Sandy Munro made another video on Tesla Battery Day for answering to his viewers' questions. He did clarify some doubts, but his real focus was on the projects he is currently working on. More specifically, in how safe his three-wheelers will be. That's key to make Tesla agree on selling components to them, according to our sources.
After Munro made an appeal in his last video for somebody at Tesla to get in touch, it seems things did not go that well. Tesla would have said it would not sell components to "inherently unsafe" vehicles. But are three-wheelers really like that or competent engineering could change that?
Munro made an effort to show he can make his projects as safe as possible. Of the 25 minutes of video, more than 15 were dedicated to proving these vehicles can not only protect their occupants: they may also be what electric mobility is currently lacking.
The engineer started with the Benz Patent-Motorwagen, considered as the first vehicle with a combustion engine and the precursor of personal mobility as we currently know it. Karl Benz would have chosen to make it with three wheels because it was all he needed to get the vehicle going. All a plane – in geometry terms – demands is three points. Two points lead you solely to a line segment.
Buckminster Fuller gave Munro another example of a remarkable three-wheeler, the Dymaxion Car, which you can see above and in his video. If we are to look at the future, George Jetson's car also has three wheels when it was not flying. Although he is not working with Aptera, he also mentioned it as an excellent example of a three-wheeler.
That frugality is essential to electric vehicles, according to Munro. They weigh less, which implies a more extended range, but not only that. Production costs are also lower for them since they use fewer components and are less complex to build. They can even afford to use lighter and, eventually, more expensive materials and still have a low cost of manufacturing.
Another central point in their defense is that they do not demand as much space as a regular car. The Nobe 100GT can be parked on walls, as we have already shown our readers. Jason Torchinsky, from Jalopnik, was not able to test that, but he visited Munro, took a picture of the Changli side by side with the nostalgic EV, and shared it on Twitter.
Munro did not mention that, but three-wheelers also have less aerodynamic drag. Not only due to one less wheel, but also due to a smaller frontal area. That also translates into more energy efficiency. What the engineer did point out was that three wheels present less rolling resistance than four of them.
Although his projects will have all these advantages, he does not want to make them comply with FMVSS because the three-wheelers are meant for urban areas. That said, Munro does not expect them to drive on expressways, which makes complying with FMVSS an unnecessary cost.
The engineer says that maybe his vehicles will not be as robust as standard cars, but that they'll be way safer than a motorcycle, which is why he does not want them to be classified as three-wheeled bikes.
That was when Munro revealed he would first develop the Nobe Lilian, the convertible version of the 100GT, so that it will provide a base that is rigid enough for the hard-top for "extra safety," apart from the better dynamic behavior.
When he started to talk about the 100GT, Munro revealed all its body parts in a diagram that shows how simple it will be to build. He also mentioned how Nobe would not be able to do that in Estonia due to a fire that destroyed their shop, as you can see below.
Apart from giving his personal email address in search of investors to help him get Nobe manufacturing these cars, Munro also said he would put crush cans and airbags in them. These airbags will come out of the vehicle's seat belts. That is something Ford started selling in the 2010 Explorer but given up on offering this September.
In Nobe's case, these seat belts with incorporated airbags are something the engineer tried to offer in an aircraft Munro & Associates developed back in 2008, right when the housing bubble burst and started a terrible financial crisis. The Paradigm – as the airplane was called – never took off.
Concerning the danger that these cars may flip, Munro said he is also adopting ABS, stability control, and an air suspension to allow them to have anti-roll control. All that to make the car safe enough for any automaker to want to supply components for them – even Tesla.
Elon Musk already said Munro understands engineering publicly. If he stands by what he said, why would Tesla turn down helping the engineer by supplying components the company also keeps saying it is willing to sell? Wouldn't they trust the cars will be as safe as Munro said they would be?
If "no" is still Tesla's answer to these projects, the good news is that Volkswagen also said it is open to selling components. We are not sure about Lucid, but the powertrain on the Air is so impressive we think Munro and Peter Rawlinson should talk about that when they can.
Independent motor producers, such as Infinitum, Linear Labs, and Magnax, could also be on the list, but Munro is looking for something widely tested and known for reliability. We know he will get that, even if it is not from his first choice so far.
Source: Munro Live