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Safety/Ergonomic Report

  Economical, safety and ergonomic factors were all very important factors in the creation of the Refas,  for these reasons, we have decided to use an electric biodiesel hybrid engine to power our car. Hybrid vehicles combine two fuel sources, and in our case those two fuel sources are electric and biodiesel. An electric motor will save tons of money on fuel, which is great since prices of gas continue to rise. The other engine will run on diesel fuel. One type of diesel fuel is biodiesel, which is a substitute for regular diesel; this means that it can easily be integrated with our system. This is because a diesel engine can run on both regular diesel and biodiesel fuel. That means that there is no need for a modified engine. You can fill your car up with regular diesel, biodiesel, or both. This gives the drivers choices. There are many benefits to this type of engine. First of all, it can run on pure biodiesel that reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 75% (20).  It also reduces particulate, carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide emissions (20). It's a renewable fuel source, as it runs off of materials like corn, or soy.  This prevents our dependency of foreign oil.  It's less combustible then regular diesel, which allows for safer transport and distribution (19). A diesel engine is highly efficient especially as a hybrid.  Hybrids take less fuel than vehicles powered by gasoline alone. This cuts down on emissions.  The money saved on gas is a plus for the consumers. Also as technology improves the cost of hybrid cars decrease. Right now there is a federal tax deduction of $2,000 for the purchase of a hybrid vehicle which will be decreasing year after year under Bush’s plan, but if a Democrat is elected president in this upcoming election, then this tax deduction will most likely stay the same. Hybrid cars can travel farther on one tank because they get more miles to the gallon (21). Honda's Insight is capable of going 700 miles on a single tank of gas. The 2003 Toyota Prius is estimated to get 45 miles per gallon in highway driving, and 52 mpg in city driving (13).

    The frame of the Refas will be made of aluminum, space frame aluminum. Aluminum helps build a better car because it delivers environmental, safety and driving performance advantages. That's why its use in the past decade has doubled for all cars and tripled for SUVs, pick-ups and minivans (11).  Aluminum is also a great material to use because its price is expected to drop $770 annually (10). Also, it is light weight and fully recyclable, it can be made from other recyclable aluminum products like aluminum cans (16). We will use PURE materials for its windows. PURE materials are 100% polypropylene, completely replacing glass windows.  These materials are 100% recyclable and lightweight, meaning that considerablek fuel and emission reductions can be achieved as the car parts will weigh less (14).We have decided to begin using natural fibers as the Refas interior.  For example, plant fibers are used in some car components, such as the door panel trim on the Ford Focus. There are some groups that  intend to maximize the potential of bio fibers, and soon there will be techniques for extracting fibers from the plants to produce longer, stronger fibers than existing materials, and there will be ways to maximize the bond between the matrix and the fibers using chemicals, including coupling agents (15). This means that the materials used in our car’s interior will be strong, reliable, and recyclable because the Refas uses natural fibers.

  The Refas, the name of our car, spells safer backwards. The reason for this is that is that the Refas will have as many safety features as possible and it will be one of the safest cars on the market. One of the safety features is multifunctional smart card car-keys. The motor starts after pushing a little ignition button, but only if the card is inside the vehicle. Without it, no hairpin or fake key can help a thief start the car. The system also prevents drivers from locking the car with the card inside, making it impossible for drivers to lock themselves out. Some of the luxuries to this card key system are the card can remember personal settings for mirrors, seats, and the audio system. Also in the near future these card keys will be able to register information about driving style. The electronic control unit of the motor will be able to adapt itself to the profile of individual drivers . For example, it will allow sporty drivers to accelerate faster, and minimize fuel consumption for more conservative ones (17). Other safety features include dual and front side air bags, 3-point seat belts in every seat, and adjustable mirrors that will always give the driver a clear view. Other safety features in the Refas are side impact door beams and a reinforced frame. Safety always comes first in the Refas.

 Ergonomics are one of the most important things to think about while making the Refas. This is because drivers want to be comfortable. Our demographic is drivers in and coming out of college or young professionals. These drivers, like all drivers like to be comfortable. One way to create a comfortable environment is to make sure that there is lots of room. No one likes to be cramped up in a little space. The seats in the Refas are going to be adjustable for maximum comfort, and because the seats are adjustable people can move forwards, backwards, down, or up. This allows for plenty of head and leg room. Not only will the seats be adjustable, but the steering wheel will be too. You can change the space between you and the steering wheel and you can change the steering wheel’s angle so that any driver will be comfortable in the Refas. Other great aspects of the Refas are that it can be bought high, medium, or low off the ground for whatever type of driver a person is. Also, all of the options that come in the Refas like glove compartments, radio, c.d. player, and more are all easy to access. We are always thinking about the consumer and how to improve our car, and that’s why the Refas is great for all drivers.