Thursday, July 15, 2010

I. Want. This. Car.

Last week I was commuting to work in my 1999 Pontiac Firebird. It's a V6 and gets about the same gas mileage as our Honda Odyssey minivan which my wife has dubbed "The Firebus". While stopped at a long light I observed that almost all the other cars around me were similar in that they were gas-powered passenger cars with a single occupant, the driver.

How wasteful, I thought to myself, to have all these vehicles built to hold 5 to 7 people all packed together but holding only a single person. I found myself wishing for a vehicle for personal conveyance that was literally no bigger than I absolutely needed. I imagined myself inside an enclosed version of the Segway.

Fast forward to this morning.  Upon checking my daily Good News update from Ode Magazine, I learned about the Tango.

This car is pretty much exactly what I imagined.  Only wide enough to encapsulate a driver, although it has a passenger seat directly behind the driver - say for dropping a child at soccer practice.  It's electric, so zero gas consumption.  A single battery charge will take you 80 miles, more than long enough for me to get to work, run a couple errands over lunch, and return home at the end of the day.  It has more torque than a Viper.  It's top speed is 135mph and has beat a Shelby Mustang.  I'm never going to need to go that fast!  It does 0-60 in 12 seconds. 

But my imaginary SUV-driving devil's advocate immediately shoots me down, "It's so tiny, there's no way it's safe."

Au contraire, mon mama du futbol!  This thing is stacked with safety features.  In fact, it has four times the side impact protection of an SUV.  Four times.  Its center of gravity is only inches off the ground, making rollovers quite improbable!  And if you did happen to rollover in a Tango, it's built around a rollover safety cage that would make a NASCAR driver sleep easy. 

The cost?  Tango has two models that run under $20,000.  Their other model - the one George Clooney drives - is out of my personal price range (+$100,000).

The only question I'm left with is: What's the sound system like?

Incidentally, in my research for this blog post I discovered there is now an enclosed version of the Segway.  It's a collaboration between Segway and GM called the EN-V, and it looks very cool!  It only travels about 25mph and there's no way it's safety rated for the road, but with development it probably could be.  For now, I'm going to continue imagining myself in a Tango.  As long as our family has the trusty Firebus for traveling and getting the 6 of us around, I'd gladly trade my Firebird for a Tango T600.  Today.

1 comment:

  1. And you could just imagine if all lone drivers drive cars like this. Less traffic, less fuel consumption, less pollution - hah, everything seems less with this one. With everything that you need in a small package (well, the basic ones anyway, like getting from Point A to Point B), what's not to love about this car?


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