Friday, April 13, 2007

The Tesla SUV...well...er the Steinmetz SUV.

I am parked outside one of a million convenience stores in the Southwest Valley. This one is called "Quiktrip". I'm not here for gas though, just a Diet Rite drink to quench my thirst.

I sit in the Agency's latest creation, a Tesla prototype SUV with a cool ice blue color. Actually the entire surface of the vehicle is covered in solar cells and the blue tint is not paint based but the color of the cell plates. With two motors powering it, it is just as quick as the standard Tesla electric roadster, but with much more space for passengers and bulky equipment. Here in the desert, the Tesla SUV finds enough sunlight to make its range limitless. It never needs recharging. How cool is that? It's way cool and SDAI plans to acquire an entire fleet of emission-less electric vehicles. Not because of environmental concerns, rather because vehicles that do not need gas have certain very significant strategic pluses in hostile locations or long missions.

It's not really a Tesla, but should actually be called a Steinmetz. The SDAI folks got their hands on a Tesla that belonged to a wealthy industrialist who is an old friend of mine from back in the late nineties, heady IPO overnight millionaire era. Within two days they had the engine entirely reverse engineered and made blueprints of the Tesla motor design based upon their quick examination and partial disassembly. The vehicle was back in the industrialists hands after a two day weekend absence, none the worse for wear and in just a little over a month (yes, that is the true power of on-demand money!) the Special Vehicle Directorate of SDAI had a Steinmetz SUV (if it were software I guess it would be called the Steinmetz BETA).

Steinmetz was an electrical engineer hired to knock off Nikola Tesla's alternating current patents for General Electric. Westinghouse was making lots of bucks off of the superior alternating current method and GE didn't want to pay royalties so they hired Steinmetz to find some nuanced thing that Tesla didn't patent in the AC process. He was hired to be a thief basically. So this SUV should really be a Steinmetz, yet everyone here is calling it a Tesla SUV. Talking to the Techs, 21st century Steinmetzes each one of them, they were particularly proud of their "vortical field design" on both of the axles, which they claim is a clearly superior to the Tesla's design and produces more electricity on the back end as the car drives, recharging the electric batteries with each rotation, a feat they say is responsible with the extensive solar cells to keep the car never fully discharged.

That being as it may, this SUV is awesome. The framework is based upon a standard 2007 Yukon XL Denali and still weighs over 4000 pounds, even though a special aluminum frame and x-body chassis was built for it to lighten the vehicle by some 1200 pounds. The body panels were removed, molds were made and then a new solar grid panel was designed to replace each old panel and fit perfectly. Lotus is supposedly churning out an electric vehicle that they are calling an SUV but looking at their press images, it is about the size of any compact car. With a few improvements to the Tesla motor design and output using some SDAI friction reduction technology, a more efficient current generator and other changes each engine produces 333 electrically generated horsepower applied to each axle for constantly-active 4 wheel drive. Yes, the Steinmetz puts out 666 horsepower! Torque output is somewhere around 550 foot pounds. Smoking even these huge 20" tires can be done effortlessly

A lot of money has been sunk into this prototype and the design boys at GM, Ford or Daimler Chrysler would sure give a few billion dollars for the technical schematics to this prototype. This car could revolutionize the entire automotive landscape and end the need for foreign oil. However, it will remain in the hands of the Agency and will probably never make its way into the private sector because it is not just a environmentally efficient vehicle, but is a strategic advantage. Advantages are not given away, they are exploited while they are still viable.

Sure, some of the folks working for the Agency could spill the beans and share what they know, but their contractual agreements are well-written and such would lead them to certain jail time. By making this vehicle look almost identical to the standard Yukon XL it doesn't arouse any suspicions or raised eyebrows from passing motorists. It merely looks like any of a million slightly tricked out SUVs that travel on our roads daily.

Oh, I just realize I forgot to mention what I am doing behind the wheel or anything about the unique toys fitted to this vehicle...well that story will have to wait until another day.

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