Sunday, April 13, 2008

Tango in winter

A few years ago, I was in Atlanta killing time and saw a fascinating video of a tiny car tearing along, kicking up dust and leaves, racing motorcycles, and parking perpendicular to the curb. The Tango by Commuter Cars Corporation is that car. George Clooney is a fan, as well.

Rick Woodbury, the Commuter Car Guy, became one of my LinkedIn links, and has begun sharing some information with me. When I wondered how The Tango might do in our more inclement seasons here in the Midwest, here's his reply (the boldface text):

On Apr 8, 2008, at 4:19 PM, Tim Ferris wrote:
Good stuff--would it be appropriate to share it with others by sticking it up on a blog or two, like and

Sure. Go for it. Thanks

I like the fact that the car is way safer than a bike and has all its weight down low. I think it can adapt to bad-weather conditions here and further north.

Our first prototype handled Quebec's ice and snow pretty much like any other car with rear wheel drive. The Tango weighs 3,050 lbs and being very small for its weight can therefore push proportionately more snow. It's virtually unaffected by crosswinds even on a snow-covered road because of its tiny profile to the wind in relation to it's weight and center of mass.

For lead acid batteries range per charge will depend on keeping the batteries warm. If they are allowed to cool off to 14 deg F, they will only deliver 80% of what they would at 77 deg F. The following table is taken from Hawkers data sheet available at:

Deg F. Deg. C % of capacity 77 deg F. (25 deg. C)
77 25 100%
50 10 95%
32 0 90%
14 -10 80%
-4 -20 70%
-22 -30 45%
-40 -40 30%

The battery box is insulated which will keep the thermal mass of the batteries warm for a considerable time. There will be battery heating too so that if plugged in to a charger the batteries will stay warm.

NiMH and Li-Ion batteries have much better properties when cold. We'll publish their specifications when they're available.

Thanks again for your continued interest.

Best wishes,


Rick Woodbury Phone: (509) 624-0762
President, Commuter Cars Corp. Fax: (509) 624-1466715
E. Sprague Ave., Suite 70 Cell: (509) 979-1815
Spokane, WA 99202

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