Author Topic: Style-D Piana  (Read 10892 times)

Rusty Chrome (Malcolm Parker)

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Style-D Piana
« on: October 29, 2015, 09:41:51 pm »
A new electric car with a somewhat familiar appearance for the Tokyo motor show.

http://www.style-d.jpn.com/pdf/pianacatalog.pdf
https://youtu.be/pp7knF4aHoM
Malcolm
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steven mandell

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Re: Style-D Piana
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2015, 09:05:29 am »
A four wheeled Tielhol Citadiene.
Even comes in copy cat  shades of the original electric's pastel blue and yellow hues.
Would be interesting to know the translations.

Just saw a new semi production ready ultralight micro at the Los Angeles Intl Auto Show today.   
It is called "Spira"
 Extremely innovative use of cheap composite and foam panel construction.   Only weighs in at about 300 lbs with a 150 cc scooter engine, and decent crash energy absorption properties, as well as an airbag.

Created by a local resident, and built in China.  Truely revolutionary, although in its present iteration it needs further refinement.   The owner actually appreciated my suggestions as to how to substantially further strengthen the spartan chassis and body with minimal  work and materials.
Minimalist but potentially adequately functional with extremely simplistic construction taking advantage of most modern lightweight and cheap materials and assembly technique.  The chassis is formed from 1/2" honeycomb polyethylene (think recycled water and soda bottles) sandwich sheets that are bent and glue gun welded to themselves.
Body panels are either simple plastic, or unfinished deep thick Styrofoam that simply bolts on and off in cases of damage.
Great concepts, but needing refinement of fitting at this stage.
Intended price point of $6,100  not likely to do well against the incredibly good $6,800 price of the air conditioned Elio.   And this 3 wheeled fully highway capable competition, has its two wheels on the correct end of the car.

Wish my extra megapixel smart phone camera would allow me to post the pictures I took. :'(
« Last Edit: November 27, 2015, 09:41:20 am by steven mandell »

Big Al

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Re: Style-D Piana
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2015, 10:47:03 am »
http://www.spira4u.com

Now that looks much more interesting than most of the stylists computer graphics. Its a hands on production. Bit like a modern Type 70/Tippen Delta.

Do you really believe the Elio is going to make full production, Steve? It looks horribly like a pipe dream collecting orders to me.
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AndrewG

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Re: Style-D Piana
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2015, 01:01:04 pm »
I like the little opening in the left side as though it was a stile on a footpath.  I had already thought that if i were driving, I couldn't lift my foot high enough to get it over the side, and then saw it wouldn't be necessary!

Rusty Chrome (Malcolm Parker)

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Re: Style-D Piana
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2015, 01:38:11 pm »
Good to see the Spira has moved forward, it has been around for a while, but like so many of these projects, the transition from good idea on to any kind of series production is always the hardest step.
Malcolm
Bond Mk D - "The Bond Minicar solves your problem"
Nobel 200 - "Almost as cheap as breathing!"

DaveMiller

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Re: Style-D Piana
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2015, 02:37:30 pm »
I like the little opening in the left side as though it was a stile on a footpath.  I had already thought that if i were driving, I couldn't lift my foot high enough to get it over the side, and then saw it wouldn't be necessary!

Yes, nice little "gap".   But it raises the same question as Messerschmitts do:  why, in a machine designed for driving on the right, do you make the driver get out in the middle of the road??

AndrewG

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Re: Style-D Piana
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2015, 04:31:27 pm »
why, in a machine designed for driving on the right, do you make the driver get out in the middle of the road??
I have always suspected that this was because a car driver would find the gearshift in the usual position and not blocking the doorway.  I was told that was why the Carver had its door on the left which obviously suited UK owners.

Big Al

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Re: Style-D Piana
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2015, 06:08:25 pm »
why, in a machine designed for driving on the right, do you make the driver get out in the middle of the road??
I have always suspected that this was because a car driver would find the gearshift in the usual position and not blocking the doorway.  I was told that was why the Carver had its door on the left which obviously suited UK owners.

Unlike the price, sadly.

Schmitt, depends which side of the road you driving? For me I would rather be in control of what I am opening my dome into then have some blind burk drive into it. A Schmitt has always been narrow enough to leave space to get out within the width of other parked cars. So its only if you are single parked need you be exposed. After all the Continental version is equipped with a parking light, which we Brits still do not insist on, interestingly.

The Spira style seems to be replaced by a door on the later car. Not had time to examine the whole presentation, but seeing some real cars is hopeful. It does seem like its not being designed for our roads though.
Messerschmitt set, Goggo Darts, Heinkel 175, Fiat Jolly, Autobianchi, Fairthorpe Electron Minor, Borgward, Isuzu Trooper
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steven mandell

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Re: Style-D Piana
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2015, 05:23:27 am »
Yes the newer one has its door on the same side as you are used to driving from, although the tiller seems centrally pivoted.
However it's need for finishing school is apparent here also, as I was warned not to push off from the door upon exiting, and noticed enough play in the hinges to require that you lift the door up while closing it.  Rather reminiscent of a very worn Lotus Europa door pivot, but this one was still preproduction.
Other aspects similarly unrefined still.
E.G. Whilst viewing the simplistic folded and hot glue gun bonded Sandwich composite board based chassis,  I noticed that little or no thought had been given to engineering a proper crush zone or safety cell for the frontal crush zone to protect.   It was all very inspirational in terms of efficient use of light weight and in expensive materials.  But forget Computer simulations- I could visualize simple improvements without even benefit of an engineering degree.
It would be nice to see the car benefit from top notch crash resistance analysis and additional / redesign.

If you doubt the need for this, look at the SAE sponsored offset frontal crash test on their website.
The video ends just an instant after recording the damage.  I don't blame them for doing this, as the damage is horrific.  Better engineering could create a frontal crush zone that would allow for progressive G absorption whilst preserving a safety cell for the occupant. 
They are already using the right materials.  Perhaps another 10 or 20 lbs of it at most, is all that would be needed to make this a reasonably safe package.

steven mandell

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Re: Style-D Piana
« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2015, 05:40:34 am »
http://www.spira4u.com


Do you really believe the Elio is going to make full production, Steve? It looks horribly like a pipe dream collecting orders to me.

That is what I thought until laying eyes and hands on one at the Auto Show.  It is a very solid fully developed and well finished vehicle.  It also showed virtually no side sway when I pushed hard against the rear side panel as a test of its lateral stability.   In my experience this plus its long wheel base translates into a stable riding vehicle. 
The rep quoted .85 G prior to initiation of skidding, and 1.85 Gs needed to initiate roll over.  So not high performance sports car numbers, but certainly respectable normal car performance.  84 m.p.g.  probably just a few m.p.g. optimistic from their all original purpose built 3 cylinder 900 cc engine.  I also like its having a 5 speed stick, and AC as standard equipment.

The topper is that the rep said that they already have 55,000  orders.
If anything were to happen to my 2000 Honda Insight that I've had since new-  make that 55,001.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2015, 05:42:15 am by steven mandell »

Big Al

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Re: Style-D Piana
« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2015, 08:41:13 am »
Sounds to me like they need to get some engines that they were going to use and get some units out. I would a wary buyer of a new engine from a new manufacturer, anyway. The poor old Smart turned out to have a unit with an average low life span. That effects your wish to purchase. Hard use saw 50k, seems 100k is unusual. I accept its a city/urban car but its not what I expect with access to modern technology. if they had got the engine right, like remotely serviceable by anyone other than expensive garages, I could have lived with the other problems and it would have been a great modern Micro replacement. But out where I live - no. Believe it or not a real Mini does a better job!

The Elio is going to suffer for its excess size - if it were here. But in the USA that could be a winning hand. Bigger roads, bigger distances and folk used to bigger cars. It will be seen. Fo Britain there is great advantage in being narrow, as you can nip down gaps others cannot in their modern trucks. The old Trooper is surprisingly narrow and does well. A Schmitt in harmony with its driver can pull off extraordinarily cheeky stunts, akin to a motorcycle. Be good to have a known persons report on ownership of an Elio.
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steven mandell

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Re: Style-D Piana
« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2015, 06:00:42 pm »
I too was a bit put off by what appears to be excessive length of the Elio.
However, if their rep is to be telling the truth, at 13.5 feet, it is just the length of a compact two seater 4 wheeled car, and the appearance of extended length must then be attributed to its narrow track.
Can't help but wonder if it would corner better with a wider track for very little extra materials to mount the front suspension a few more inches outboard.
However, it should make for a smooth ride, and better slip through your narrower streets as is.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2015, 06:03:07 pm by steven mandell »

AndyL

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Re: Style-D Piana
« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2015, 10:13:38 pm »
I think Smart cars are driven pretty hard, as they're fairly heavy (about 100 pounds heavier than a mini!) for their engine size.

Also on the original turbo charged model, the oil had to be changed by drawing it out- there was no sump plug, what a great idea! I wonder how often the oil was changed?

I've seen the Smart car engine's stripped down, they looked like fairly robust little units to me, so my thoughts are premature wear would most likely be down to a combination of lack of mechanical sympathy and poor maintenance.
1959 LHD 3-wheel Isetta.

Big Al

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Re: Style-D Piana
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2015, 08:45:08 am »
Certainly the 50k one had a very hard life. The oil issue was bone headed and to force owners into the dealer for overcharging. Given what the Japanese came up with for the Kew class cars I think its the golden raspberry to the Smart engine. The sporting models have drifted a long way from the small engine, which rather confirms its a bit of a clunker.
A properly tuned Mini round here would use a bit more fuel, but I think it would be faster, comfier and now as stylish. The Smart does stop when you want though, ever the Mini's big prob. Given prices for good ones, the Mini wins as its an investment better, and home maintained. Interesting 'innit?
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AndyL

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Re: Style-D Piana
« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2015, 09:38:15 am »
Mini's stop just fine when you fit 7.5" or 8.4" discs up front. Later drum brake cars were okay too, but you needed to keep the shoes well adjusted.

The a-series is still a fairly efficient design, and if tuned for economy will give many a modern lump a run for its money. It's main fault was the siamese inlet ports, where the outer cylinders which had a longer and more tortuous path to the combustion chamber would have to be set for a richer mixture than the inners as a result of increased wall wetting. This meant the inner cylinders got an overly rich mixture affecting both power and economy.

The answer is individual cylinder porting, which does make a big difference. Some creative individuals got around the fuel distribution issue by fuel injecting and some clever mapping to inject more fuel into the outers, and less for the inners. That deals with the power issue but not the economy.

Comparing a mini with a Smart is not entirely fair. The latter has to comply with modern day crash regulations and also market expectations of comfort and trim.  The mini was very close to optimal for a steel bodied car- it's extremely difficult to lighten one significantly whilst retaining a civilized vehicle.
1959 LHD 3-wheel Isetta.