• Jul 13th 2008 at 5:03PM
  • 17
A couple of Cincinnati-area men believe they may have solved mankind's transportation problems by combining the strengths of an ultralight electric car with those of a monorail. The plan, developed by Jay Andress and Andy Webster, is to use the small electric cars for short distances about town. When you need to go out to the exurbs or to another city, using the wheels attached to your roof, you connect yourself to the monorail. While you're autonomously whisked away to your predetermined destination at speeds of up to 200 mph, your car uses the rail to charge its battery.

While the pair has spent only $2500 preparing a CityEl, now dubbed the "Liberator Car.", to demonstrate the scheme, they are now trying to attract an additional $10 million for a 1 mile test section of monorail. They expect it would cost upwards of $500 billion to add a MonoMobile infrastructure to the existing interstate highway system but say the increase in transportation efficiency and productivity would save almost an equal amount of money each year. For all the details on this innovative "dual mode" system, check out the MonoMobile website.

[Source: Cincinnati.com]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      This is one of several "dual mode" (guideway/highway) transit system proposals, an overview is here:

      A network of powered dual mode guideways could easily solve the "short range long trip slow recharge" problem for EVs, providing nearly unlimited range. Even better, it could be faster, safer, and more convenient than driving long distances.

      This is one of the better dual mode proposals, but still has a few bugs.

      If this monorail was limited to only cars made by MonoMobile, there wouldn't be enough sold to make it economically feasable - A good dual mode system should be adaptable to a variety of cars from different manufacturers.

      Switching from one track to another requires bending the inverted T rail, and switching wouldn't be fast enough to properly sort closely spaced fast moving vehicles. Changing the design of the rail to an enclosed conduit with a bottom slot would allow fast switching by the vehicles without having to bend or manipulate the rail.
      • 8 Months Ago
      The train is already in place. Just have to add more rails. It's safer to board a train than a ski lift! No way this is a good idea.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Ugh. A lot of money for an impractical and rather inflexible system. I doubt people would want to be jammed into their little cars for long distances, and at least a highway system lets you leave the roadway in case of emergency or if you just want a break from sitting in your car.

      But I've got nothing against the small car part, I'm all for Americans having small cars for jaunts about the neighborhood. It's the massive and intrusive infrastructure above what we already have part that bugs me. I'd prefer trains that used existing rail systems with flatcars you drive your Smart sized little bubble car onto from the side. Wheel clamps hold your car in place until the you get to the station platform where you want to get off and you just drive off the other side of the flatcar. It could use existing rail infrastructure and the cars could be mixed with traditional mass transit cars. And of course they could charge the passengers' cars as well. But that system wouldn't haul a lot of people.

      So if we're going to dream a future that includes cars let's dream as big as we can. What we need are power/charging systems integrated ~into~ the roadway itself. Picking up power at speed is not a large technological hurdle (trains have been doing it for years), but work would have to be done to ensure the safety of a ground based system so you could avoid the third rail hazard that subways currently pose. An early rollout would be the system integrated into parking spaces and garages/driveways and at any intersections where there's a long wait for the light to change. Charging your car would be a simple as parking it in your driveway.
      And with advances in quick charging technology, you might be able to get enough charge in a short amount of time to increase your charge as you drive across town so you're not out of juice once you leave the powered road. I don't know, sounds like a crackpot scheme, but cars fuelled by flammable liquid didn't sound much less like one to farmers in the late eighteenth century.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Amtrak has a system to carry your car on the same train as you, but it's only set up for the 17-hour trip between DC and central Florida. Your one-way ticket is about $140 (meals included), your standard-sized car starts at $190.

        It's by no means a drive-on/drive-off technology that lets you grab the train magically at every block, but it's existing technology, and it's there. And by the fact that these aren't on every single Amtrak line says something about the feasibility level.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Who would buy a car like that?
      • 7 Years Ago
      This is the best idea i saw recently. 4 time more rapid and safe
      and economical and less polluting then driving on crowded asphalt .No more traffic jam.

      But my idea abouth flying cars can be better, no need of building monorails. It just take a hydrogen generator and water re-circulation inside the car , because it need 1500 h.p and more to sustain a car in the air without wings.
      • 8 Months Ago
      You know the old parable how the Americans, when they discovered that pens didn't work in space spent millions developing a zero-g pen? And the Russians? They used a pencil.

      Anyhoo....Over in Europe they're riding trains. Cool trains. Fast trains. Profitable trains.

      We're working on plans for hooking up cars with wheels on the roof so they can ride the world's most expensive ski lift.

        • 8 Months Ago
        USA is a lot more spread out, so it costs more money to build a decent rail system.
      • 7 Years Ago

      Large scale deployment of this would never happen. they need to figure out how to release something like this to market gradually.

      For example they could start such a line in a city and have a taxi program and then allow customers to purchase or lease compatible vehicles of their own. Then expand the program to cover a larger area as it catches on.
      • 8 Months Ago
      If voters approve in November, California will have a high speed rail system (up to 220 mph) linking the major cities from San Diego to San Francisco. If this country is to have a high speed rail system it's more than likely California will be the first.
      • 7 Years Ago
      500 billion? For 40 plus thousand miles of Interstate? Adding a zero or two to that would be more accurate. No problem. Ten trillion here and ten trillion there and pretty soon you're talking about real money.
      • 7 Years Ago
      what a waste of money... I wouldn't want to ever be confined to a monorail.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Yeah, a monorail is so horrible and highway driving is so much fun! I would love to go 200MPH and go to sleep. :)
        • 8 Months Ago
        ** I wouldn't want to ever be confined to a monorail. **

        Then don't...

        Nobody is forcing you to connect to a monorail -- it's an option. If you live in Boston and need to be in NYC for business, drive to the nearest connection station, hook up to the tracks and then get off in NY. Your car is fully charged and you can use it locally to get to where you need.

        Highly unlikely to happen on any large scale in the US -- maybe specific lines from city downtowns to the airport, where the car is rented instead of taking a taxi and dealing with gridlock.
      • 8 Months Ago
      • 8 Months Ago
      Where will they bury the survivors?
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