Why build a Midlana

Goals, budgeting, drivetrain selection, options, driver protection, creating a workshop, etc
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stankoprowski
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Why build a Midlana

Post by stankoprowski » 15 Aug 2017, 07:21

Here's a short video showing what you're missing by building a Midlana.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8a_gwwp71Cw

ShadowCat38
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Re: Why build a Midlana

Post by ShadowCat38 » 15 Aug 2017, 11:10

Honestly, I was going to build one of these until I found Midlana. To each his own, I suppose.

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Re: Why build a Midlana

Post by Midlana1 » 15 Aug 2017, 12:20

I live not far from where the Aptera competition was developed and was interested in its looks, aerodynamics, and the underlying idea. What I most definitely didn't like was the nearly-lying Marketing claims.

Anyway, about this one, it's surprising that it's not more straightforward finding out more information. Check out this less than useless article about it: https://www.fastcompany.com/1292283/200 ... uldve-been This is the main reason I swore off magazines, "articles" like this one. Also strange how the guy goes on and on about how much better it looks than the Aptera... I feel it's just the opposite.

I'm still looking for more info, but if it was me, I think I'd either stick with all-electric, adding more batteries up front, or stay with just the diesel, which at 125 mpg is WAY cheaper.

[Edit] Here it is: https://www.rqriley.com/xr3.htm

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Re: Why build a Midlana

Post by Midlana1 » 15 Aug 2017, 12:41

I read through it and the site comes across as being rather... what, 1980s-ish. Nothing wrong with that but it make me wonder how current the material is. Did the XR3 make it to market? The article above was written in 2009 and the site doesn't show anything to indicate that it's been updated since. There was a brief comment about the car in 2012, so silence since doesn't make it sound promising.

I've always been interested in "the other end of the pool", meaning I've thought of making something suitable for commuting, which gets >100mpg. What's stopped me is the though of creating an aerodynamic composite shell for it. My comments above may come across as negative but that's because such products always seem half-baked, poorly marketed, and the site isn't well maintained, leaving potential customers to suspect the entire endeavor has fallen apart.

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Re: Why build a Midlana

Post by ShadowCat38 » 17 Aug 2017, 20:35

My understanding is that the designer was only making the plans available. He already has his own business making movie props and the like. I know a number of the other cars he built were used in the original Total Recall, and in several other 80's era movies, which is probably why the site still has that feel to it, or at the very least, the vehicle designs have that feel.

They're all hideous if you ask me. There is a novelty about them that piqued my interest, but that wasn't enough for me to drop $200 on "plans" that I couldn't get a peek into. Even with your stuff, Kurt. I wouldn't have bought your Midlana book if I hadn't bought the Kimini book at its much lower price and read through it. I learned enough in that book to know that the Midlana book was going to be worth every penny. The forum went a long way, too. Your approach is much more "anyone can do this, because here's how I did it" instead of "look at this neat thing I built, and then buy my plans, but don't ask me for help, or try to talk to me."

Don't take that to mean that your book is too expensive. That's definitely not the case. I've just invested in books in the past that promised the world on the cover and the intro, and then leave you disappointed in the remainder that you had to pay to see, so I'm a bit gun-shy about those types of materials anymore. It has been a huge relief to get a well-done product, and then have this community to fall back onto when things seem to start going sideways. I'm very likely to finish this project because of it. Something tells me that if I had decided to try and build the XR3 instead, I'd have never got even close to as far as where I am now.

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Re: Why build a Midlana

Post by John » 17 Aug 2017, 21:10

There is a Yahoo groups page for the XR3 where builders message each other and post their progress photos. It hit its peak back in about 2008 and isn't showing much activity lately. There were a couple of serious builders on there but I don't know that anyone has completed one other than Riley's own prototype. I think the diesel drive needs to be augmented by the electric drive to get performance to an acceptable level. I bought the plans for Riley's Urba Centurion about 30 years ago. I decided not to do anything with it when I realized it wouldn't get much past 60 MPH on the flat and would probably take a very long time to get there. I'm sure it would annoy a lot of other road users every time it encountered a hill. If performance and economy are the two sides of the same coin R Q Riley pushed the balance all the way to the economy side on that one.

Electric drive is unique in that the expenditure of energy to attain speed is largely agnostic to how fast you attain that speed. I mean electric drives don't become significantly less efficient at higher power demand as opposed to lower power demand. You have two drive systems, electric has a very small power dense (light weight and small) motor but very heavy and not very energy dense energy storage, ICE has a not very power dense motor/gearbox (large, heavy and complicated) but a very energy dense and quickly refillable energy storage. Hybridization allows you to light weight the heaviest elements of both systems to get economy with performance and range. Most production hybrids seem overly weak on the electric drive side and too heavy on the ICE side and I think the reason is to keep the hybrid premium as low as possible but the result is suboptimal from a fuel economy point of view. Riley uses a tiny naturally aspirated diesel from a small kubota tractor to get the fuel economy and augments its performance with the electric drive.

What I would like is a small light all electric run about with independent all wheel drive and a smallish power dense battery pack and a removable plug in turbine generator power pack to put in the car to hybridize it for when range is required. That would make the car light, nimble (torque vectoring drives) and quick accelerating (AWD). The turbine generator would be light and small (very power dense) and efficient and quite well suited when load leveled by the battery pack and could also be run on a variety of fuels.

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