Students Create Inexpensive Electric Car | Summary and Q&A

June 2, 2010
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Students Create Inexpensive Electric Car

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In this video, Stanford University showcases their solution for short-distance personal mobility. They present a vehicle that has a range of 16 miles, drive-by-wire steering, and a price tag below $10,000. The vehicle eliminates the need for gas stations, as it can be charged using any standard electric outlet. The unique design allows for two passengers to sit front to back, similar to a Vespa scooter, and features brushless hub motors for increased space and a wide-open design.

Questions & Answers

Q: How does the vehicle's drive-by-wire steering work?

The vehicle's drive-by-wire steering system allows for easy maneuverability. Instead of a traditional steering wheel, it is controlled with a gearbox. This gearbox can be operated using a single hand, making it feel like playing a video game. With just small flicks, the driver can make precise steering adjustments.

Q: How is Stanford University able to keep the price of the vehicle below $10,000?

Stanford University has managed to significantly reduce the cost of the vehicle by implementing various cost-saving measures. They carefully select materials that strike a balance between affordability and durability. Additionally, they optimize their manufacturing processes to minimize wastage and maximize efficiency. These cost-cutting efforts enable them to offer the vehicle at an accessible price point.

Q: How does the vehicle eliminate the need for gas stations?

The vehicle offers a convenient solution by allowing users to charge it using any standard electric outlet. This means that instead of relying on traditional gas stations, users can charge their vehicle in their own garage or any other location with an available electric outlet. By tapping into existing infrastructure, the vehicle ensures that users have the flexibility and convenience of a gas station right at their fingertips.

Q: What are the controls and features of the vehicle?

The vehicle is equipped with various controls and features to enhance the driving experience. There is a switch for forward and reverse movement, allowing easy switching of directions. Additionally, there are lights that can be turned on or off as needed. These simple and intuitive controls ensure that users can easily operate the vehicle without any complex learning curves.

Q: What sets this vehicle apart from others in the market?

The vehicle stands out due to its unique design and distinctive features. Unlike traditional cars, it is seated front to back, allowing one person in the front and one person in the back on both sides. This design is similar to riding a Vespa scooter and provides a more interactive experience for passengers. Furthermore, the vehicle is open-air, providing a sense of freedom and connection with the surroundings. The integration of brushless hub motors, commonly used in electric scooters, saves space and simplifies the motor design. Overall, these characteristics combine to create a stylish and innovative vehicle.

Q: How does the use of brushless hub motors benefit the vehicle?

The use of brushless hub motors in the vehicle brings several advantages. Firstly, hub motors are directly integrated into the wheels, which eliminates the need for additional space in the chassis. This results in a more compact and streamlined design. Secondly, brushless hub motors are known for their efficiency, allowing for a more economical use of electrical power and longer range on a single charge. Finally, the integration of hub motors ensures smoother and quieter operation, enhancing the overall driving experience.

Q: Can you explain the wide-open design mentioned in the video?

The wide-open design of the vehicle refers to its overall appearance and construction. The vehicle has been designed in such a way that it offers a spacious and unobstructed view. This means that the driver and passengers have a clear line of sight in all directions, enhancing safety and visibility on the road. The absence of unnecessary barriers or bulkiness further contributes to the openness of the design, giving it a modern and sleek aesthetic.

Q: How can interested individuals learn more about Stanford University's vehicle?

For more detailed information about Stanford University's vehicle and its features, interested individuals can visit The official website provides comprehensive resources and additional insights into the design, technology, specifications, and potential applications of the vehicle. It is an excellent platform to explore further and get a deeper understanding of the innovation presented by Stanford University.

Q: Are there any other advantages or benefits of the vehicle worth mentioning?

Yes, in addition to its unique design and features, the vehicle offers several other advantages. Firstly, its compact size makes it perfect for navigating congested urban areas, as it takes up less space on the road and during parking. Secondly, the electric powertrain ensures zero emissions, making it an environmentally friendly option. Furthermore, the lower operating costs compared to traditional gasoline-powered vehicles make it a cost-effective transportation solution. These advantages, along with its stylish design, make the vehicle a compelling choice for short-distance personal mobility.

Q: How does Stanford University envision the use of this vehicle?

Stanford University envisions this vehicle as a solution for short-distance personal mobility. It is designed to cater to individuals who need to travel relatively short distances within a range of 16 miles. It serves as an alternative to traditional cars, providing a more convenient and cost-effective option. Whether it is commuting to work, running errands, or exploring the city, the vehicle offers a practical and efficient means of transportation.

Q: What are some potential future applications of this vehicle?

The potential applications of this vehicle extend beyond personal mobility. Due to its compact size and maneuverability, it could find utility in various commercial settings. For instance, it could be used for delivery services, ensuring quick and efficient transportation of goods in urban areas. Additionally, it could serve as a cost-effective solution for shared mobility services, such as ride-hailing or short-term rentals. The versatility of the vehicle opens up opportunities for diverse use cases, making it a valuable asset in today's evolving transportation landscape.


Stanford University has developed a unique solution for short-distance personal mobility. Their vehicle offers a range of 16 miles and incorporates drive-by-wire steering for easy maneuverability. By keeping the price below $10,000, it becomes an accessible option for a wider audience. The vehicle eliminates the need for gas stations as it can be charged using any standard electric outlet. The seating arrangement, open-air design, and integration of brushless hub motors contribute to its distinctive and stylish appeal. The wide-open design ensures enhanced visibility and safety. With its innovation and versatility, the vehicle has the potential to redefine personal transportation in both urban and commercial environments.

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