal to an average middle class car, behind him is sufficient room for either a passenger or some luggage. It was also demonstrated in 2008 by a reknowned motorcycle journalist that this type of car covered an impressive distance of 4300 km over the perimeter of Spain in 47 hours, with only 4 hours of sleep and an average speed of 90 km/hour, in one trip trial.
With approximately half the frontal projected area and half the weight of an equivalent "double wide" vehicle, it would use only half as much fuel and floor space reducing parking space and traffic burdens.
Even the undisputed sports-cars cannot automatically bank through curves. Motorcyclists who have given up their motorcycles or who only ride them in the weekend because of the disadvantages attached to a motorcycle (e.g. weather, comfort, safety, helmet, luggage, special clothing ) can now choose for a dynamic ride in the Slender Car. Further, this type of vehicle can also protect police officers, enforcement agents etc. without diminishing their operational freedom or mobility. The lean construction provides the freedom to travel where a motorcycle might: along traffic jams, in narrow streets, off-road etc. and offers the comfort and protection of a car. Also this car can protect passengers from bad weather elements and aggression. Such vehicles can be constructed from Kevlar and/or bulletproof glass. Sophisticated radar, electronics, telematica, surveillance equipment and defense devices can be installed for State-of-the-art observation, communication, notification, navigation and defense. Lean vehicles can also be easily transported by truck, plane or even helicopter. Further, because this vehicle is narrow, it can manoeuvre through traffic and use available parking space optimally and park almost anywhere, which can be very handy. If shoulder lanes were allowed to become convertible narrow vehicle lanes during rush hour, the Slender Car could take full advantage of this “fast track”. Powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder 660cc, 16 valve, five-speed rear-mounted engine that produces 68 bhp to propel the passenger safely in mountainous roads as well the congestion of cities. One may conceive that these types of vehicles lend themselves to create an efficient fleet of agile vehicles, having low fuel consumption of 33 km / 1 liter petrol fuel.
The company’s co-founder claims the idea for the Slender Car came to him while he was stuck in a Paris traffic jam about 20 years ago. Noticing that most cars had only a driver inside, he reasoned that a small three-wheel car would be vastly more efficient for transporting one or two people. A narrow vehicle would take up less space while minimizing wind resistance and improving fuel economy.
The only door is on the left side, and it opens wide to reveal a two-place, tandem-seat layout. The back seat is not for the modest; the passenger’s legs are splayed to either side of the driver. Life is better up front. The driver’s seat has wide bolsters and because the windshield curves up and over the driver’s head, forward visibility is excellent. The side windows are huge, and the hardtop can be removed to let the sun in. The tilting system is locked out in reverse and below 5 miles an hour. However, once to speed it is permitted the entire cabin is permitted to tilt in corners which benefits the passenger to avoid sideways forces in going through corners.
Driving the Slender Car :
It works like this: When steering into a corner, the front wheel and the passenger cabin lean like a motorcycle. Flick the steering wheel back and forth and the Slender Car bobs left and right like a prizefighter dodging jabs. Meanwhile, the two rear wheels, along with the 4-cylinder engine mounted between them, remain parallel to the road. Hold the steering steady and the cabin quickly rights itself.
-Slender Comfort Vehicle equipped with DVC offer the following driving characteristics.
-It allows a very quick and assertive driving style.
-It delivers sports type characteristics.
-Thanks to the high power-to-weight ratio it gives high acceleration.
-It is easier to manoeuvre than a car (tilts to a 45-degree maximum to adapt to the roadway bend).
-Despite being compact, its high-speed road behavior is superior to that of small compact cars. It road behavior is comparable to that of a normal sedan.
-As all wheels stick to the ground firmly, it has no squeaking wheels in sharp corners.
-Thanks to the tilting action there are no side forces to the driver, even when taking curves with high centrifugal forces.
-It gives safe and stable off-the-road behavior.
Safety aspects of the Slender Car :
-Due to their small size, SCV’s often are perceived to be less safe compared to a conventional car. This does not need to be the case. SCV’s have a larger chance of avoiding an frontal crash. SCV’s allows the application of a monocoque ‘tub’ approach as known in Formula 1 cars.
-SCV’s have a safety ratio that is similar to that of a car and in some cases even better, and is far better than a motorcycle.
-When road conditions are slippery, falling over is not a risk. DVC controlled SCV’s will slide like a car whilst staying upright.
-Slender Car's requires considerably less parking space than a car or at hospital locations.
-They is highly maneuverable in heavy traffic.
-In some countries SCV’s are allowed in the car pool lanes and / or bus lanes, similar to motorcycles.
-Despite its sporty driving character it has relatively low fuel consumption.
-Taxes are low (in Europe it is generally taxed as a motorcycle).
-It may also have an interesting tax advantage for company cars.
-Due to its low weight and low air resistance it shows low fuel consumption.
-For the same reason it shows low NOx, CO and hydrocarbon emissions per kilometer.
-It is extremely enjoyable and exciting to drive, motivating the driver to undertake longer distances.
-Its tilting behavior gives it a logic and natural feel, just like skiing. This rapidly becomes an integral part of the driving experience and reverting to conventional vehicles only serves to highlight this enjoyment.
-Its comfort is similar to that of a car and is far higher than that of a motorcycle’s.
-The vehicle body and the driver are always in balance even with sharp corners, making it much less tiring and stressful to drive.
-It has a high-tech image.
-It is unique and exclusive, which musters the confidence of on-site onlookers at the scene of the accident, towards the medical emergency rescuer.
Early prototype :