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Spira, The Foam Car
It may not be the best looking car on the street, but it could very well become one of the safest. The Spira is a prototype car invented by Lon Ballard of the University of Illinois. Inspired by the Crocs sandals, the Spira is made of the same foam material. This makes the car both lightweight and impact resistant. In fact, 90% of the car is claimed to be made of this foam which surround the driver 6 inches thick.
Currently made in Thailand, the Spira is still in prototype phase, so no word yet on crash tests or safety ratings. What is interesting though is the concept of creating a car not of steel or aluminum, but of a softer material that can act as a real buffer between you and the world outside.
While the market for a micro-car is slim to none right now, consumers might be attracted to the Spira for its fuel economy. At 305 pounds and using only a 110cc engine the car can get an impressive 100 mpg. And with a top speed of 70 mph you won’t have to worry about keeping pace on the roads.
Did I also mention that the Spira can float on water? That kind of safety feature would come in handy if you ever found yourself rearing off the road into a lake.
Ultimately, at first glance the Spira looks like a great idea, however, I would be hard pressed to believe that it can truly achieve acceptable crash test ratings. What I do like is the idea of integrating a durable foam like material on the outside of a car to help protects against slow speed bumps or pedestrian collisions. Too many accidents occur from simple whiplashes at low speeds and this could be a simple and viable solution to this problem.
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