Going green transport

Vehicle efficiency

My old mate Brian once described his car as being an air-conditioner on wheels.

Which got me thinking. When I go for a drive on my own, the engine in my car is moving me (75 Kg) and the car itself (1356 Kg). Therefore 94% of the energy involved is spent moving the car. It’s only marginally better if I have passengers.

An SUV such as a Ford Territory weighs about 50% more, so 96% of the energy is moving the car.

Of course, there’s a lot more to fuel efficiency than weight. A 3-car train weighs about 120 tonnes (so even if it’s full of people, the weight barely changes), but it’s still more efficient (in terms of both energy and emissions) than a similar number of cars. Ditto for trams:

The Combino light rail vehicle is about the same energy efficiency as a Porsche Carrera GT; the Porsche seats 2, the Combino seats 67 and can carry 180. The efficiency advantage is huge, though the Porsche obviously accelerates better and has a higher top speed!
James Strickland

So there you go. Just close your eyes the next time you’re on the tram and pretend you’re in a Porsche instead.

… Well, if that’s your thing and you actually think sports cars are cool.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

2 replies on “Vehicle efficiency”

140 passengers on a Citadis tram, as in Yarra Trams advertising, or 180 on a light rail Combino tram is perhaps possible. Break it down a bit. Three parts to a Citadis tram so that I can visualise, 46 persons per section. Combino sections are smaller, but there are five of them, 36 persons per section. I think these are known in the trade as ‘crush loads’, acceptable perhaps for special events such as a journey from an MCG football match to Flinders Street Station but if you had to travel regularly in crowds like this, you would be looking for any means of private transport.

Makes me think though, what is a comfortable load for these trams? More than half the figures but less than two thirds perhaps. The point stands regardless though.

unfortunately, many people don’t want to put up with the peak-time crush on the train/tram. Nor do they want to endure standing on a Richmond platform in winter darkness waiting for a non-existent “connecting service”.
I guess I’ll continue to put up with the public transport system until I can afford a Porsche!

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