Inflatable electric car

Inflatable structures have always fascinated me. They can achieve amazing strength to weight ratios, and only take up space when required. At Instructables, I often sit on an inflated ball!: https://www.instructables.com/id/Ergonomic-work-station/ So, I've fantasized about an inflated car that's just as safe as something more massive, but weighs a mere fraction -- deflate to store or park!

XP Vehicles is stepping up and trying to make it real with a direct-ship sub-$5000 electric car:

A baffled pressure tube system (think Zodiac rubber boat) provides the actual supporting and protective structure of the vehicle. How safe is it? Recall that NASA recently threw tens of millions of dollars of ultra-sensitive electronics onto the surface of Mars from nearly a mile up and then bounced that same delicate gear for over a mile over boulders and everything worked flawlessly.

This was due to the instruments being shrouded in an already expanded inflatable housing that has served as the model for the Whisper body structure. Anyone looking at the warnings on their visor can be concerned about the dangers during airbag inflation so XP simply built a vehicle entirely out of next-generation, always inflated, safety airbags. The engineers for the Whisper are confident you can drive it off a 25-foot cliff without serious injury to its passengers. They claim this is the safest car ever designed for drivers, passengers and pedestrians.

Initially designed for the Southeast and Western Asian markets, the car will float in an emergency such as a flood or tsunami and can be assembled by any two people of reasonable competence. The vehicle, similar in appearance to rounded edged sports cars, will be configurable online by each customer much like you build and customize personal computers online today at various major retailers. Colors, trims, features, and styles will be user-configurable on 4 different body-types.

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CameronSS9 years ago
It seems that they'd need to blanket it in Kevlar--neoprene and nylon aren't going to stop twisted, jagged steel at 140 mph closing speed. I'm sure it's a lot tougher than a wading pool, and it obviously worked on Mars (Those rovers are now a few years past their 90-day warranty), but regardless of the cellular construction, it seems that jagged car bits would slice right through it into the occupants.
SteveGerber9 years ago
If everyone were driving inflatable cars I wonder if we would see any undesirable changes in driving behavior, like more people cutting each other off or continuing to drive on icy roads when they shouldn't or literally wedging the car into parallel parking spaces, due to a perception of increased safety and indestructibility? It might get to be like a bumper car rink out on the highway. :(
KentsOkay9 years ago
Even some one working at McDonald's could afford that! Can't wait till they come out...
not really, at teched class we calculated that if you were paid minimum wage that you would have only 120 dollars left over every month (due to paying for food, clothing, and apartment, we assumed you had to walk there or something and you couldn't afford a car). lets say you buy a tv, that might set you back a couple of months. If you're a kid then maybe (don't have to worry about stuff like food clothes or where to live)
leemac9 years ago
Really innovative idea....
Goodhart9 years ago
An automobile that is its own airbag....I like that...no more being smacked in the face with that stupid bag....just buckle up and you're good to go. :-)
guyfrom7up9 years ago
Cool, gut I don't know if it'll ever catch on in developed countries. EVERYONE would have to buy one, and I don't think it'll happen (3000 is CHEAP though). For example, if the whole us converted to some weird new fuel, everyone would have to get a new car. And during the transistion period it'd be very unsafe. Like you must get an air car by 2015. But from now to then it'd be pretty dangerous for the air car people I can so see this in a movie soon.
Labot20019 years ago
cool. i've never heard of inflatable vehicles, but i do like the sound of alternative fuels, and this one actually looks pretty sweet.
SteveGerber9 years ago
Seems like we would all be a lot safer if we were ALL driving these. But I wonder how it would fair in a major collision with an all steel vehicle? Ideally it would just bounce off the steel vehicle, but what happens if the air tubes get sliced or popped in a collision? Then you would be left with no protection at all and get squashed like a bug right?