Name a car that can drive into a body of water (or human body) without causing much harm? No, this isn't an automotive riddle. It's the vision of Doug Ballard and his Spira foam car.
Four years ago we posted on the three-wheeled foam car that made it to the round-of-four in X-Prize competition. Its inventor, Lon Ballard, created the vehicle for the sole purpose of lowering the number of road fatalities and has spent the intervening years refining the idea, and beginning pilot production of electric and gas-powered variants.
After the first week of the Progressive Automotive X-Prize's Finals Stage, some of the better-known teams will have to say good-bye and watch the rest of the competition from the sidelines. According to a new press release from the AXP, Tata Motors, Amp, Commuter Cars (Tango) and Spira are out. Here are the reasons why:
Spira – Click above for high-res image gallery
According to Lon Ballard, designer of the Spira, a three-wheeled floating car made from foam (yes, foam), "The Spira team hopes foam will revolutionize autos and motorcycles like the Crocs and flip-flops have revolutionized shoes and sandals." Whether or not that's a good thing may depend not only on your personal opinion of the polarizing footwear, but also on how well the vehicle is able to live up to its maker's lofty claims.