The auto industry’s unseen inventions—some are weirder than others

Vanarama ]

Via Vanarama this morning, we have a curious list of patents from the auto industry. Some of them are a little wacky and unlikely to bring their inventors much fame or fortune— vertical parking falls into this category, as does the in-car urinal. But among the list are ideas that aren’t that crazy. Like adaptive body panels that would extend a car’s tail to reduce drag at cruising speeds.
Drag is the enemy of fuel efficiency, and every little bit helps when trying to cut a vehicle’s drag coefficient—just changing the shape of an electric car’s wheels can have a meaningful effect on how far its battery will take you. How the air flows away from the car at its rear is critically important to the amount of drag it experiences, and a longer tail is the most efficient shape.
That’s easier to do when you’re an airplane and not a car that has to fit into conventional-length parking spaces, which is where a Toyota patent for a telescoping tail comes in. I’ve definitely seen the idea tested by hypermilers in the past, and I don’t know about you but I think this dark future of ours would be a little brighter if our cars morphed a little bit.Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments
Source: Car news one

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