After taking a long break from competing in the Google SketchUp 3D Challenge I decided to give it a go with Challenge #102 – Public Transportation. I just looked to see how much time has gone by since the last entry into the challenge and I was stunned to see that my last entry (#88 Skyscraper – Mile High Tower) was submitted July 9, 2009. That was 362 days before I submitted this one on July 6, 2010; almost a year!
Usually I post something on my blog about the challenge right after I finish my model but this time I am posting after the winner was determined. I am happy to say that I am the winner of the challenge making it my 8th win.
For this challenge I decided on making an electric bus. My inspiration came from a few concept buses I found online but in the end I came up something unique. My entry is entitled “Solocraft Electric Bus”. Just in case you are wondering, “Solocraft” is the fictional brand name I use for any vehicle I create for the challenges. The name comes from Han Solo from Star Wars.
It is designed to be small and maneuverable for tight city streets. Instead of relying on overhead wires this one gets its power from the Lithium ion batteries contained in the front and back drive module units which would save on infrastructure costs. It would be very lightweight to provide for a decent amount of battery range.
The most unique feature of the bus is the way in which it steers. There is a 4 wheel drive module at both the front and back of the bus. Each module rotates on its own 360 degree axis. This allows the bus to not only make very tight turns and the ability to turn on a dime but it also enables it to rotate the drive modules 90 degrees and pull up to the curb laterally.
The floor is at the same level as a standard city curb height in the middle for easy no climb access to the lower level seats. The floor height also accommodates wheelchair users like me without trouble at the specifically designed bus stops the bus would use. When the bus parks at regular bus stops or on flat pavement a ramp concealed in the floor also provides for wheelchair access.
I had planned to push this model further by creating an attachment that would turn it into an airplane for short distance air travel but I had to abandon that idea as I ran towards the deadline. Sometimes my ideas are just too ambitious to complete within the allotted time. You can see what happens when I don’t have a deadline for a project if read about my Starship Project on this blog. I plan on implementing the airplane idea as well as a few other ideas that would extend it’s versatility after I finish the starship.