Safety has been one of the top priorities while developing the TriTrack. The TriTrack is very lightweight. Unloaded and without the battery mule, it is 400 lbs, with the battery it is less than 1,200 lbs. The reason why we can keep the TriTrack so lightweight compared to traditional cars is that it is built like an airplane. The strength of the structure is in the outer honeycomb shell rather than in a heavy steel frame. New technologies are worthless if they don't protect what’s most important. That's why safety is the most important part of the efficient vehicle design. Our impact resistant composite safety cage, which acts like a cocoon around passengers, is at the core of every TriTrack. Additionally, TriTrack composites are strong and tough, so they are less likely to crush during impact. In fact, our composites distribute the force across the body instead of bending like steel during an accident. Lighter the vehicle less damage it makes in case of the accident compared to heavier vehciles as the same speed.
TriTrack is designed to be a highly efficient, very safe car. But an assumption many people make is that a small, lighter car is less safe and that a big, heavy SUV is more safe. Wrong. In a 2004 New Yorker article Malcolm Gladwell completely demolishes, so to speak, this assumption. In Big and Bad: How the SUV ran over automobile safety he shows that while an SUV may be safer if you run head-on into something (“passive safety”), the problem is the trouble a heavy vehicle has in accident avoidance (“active safety”), ie, swerving and stopping. As he says, “The beneﬁts of being nimble – of being in an automobile that’s capable of staying out of trouble – are in many cases greater than the beneﬁts of being big.” This concept is backed up by research: in An Analysis of Traffic Deaths by Vehicle Type and Model scientists from Michigan and Berkeley conclude “…utility vehicles (SUVs) are not necessarily safer for their drivers than cars; on average they are as risky as the average midsize or large car, and no safer than many of the most popular compact and subcompact models” and that “when one considers the combined risk, including those killed in the other vehicle in two-vehicle crashes, then the safest subcompact and compact models are actually safer than the average SUV”. Perhaps the most interesting concept in Big and Bad is the importance of an awareness of your surroundings – and your own vulnerability – that comes with a small or normal-sized car, compared with the feeling of invulnerability an SUV conveys: “Jettas are safe because they make their drivers feel unsafe. S.U.V.s are unsafe because they make their drivers feel safe. That feeling of safety isn’t the solution; it’s the problem.”
Convenience is another major priority for the TriTrack. It is all well and good to design an extremely safe car, but if it is too impractical or inconvenient, then nobody will drive it and it doesn't help anything.
The problem with limiting speeds is that people want to get where they're going faster, not slower. Nobody likes sitting in traffic, and who wants to add time to their daily commute? When on the guideway (proposed to be build in the near future), the TriTrack can move at a much faster pace. The slow speeds on the ground are more than made up for when on the guideway.
Ideally, from anywhere in the city, you will be no more than a half mile from the nearest guideway ramp. This ensures that the majority of your travel is on the high-speed guideway and you're not stuck in traffic on the ground.
Another inconvenience is having to stop to re-fuel or recharge. This is a major drawback of most clean-powered cars available today because it limits the cars' range. The current range of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles is 70-75 miles and for Liquified Petroleum Gas (CPG) vehicles, 170 miles. Because the distance a TriTrack travels on the ground is relatively short and because you always pick up a fresh battery mule when you get off the guideway, you have virtually infinite range and never have to stop to re-fuel. The smaller battery that is used to maintain speed on the guideway is quickly charged on the fly by the battery mule, so you don't have to stop to recharge it either.
When a car is designed to hold a full day's (or week's) worth of power, it requires an incredibly large battery. The car's structure then must be stronger to support it, and thus heavier. A heavy car is not as energy efficient when it comes to moving people, and so range and performance are dropped, and it costs more to replace the batteries.
Although TriTrack is a revolutionary approach to a tough problem for energy and pollution, at its manufacturing core is an evolutionary manufacturing paradigm for replacing heavy steel with stronger more resilient autoclaved composites. In the simplest of terms TriTrack bakes vehicle bodies like cookies to form a one part car body that is bigger and stronger and tougher than anything before on the automotive market. Designing the vehicle to be a fiber composite material is also evolutionary as the heavy steel frame and rubber mounted body gave way to the steel unibody with sub-frame to full unibody. One piece composite bodies can now be full unibody and because of the reduced weight and measured overload detection by the computer the ancillary parts will be much lighter and strength appropriate for this evolution in construction. Taking semiconductor bonding technology into the automotive world resins can be manipulated with temperature profiles from birth to full cure so that shapes may be formed along the resin hardening stages allowing materials to be first mixed extremely precisely. Without giving out too much about processing the resins are used in all their states from two parts with additives tweaking the final properties and safety features to fully hard 40 year life resilient material.
A big part of not annoying air is keeping it from entering the car except as necessary, such as for cooling. Contemporary cars often have oversize grills and usually exposed wheel wells: both allow air to enter and bang around inside the car. The car grabs this air and accelerates it to the speed the car is traveling and the energy for this comes from the engine. Drag coefficient (Cd) might be the headline number but to know actual drag you need to factor in this frontal area. When Cd and frontal area are multiplied together, the product, CdA, allows you to directly compare different cars. It turns out a Hummer H2 (which not only is huge but also has a terrible aerodynamic shape) has about 12 times the drag of the TriTrack. Even a Prius, a car with a very good Cd (.25), has almost three times our drag. At TriTrack Motors we take great care and pride in making only definite and supportable claims about our car. The overall goal in aerodynamic efficiency is a car that moves through the air with minimal effort. The ultimate would be if the only drag was the friction of air against the car’s body. That perfection may be unattainable, but the TriTrack comes close.