LAS VEGAS, NV (Autodesk University), Dec 2, 2009 - Don't be misled by Amory Lovins' unassuming appearance -- he's a radical environmentist. Rocky Mountain Institute's chief scientist has been damning conventional engineering wisdom for 30 years. Now that being green is all the rage, Amory day has come. He is courted by big corporations -- like Autodesk -- who hire him to deliver those radical ideas from a big stage.
Amory looks at the process which delivers to us the automobile. We size the vehicle, create the body, then pick the engine. "Perfectly logical -- but wrong," he says, a phrase he is to repeat many times throughout yesterday's keynote.
Consider that only 13% of energy we put into a car gets to the wheels, says Lovins. Even less -- as scant 0.3% -- moves the driver. The rest of the energy is wasted. Most of the waste has to do with excess mass. RMI has plans for an SUV hybrid with a carbon fiber frame that gets 100 miles per gallon and does 0-60 in 7.1 seconds. It would cost about $2500 more than a conventional hybrid at "mid volume" production, a cost Lovins says will be recouped in one year of use.
Amory Lovins of RMI discusses his hybrid SUV which gets 100 mpg and 0-60mph in 7.1 seconds (though not at the same time)
Worried a carbon fiber frame could leave you squashed on the interstate? Lovins show a reel of Katherine Legge's 116 mph crash on the track in 2006, a crash so severe that her Champ Car appears to explode. A carbon fiber frame not only saved her, it allowed her to stand and wave to the crowd not long thereafter, seemingly unharmed. Oh, she did have some bruises on her legs.