Aliens offer The People of Earth automobiles (RAR!)

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Aliens offer The People of Earth automobiles (RAR!)

Post by Zor » 2018-04-07 12:25am

In this scenario an alien fleet arrives in earth orbit and offers to provide humanity with a solution to offset much of the global warming related problems, specifically by providing mankind with a bunch of solid automobiles.

Said Cars are 4.2 meters long, 1.75 meters wide and 1.5 meters tall, weigh 900 kilograms and have three wheels (two in front, one in the back) with a rounded body, two doors and a hatchback. They can comfortably seat four adult humans and come with air condition and wifi standard. They have above average crash survival due some clever internal structural stuff and the advanced alloys, polymers and composites of it's construction. It is powered by a pair of electric motors which draw power from 50kg of high density batteries (made from some fairly common elements), which are hold 20MJ of power per kilogram and can be recharged about 8,000 times before wearing out. It's top speed is limited to 225km/h. Each car also has WIFI systems, a high end speaker and a self driving mode. Basically if you don't feel like operating the vehicle, you can just put in a destination and the car will drive you there along the most efficient root. In case of theft it will drive itself back to it's owner if a request is given. They are robust and reliable with an estimated average lifespan of 30 years and require little maintenance over their lifespan.

The aliens offer to set up three factories the US, Japan and China, Two factories in the United Kingdom, France, India, Mexico and Nigeria and one factory in Canada, Peru, Brazil, Australia, Poland and Russia, adding up to 25 factories in total. Each factory takes up about 160,000 square meters can produce 512 cars a day every day day and night along with spare parts kids. Production is mostly automated, with component fabricators and robotic workers under the supervision of an Artificial Intelligence, which also handles processing orders and distributing cars (basically by having them Drive to their adress). All that needs to be done on the human end is that raw materials (ingots of steel, basic chemicals for polymers, etc) are fed in. Each is capable of maintaining itself. There are four conditions that the aliens have for these factories which roughly corresponds with their outlooks on matters.
  1. Each factory must be owned by the Government of the country that it is owned by. If it is sold to a private firm the AI will shut it down.
  2. The price of each car (new) is set at $10,000 USD, and can be adjusted for inflation that will go directly to the National Budget of the nation operating them. A special feature is in place which means that each citizen can only buy one car from the factory every 3 years. Cars can be sold used.
  3. 25% of all cars made are to be issued. Basically any adult citizen with a driver's license of the nations listed who does not not own a car can go to the local equivalent of a DMV, fill out some forms, pay $5 and be put on a list based on a first come first serve basis. Every forth car made will go to someone which has been put on a Waiting List. Each person can only be on the List once at a time and gets bumped off if they acquire an automobile by other means.
  4. Each Car will have the formal coal of arms/great seal of their country as the logo on the front, back and steering wheel.
The Aliens are honorable in their intentions.

What happens and what do you do?

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Re: Aliens offer The People of Earth automobiles (RAR!)

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-04-07 12:44pm

I snap one up, and save on my auto insurance, because it's legally a motorcycle under Georgia law.

Who could ask for anything more?
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Re: Aliens offer The People of Earth automobiles (RAR!)

Post by Formless » 2018-04-07 02:06pm

The aliens are retarded. It is a misconception to think that the majority of our global warming problem comes from cars and gasoline. Most of it comes from our electricity generation being primarily coal based. In fact, depending on where you live and how power is generated there, an electric car might not have a better or significantly better carbon footprint than a gasoline powered car because it still has to be recharged off the grid... and that electricity still comes from fossil fuel. AND there is the problem that electric cars always face, namely that our infrastructure needs updating before they can be massively adopted to begin with. Its useless to have an electric car if you can't recharge it while away from your home.

Granted, if these batteries are significantly better than the ones we currently have (and I am not knowledgeable enough to say for sure) that alone could help solve some of the storage problems that alternative energy schemes like solar power have always had. But still, if the aliens want to really help us solve global warming, they need to give us a better, cleaner way to power our electrical grids, like fusion power or something. Only then would electric cars be anything more than a bandaid.
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Re: Aliens offer The People of Earth automobiles (RAR!)

Post by Sea Skimmer » 2018-04-07 06:52pm

Coal is a problem but it's not a majority problem either, all power generation on earth is about 40% of CO2 emissions; and that's not all coal, even hydropower creates a net increase in CO2 emissions over state of nature due to destroying environments that absorb CO2 and having lots of debris rot in the resulting ponds. The CO2 cost of building the dams falls under industrial emissions which are pretty damn high too.

All transport is about 22% of emissions though, definitely not the overwhelming problem for global warming, though as a contribution to cancerous urban air pollution it's fraction is much.

The reality is even eliminating all power production CO2 emissions isn't enough to stabilize the climate. All power production and all transport would be.
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Re: Aliens offer The People of Earth automobiles (RAR!)

Post by Zixinus » 2018-04-08 08:38am

What about advanced recycling? We are making more trash and have megatons of the stuff because we can't do much more with it than burn it.
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Re: Aliens offer The People of Earth automobiles (RAR!)

Post by SCRawl » 2018-04-08 09:35am

The U.S. probably declines the offer from the aliens. It wouldn't surprise me if they would also pressure their trading partners to do the same, in the name of protecting their automobile sector (which would mostly die when faced with this kind of competition).
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Re: Aliens offer The People of Earth automobiles (RAR!)

Post by Swindle1984 » 2018-04-16 08:31am

SCRawl wrote:
2018-04-08 09:35am
The U.S. probably declines the offer from the aliens. It wouldn't surprise me if they would also pressure their trading partners to do the same, in the name of protecting their automobile sector (which would mostly die when faced with this kind of competition).
Although I'm sure we'd be more than happy to get examples of their batteries in order to reverse engineer them.

Of course, given that there would only be two factories, each producing about 500 cars a day, and modern automobile plants running on a 24 hour production cycle can build over 600 cars a day, and there's more than 50 such auto plants in the US alone, I really don't think they'd be worried about the competition. All the features the alien cars have to offer are already available, albeit in less advanced forms, and the only real issue here is price; $10,000 for a brand new car is a pretty damn good deal, especially with all those features. Still, they're small vehicles, and people are still going to want pickup trucks, SUV's, vans, jeeps, motorcycles, limos, utility vehicles (bucket trucks, fire trucks, ambulances, buses, and so on), etc. and there's going to be a large subset of the population wary of any gift horses brought by aliens, so competition from the aliens really doesn't seem like a factor here. I'd think we'd be more inclined to accept the offer in order to get examples of alien tech we can study; you also know that unscrupulous politicians (but I repeat myself) would do something along the lines of campaigning on the idea of how they 'fought' to pass legislation allowing these eco-friendly, inexpensive cars to be made for The Common Man(Tm), and the every fourth car going to someone on a waiting list ("we're helping those in poverty!") would help. Remember the nonsense about Obama phones? There's also a lot of people who couldn't really make use of a car even if it were affordable/free, because they live in an area that really doesn't have parking for cars and relies on public transportation; large parts of Europe, Japan, and major cities, for example.

The real problem here is that the cars are NOT eco-friendly, as advertised.

If we have to feed raw materials into the factory to build the cars, this really does absolutely nothing for the environment as it means we still have to mine, smelt, refine, etc. the materials. Rare earth elements typically require strip mining (due to being rarified and not in concentrated veins like metal ores) and treatment with hazardous chemicals to extract from the soil, which results in massive pits full of toxic materials, particularly in countries like China that don't give a crap about the environment. Given how prevalent REE's are in modern electronics and batteries, such as those used in current electric cars, I imagine they'd be just as prevalent in the alien batteries. So, yeah. The cars might be cheap and a little bit better than our modern cars in a few aspects (mainly the self-driving), but they do absolutely nothing to help the environment. Even if we ended usage of petroleum as an energy source entirely (except for use in older vehicles; you can still get leaded fuel for older cars in the US, even if we've switched to unleaded for all modern cars, for example. Even once all vehicles in production switched to electric, there'd still be people driving older vehicles around, due to cost, personal preference, distrust of alien tech, collectibility, specialist use, etc.), we'd still be using it for plastic production and other materials, so the aliens would need to offer an alternative to end that particular vector of pollution, and since the alien cars explicitly use large amounts of plastic in their production...

Really, if the aliens cared about the environment so much, they'd give us access to cheap energy production for our entire power grid, help us gain access to the rest of the solar system so we could mine it for resources and build factories in space instead of on Earth, and assist us in cleaning up the environment, such as trash pits, the plastic India and China keep dumping in the ocean, radioactive materials like Fukushima, and the aforementioned strip mines.
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Re: Aliens offer The People of Earth automobiles (RAR!)

Post by Titan Uranus » 2018-04-18 12:41am

Germany and South Korea can get fucked, I guess.
There's still a lot of money to be made converting these bikes into other types of vehicle and reverse-engineering them. Compact cars are not the end-all be all of the marketplace.

These factories only produce 4.675 million trikes, in a world that produced 73.5 million cars last year, with a projected 132.4 million motorcycles for this year. So it's not exactly the sort of thing that will destroy human industries. Hell, 14.92 million compact cars were produced last year, so even that industry won't be ruined.

225 kph is 139.8 mph, so it can't even replace the supercar market. The only interesting feature is the extreme range, approximately 2000 miles if it's similar to Tesla's alleged efficiency, and this car is lighter than their's. The self-driving feature is also useful.
And all of this is ignoring the fact that resources are going to be the bottleneck, not the physical production speed.

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Re: Aliens offer The People of Earth automobiles (RAR!)

Post by Zor » 2018-04-18 01:00pm

Swindle1984 wrote:
2018-04-16 08:31am

If we have to feed raw materials into the factory to build the cars, this really does absolutely nothing for the environment as it means we still have to mine, smelt, refine, etc. the materials. Rare earth elements typically require strip mining (due to being rarified and not in concentrated veins like metal ores) and treatment with hazardous chemicals to extract from the soil, which results in massive pits full of toxic materials, particularly in countries like China that don't give a crap about the environment. Given how prevalent REE's are in modern electronics and batteries, such as those used in current electric cars, I imagine they'd be just as prevalent in the alien batteries.
Ahem...
It is powered by a pair of electric motors which draw power from 50kg of high density batteries (made from some fairly common elements), which are hold 20MJ of power per kilogram and can be recharged about 8,000 times before wearing out.
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Re: Aliens offer The People of Earth automobiles (RAR!)

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-04-18 01:12pm

So, I assume the raw materials are also derived through means available to a post-scarcity society, with nil environmental impact, Zor?
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Re: Aliens offer The People of Earth automobiles (RAR!)

Post by Titan Uranus » 2018-04-18 05:43pm

U.P. Cinnabar wrote:
2018-04-18 01:12pm
So, I assume the raw materials are also derived through means available to a post-scarcity society, with nil environmental impact, Zor?
It kinda depends on what the elements are. Carbon and Silica? Not too hard to come by, nor that much environmental damage (comparatively.) If the common elements are Fluorine and Barium, that's a bit of a problem.
Zor wrote:
2018-04-18 01:00pm

Ahem...
It is powered by a pair of electric motors which draw power from 50kg of high density batteries (made from some fairly common elements), which are hold 20MJ of power per kilogram and can be recharged about 8,000 times before wearing out.
Zor
What common elements, Zor?



Also, the range would be 1,000 miles if the efficiency is similar to Tesla's claims, not 2,000.

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Re: Aliens offer The People of Earth automobiles (RAR!)

Post by Zor » 2018-04-18 07:44pm

U.P. Cinnabar wrote:
2018-04-18 01:12pm
So, I assume the raw materials are also derived through means available to a post-scarcity society, with nil environmental impact, Zor?
Put ore and ingots in one end and the AI will smelt them, process them and assemble them into components to assemble them into bigger components which get assembled into a car that rolls out the other end.

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Re: Aliens offer The People of Earth automobiles (RAR!)

Post by Formless » 2018-04-18 08:06pm

Titan Uranus wrote:What common elements, Zor?
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Re: Aliens offer The People of Earth automobiles (RAR!)

Post by Zor » 2018-04-19 03:48pm

Formless wrote:
2018-04-18 08:06pm
Titan Uranus wrote:What common elements, Zor?
Iron, Carbon, Aluminum, Silicon, Copper, Zinc, Sulfur, Tungsten and Molybdenum. The last three only require less than 500 grams each per car.

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Re: Aliens offer The People of Earth automobiles (RAR!)

Post by Sky Captain » 2018-04-20 08:13am

20 MJ/kg is a bit less than half the energy density of gasoline. Electric motors are better than 90 % efficient while car engine at best around 30 %. So in practice a 50 kg of these batteries would give better range than 50 kg of gasoline. Forget cars, these batteries are good enough to power electric airliners and long range ships. Aliens better build battery factories alone, we know how to make cars. Using such high end batteries for glorified Reliant Robin is a waste of resources.

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Re: Aliens offer The People of Earth automobiles (RAR!)

Post by Zixinus » 2018-04-21 08:37am

So in the end, we could do more good with the technology itself than just the cars? And the aliens don't want us to know the technology, even though it does not directly threaten them as a civilization (it's not like they handed us something like FTL drives or high-efficiency methods of making anti-matter or so on)?
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Re: Aliens offer The People of Earth automobiles (RAR!)

Post by SolarpunkFan » 2018-04-24 10:57pm

Using the Temporarily Embarrassed Millionaire model I can only assume that the U.S. declines the offer, paints the aliens as demonic JewCommieLiberals and attempt to nuke them.

Reason one being that the party currently in power here hates things that don't use fossil fuels (the autos).

Reason two being that the country in general blindly hates any kind of economic fairness (the conditions under which the autos are produced and sold).
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