The Universal Automobile - System Description

photo of
universal automobile The world-wide dilemma: How to improve the cost-effectiveness of commuter mass transit in order to preserve the earth's ecosystem, reduce waste of precious fossil fuels, and alleviate problems faced within city core areas? From this dilemma, two key issues have arisen: Why do people have to own a vehicle for commuting purposes and why should batteries be an integral part of any electric vehicle?

Problem #1:

Mass transit generally has not provided an optimal return on investment - automobiles are still the preferred choice of transport - the majority of all vehicles used for commuting are occupied by only the driver, and occupy "dead space" in valuable downtown core lots for most of the day.

Problem #2:

Cities are struggling with the dilemma of increased demand for parking lots that are little more than "dead space" on valuable land; at the same time, costs for road, bridge, and traffic control are growing as existing infrastructure is being filled, but increased usability simply promotes increased traffic, and more organizations are leaving "expensive" city core areas for suburbs thereby eroding important tax revenues - ultimately, this could mean that mass transit facilities being developed for use today will actually be used less in future.

Problem #3:

Alternative fuels will not eliminate the effects of self-owned vehicles being used for commuter transport and in fact, will continue to contribute to the problems, above.

Problem #4:

Research into battery technology is overlooking the fact that there are already 50 million lead acid batteries in existence in North America, most of which could be readily used to power an electric vehicle that was designed to used them efficiently.

An Opportunity:

There is a "negative" aspect to mass transit and it is composed of two parts of any trip:

This is a "window" of opportunity because it could be why mass transit is not embraced more completely - people want to travel more directly, quickly, comfortably, safely, and at less cost.

The Universal Automobile (UA) is a "public domain" vehicle used by subscribers for short distance travel within mass transit zones; it is powered by batteries which can be automatically trickle-charged at special "UA parking" areas using "charging mats", or, they can be quickly exchanged at fuel and power supply stations.

Vehicles can be checked at traditional fuel stations modified into power supply stations using underground battery "carousels" that utilize a combination of solar and hydro power for recharging; automatic battery swapping requires less than 4 minutes.

Fully charged, a UA can carry 2 passengers at up to 90 kms per hour for about 100 kms on level roadways; it is safe, durable, and very efficient because it utilizes a fiberglass body and 3-wheel design without sacrificing stability, durability, or safety; the vehicle has been wind-tunnel, road-worthiness, and stability tested.

Any subscriber holding a valid driver's license could use a UA by purchasing a stored value key/card from franchisees or under a monthly account billing system; complete travel costs (with insurance) could be less than $.25 per kilometer.

Subscribers can use any vehicle, leaving it at special UA locations for immediate use by the next subscriber; payment is automatically deducted on the stored value key/card by systems within the vehicle which also control access and operation.

A wireless location system will monitor each UA electronically, identify its location under various situations, and report information on drivers, speeds, etc. so that UA supply can meet demand from analysis of usage patterns, etc.

The UA system has not been designed to eliminate the car but it will enable commuters to make better use of mass transit, reduce city core parking and traffic demands, and provide a variety of new-found benefits to everyone involved; this solution should not jeopardize self-owned automobiles, fuel, and related products and services, but it should provide a way to adjust our dependence on them all without disrupting inter-related economies.

The Universal Automobile will solve the most challenging problems and present new-found benefits to every city that embraces it, to those who use it, and to everyone who is concerned about economy of commuter travel but who must control their time, route, and destination more precisely than traditional mass transit has been able to provide.

Only the Universal Automobile will provide an option to mass transit by complementing it and not competing with it --- this is a new option that has been missing until now....... and we hope that you will not only agree but will embrace the plan and assist in implementing it with us.

For more details, contact: Jack Bonney, UA Systems Manager, JBJ Transportation Group, Vancouver, B.C., Canada. Phone 604-321-5822; fax: 604-324-6333; e-mail:

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Last modified: January 27, 1997