Australian industry, cars, economick, employment, future, innovation, transport, waste

The value of a small car as a second car

The case for an Australian-made small second car

Eighty percent of homes in our street have two cars.

Eighty percent of cars that drive along our street have lone drivers.

Eighty percent of drivers would not or could not ride bikes.

If all the two-car homes had one of the cars as a small car for single-driver trips, many problems would be solved – such as use of petrol, carbon emissions, traffic congestion and parking. Australia could well make such cars. The one question to solve is feelings of safety – Sixty percent have big cars thinking they are safer in our traffic, and so make the problem worse.

The single-occupant car

The single occupant car is a symbol of death

It knows not where it goes

It tramples live animals and birds beneath it

It is out of all human contact that is not artificial

It spends the resources of the earth in its making and in its driving

It emits pollution to all around and to the air above

Mad Car Disease

If we were not all mad,, we would drive around, when we had to, mostly in very small cars for 1-3 people, using family size cars only when needed. The main reason we do not is speed. If city traffic was slower, very small cars would be safer. People would not buy 4WD tanks to feel safe in the suburbs. A household would have a cheap very small car as an accessory along with bicycles.

But because we are mad, the next generations will have no more fossil-fuels millions of years old, and more of our pollution and consequences of pollution than we have any right to bequeath.

Rolls-Royces are two tonnes. To transport one person, wastes fuels millions of years old.

Small auxiliary cars can help to slash the environmental hazard of the motor-car

Very small cars for two-car households, to be used as the second car would makes environmental good sense. Their main problem is safety in traffic. This can be solved and benefit everyone except the speed hoons.

More than half of Australian households are likely to have more than one car. Up to 80 per cent of cars on the road carry just one person. Australian-made small “second-cars” for city travel could help solve 3 problems.

For our security and future economy, Australia must maintain a sustainable heavy industry, basic manufactures,, and skilled tradesmen. Innovation is needed to reduce the present reliance of the automotive industry on producing uneconomic and environmentally unsustainable large cars, without scrapping all the factories, equipment and workers that make them.

Single-occupant private cars contribute significantly to carbon emissions and other pollution, resource depletion and other global problems related to climate change and future shortages. And their usual size increases traffic congestion.

A visitor from Mars would be astonished that to go anywhere one person takes around with him a tonne of metal. Buck Rogers future-comics never imagined this form of transport. There is a story of aliens who assume that cars are the main players on earth; humans are merely objects needed to steer them.

Large second cars have been the automatic choice when petrol costs, carbon emissions, climate change, traffic congestion and pollution were not anything to worry about. But no more.

Australians could produce light, cheap two-seater citicars as second cars for households. There are also large potential markets for small cars for older drivers and for young adults on tight budgets, who can borrow or rent a larger car when needed.

Smaller cars reduce parking problems, including at public-transport connections.

Problems and possible solutions

The major problem for small cars is the real and perceived dangers in traffic.

City roads would need to have speed limits under 50kph, and “safe lanes” on urban freeways where heavy trucks and 4WDs had to take special care about visibility of small cars.

It may be time to tax urban-based 4WDs to extinction so that small cars were less at risk. 4WDs have poor visibility when it comes to spotting small vehicles, and typically drivers are less skilled than truck-drivers. The main reason cited for the urban use of 4WDs is that it provides a feeling that it is safer driving a two-tonne monster. “Personal tanks” do seem to increase personal safety but they reduce the safety of others: they cause more third-party accidents through obscuring other drivers’ views, both when they are parked as well as when they are being driven on the roads.

Drivers of small cars have their vision impeded by large 4WDs in car parks and at crossroads; 4WDs cause more congestion, waste more fuel, and as recreational vehicles, are spoilers of bushland, creeks and other on-road and off-road rural environments.

To make small vehicles more visible some aerial might be needed such as carried by some scooters.

It is also time for cultural change to courtesy on the roads from in driver attitudes of insolence and aggression and to appreciate the value and rights of all other vehicles that do a public service by reducing congestion. This is feasible, believe it or not, and relates to a general cultural change that is needed in definitions of what is a “mature adult”.

The business of so much heavy freight on suburban roads has yet to be tackled. Freeways and interstate highways, which must be shared with speeding interstate freight, are inevitably more dangerous for small vehicles. Indeed, to substantially replace long solo car trips, it is time that rail transport was extended, that tickets for groups were cheaper than group travel by cars, bus links at stations were improved, and car-rent facilities were on-call and bookable at major stations.

As the law stands, two-seater cars would not be suitable for carrying children under eight, and hence would be of no use to ferry them to school. But it is high time for many reasons, including children’s health and education, that education facilities for young children were always available in their locality, and could be reached safely by foot, bicycle and public transport, or car-pooling.

What sort of Australian-made small citicar?

Small cars are ideal for modern energy-saving forms of power There are now many types, models and dreams of small-cars world-wide, including the predecessors such as the old baby Austins, bullnose Morrises with dickey seats, Minis and Beatles, and futuristic bubble-cars in comics. They can be cheap, durable, reliable, easily maintained and repaired, run on little petrol or a range of more environmentally-friendly power sources such as solar, electric and hydrogen-fueled. They are more weather-comfortable than motor-scooters especially for the older driver. They take up less space in traffic (but are not suitable for fast traffic), and take up smaller parking bays.

One example could be the lightweight four-seater Indian Tato Nano which could possibly sell for as little as A$2,850 plus charges and taxes. It has a rear-mounted 623cc two-cylinder 25kW engine, an overall length of 3.1m, a four-speed gearbox and manual steering, claimed fuel consumption of 5 litres per 100km, and top speed of 105km/h. The body is sheet metal and air conditioning and an airbag will be optional in the luxury version. It is regarded as sparking a rethink in manufacturing strategies and costs among rival manufacturers in first-world markets.

Two-seater hatchback cars need not have Tata’s primitive features, and could be smaller still.

Much single driving is short trips which do not require high speeds. Safe fuel-saving top speed can be set to under 120kph, or for cheap little non-freeway cars under 100kph. This is also an advantage for the elderly, who may find fast driving stressful because we tend to have slower reaction times, Traffic conditions that allow us to drive safely and to be tolerated on roads enable us to continue to be independent – reducing the great public expense when the elderly can no longer care for themselves. Speed limitation is also a safety advantage for P-plate drivers. Production lines for small cars can be more easily and cheaply modified for innovation. Innovative small cars are also more easily exported than large cars.

This direction in Australian manufacture needs urgent exploration, setting the possibilities for drivers’ information, arousing awareness, and gauging and increasing potential markets.

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employment, future, innovation, knowledge, leisure., waste

Growth as waste

But let us look at our definitions of ‘growth’

Most of our ‘growth’ is waste.

An example is my ten-years’ old microwave oven.  It would not work.  Everyone said to me that I must trash it and buy another. That would be cheaper than trying to get someone to mend it.  I tried to get someone to mend it. It cost me his coming-out fee and six-minutes’ work. Now it works wonderfully.( But he does not get much work. He will soon be out of a job.)

Which of the two alternatives was better for the economy?

Buying another and trashing what I had gave income to the importer and the foreigner country that made the new one, using energy and materials. Trashing it would cost the local council the jobs of collecting it and putting it in landfill, which is getting scarce.  So the total cost of getting a new one would be income for some people.

Getting someone to mend my microwave would be income for the mender – his coming-out fee and six-minutes’ work. It would make less for the economy than trashing it – or would it?

My toaster was on the blink. I chucked it in the rubbish and bought  a new one.  Was the economy helped more than if someone had mended it?

I live in a house, which I refuse to sell. It makes nothing for the economy. If I sold it, I would make some money, the estate agent would make money, the wrecker would make money, the builder of a McMansion on my property would make money and so would all his subcontractors and their workmen and makers of parts for the house.  The buyer of the McMansion would perhaps take out a mortgage and the bank would make money. The McMansion would need more maintenance, cleaning, central heating and air-conditioning than my present house requires.  Selling my house would boost the economy. Not selling my house but living in it would not help the economy hardly at all.

I live in my house and don’t want to go to a retirement village or nursing home. If I did go, it would make money for lots of people, who look after old people ,from the operators and the care workers to the people who look after the financing of it all.

But we need to have jobs in preventing waste, not making more.

There are plenty of things needing to be done, without wasting.  All infrastructure needs vast improvement – repairs and innovation, in water supply conservation, sewage, transport and energy supplies. Sewerage systems can be restructured and rebuilt to stop the current appalling waste of our most renewable fertilizer, and enabling salvage of heavy metals and re-use of grey water at source. For transport, there is the invention, manufacture and maintenance of more types of vehicles that do not waste, pollute and endanger.    Housing and community environments are needed that are decent for everyone. Our present spate of development is building wastefully designed houses that pile up future problems. There are many aspects of rural Australia which need improving. How can the land be fertilized without pollution and run-off problems? What food sources can be easily grown that least deplete soils?  What are the best ways to conserve marine and forest resources, and make it possible for wildlife to survive? Landcare needs many workers;  you cant just plant trees and leave them.

Can we develop plants that withstand climate changes, poor soils and droughts? Preserve Australian unique flora and fauna?

Pest and weed eradication needs manpower more than chemicals. Can we find uses for pests and weeds, since they abound and are hardy, and that need manpower rather than chemicals to control? For example, not just cull – a temporary measure – but get rid of feral camels, using aboriginal desert know-how and skills, and making use of all bits of the camel.  How can we develop cheap means of taking camel products from the places of killing to a centre for distribution?

Can we prevent fires and develop less flammable forests and understoreys? Is a less destructive defence than fire possible against wildfires?

The greatest conservation challenge is to reverse deserts and speed the biological processes that can crumble rocks into soils.

Australian manufacture of products that are more innovative, renovatable, reliable, updatable, durable, beautiful, recyclable and less wasteful has the extra advantage of reducing the increasing freight costs from overseas.  Manufacturing techniques will conserve resources. There will be innovation in artistic and other cultural products of each country that are distinctive and contribute to variety and beauty in life in the world.  Fashions will be beautiful, useful, durable and comfortable, and designed to suit different needs, because they will be geared to the changing population

Research in many fields will be increased, rather than cut. For example, technology will be from renewable non-polluting energy sources, and innovative intermediate technology will be exported as well as for domestic use, using solar, wind, and well-geared human-power (exercise).

Retailing at present is a source of waste.  Most things in shops will be in waste-bins within two years.  Fresh foods are wasted that are not sold the first few days.  Retailers prefer to sell large appliances because the profits are greater, and hence have no call to sell innovative low technology.  As freight costs and petrol costs grow, retail can change to allow more local shopping. Local councils can sponsor local ‘Australia’ shops that advertise locally-made goods. And people ought to respond by buying them. ‘Conservation Shops’ can stock and repair only conservation products. Salvage shops and centres can find uses and salvage for everything at present thrown daily out of shops, homes and building sites, and annually as hard rubbish.

If housekeeping is sustainable and saves waste,  that will be more essential for our economy than markets that produce waste. Sustainable households will need more manpower and womanpower.

Services will include education that is lifelong to produce resilient, enterprising and idealistic adults; Childcare that is leisurely, for less herding and more freedom; Services include decent care for children, the disabled, sick, handicapped and elderly.  This will need three times the labor force than we allocate at present, and opportunities to develop services further. Entertainment programs can be produced that are as fine as possible, giving visions for the future.

Work share can reduce the load on the increasingly overworked work force, while the unemployed will be employed for the dole. Services to the public will be improved everywhere, as a priority.  ‘Invention sabbaticals’ and holidays for workers will help to develop ideas and innovations

Conditions of work can be rationalized. Once it was thought we should only need to work 20 hours a week.  Why not?  Today we have people working 48 hours plus, and others hardly working or not at all.  Skills and retraining can be organized better.