Demo video with captions showing many aspects of the Tango's abilities
Jay Leno interview and test driving the Tango
KXLY TV interview and test drive
Host Peggy Chang's intro is short, and then the action starts.
Host Peggy Chang (in studio):
In many large Chinese and American cities, traffic congestion is an increasingly big problem. Whether you’re on Beijing’s 3rd-ring Road or Washington DC’s I-495, traffic grinds to a standstill every day at rush hour. Every year, Americans waste $115 billion worth of work time and gas being caught up in these traffic jams. Faced with this problem, one man came up with the brilliant idea of making drastically narrower cars. If two cars could fit in a lane where only one could previously fit, roadways would effectively have their capacity doubled. And if everyone drove cars like that, wouldn’t the world’s traffic problems be instantly solved? In this next piece, Cultural Odyssey reporter Enming Liu introduces a vehicle that aims to do just that—the charming Tango electric car.
(the start of Enming’s piece)
According to Texas A&M University, every year Americans waste $115 billion worth of gas and work time being caught up on congested roadways. And it’s not only an American problem. The problems of wasted resources and environmental harm, caused by congested traffic, plague virtually every major city in the world.
So, how can this problem be solved? Here to offer a solution, is the Tango, an electric car, just one seat wide.
Rick Woodbury, President, Commuter Cars:
“It’s the only car in the world that fits in half a lane on the freeway with more clearance than a truck has in a full lane. With this one, you can move over, you can get between the lanes of cars because it’s narrower than a lot of motorcycles.”
His name is Rick Woodbury, and he is the inventor of the 39-inch wide Tango electric car. He’s also the CEO of Commuter Cars Corporation.
“Commuter Cars is a company that plans to build lots of commuter cars. This is the purpose of the car.”
There was nothing random about the birth of the Tango and Commuter Cars. In fact, it has a direct connection with Mr. Woodbury’s personal experience commuting to and from work everyday.
The reason this car exists, is that I was stuck in traffic in 1982 going to work everyday. While stuck in traffic I looked around, and noticed that there was only one person in every car around me. I thought, ‘This is an incredible waste of real estate, and a waste of people’s time.’”
The cute, nimble Tango seems like a motorcycle with an added roof on the top. At first glance, very few people would think it looks like a speed car.
“Right now it’s a super car. It’s unequivocally the fastest car through traffic. But it’s one of the fastest cars you can buy—even on a drag strip. It’s extremely fast and powerful.”
Under the Tango’s floorboard are two motors that combined produce 600,000 Watts of power, the equivalent of 805 horsepower. Even more amazing, the motors produce 2,500 foot-pounds of torque. That’s the same amount of torque produced by five Dodge Vipers. Thomas Greither, the owner of a health foods business, is a Tango driver.
Thomas Greither, President, Flora, Inc.:
“I have owned a Bentley before, a Maserati—I have owned a lot of nice cars, but I have never owned a car which got so much attention. It’s the most fun car I have ever owned to drive. The acceleration from 0 to 60 is less than 4 seconds. It can beat most Ferraris and Porsches.”
“We probably can get down to an 11-second quarter-mile, which is a half second slower than a Bugatti Veyron—which costs $1.2 million. We’re talking not just a little bit fast; we’re talking extremely fast.”
The Tango is powered by 1,000 lithium batteries located under the seat. On a full charge, the Tango can travel 120 miles. And the car’s vast power capacity has its origin in China.
“This is a module of Headway cells. These are made in China.”
The 1,000 lithium batteries under the seat also perform another function—that is, keeping the Tango’s center of gravity very low to the ground, allowing the car to keep it’s balance around turns at high speeds. As a matter of fact, this is the question most often asked by those who see a Tango on the street.
“I think the number one question is that they think the car will fall over around corners. What people don’t realize is there is a whole pack of batteries underneath it, and all the weight is on the bottom. So, it’s quite stable around corners. That’s the number one question people ask.”
City parking is an even bigger advantage of the Tango. Because of it’s short and narrow body, the Tango can fit into the tiny spots between normal parking spaces. Tom Boyd is an Oncologist and Tango owner.
Tom Boyd, Oncologist, Northstar Lodge Cancer Center:
“I can park in the spaces that aren’t really spaces—you know, that diagonal area that isn’t really big enough to fit a car. This is only a fourth of the size of most vehicles. So, you can squeeze into a very tiny cubicle and do very well, sort of essentially create your own parking spaces.”
Into just how small of a space can the Tango fit? As an April fools joke one year, an employee of Internet search giant Google parked his Tango in the exceedingly small office of the company’s Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt, showing in just how small a space the Tango can fit. No wonder Rick Woodbury has such wonderful things to say about his invention:
“It’s the only car in the world that can solve these huge traffic problems. I heard about and saw photographs of traffic jams in China, and I don’t know how many of those cars had one person in them. I bet if those people with just one or two people [in the car] were in Tangos, you wouldn’t have that traffic jam. That 11-day gridlock wouldn’t have been there.”
The very first Tango owner is none other than Hollywood actor George Clooney. In fact, all current Tango owners are not your average Joe. Because only 11 Tangos have ever been produced, the low production drives the price tag up to $150,000—a price that most people couldn’t afford.
“Please understand this $150,000 price is only because of its low production. As soon as we get into production, we want to sell these cars for under $10,000.”
Currently, Rick Woodbury is still searching for enough investment to bring the Tango into large-scale production. At the same time, he and Commuter Cars are committed to constantly improving the Tango, increasing its range to 240 miles on one full charge, for example. An electric super car boasting these many amazing qualities—if the price really does get under $10,000, who wouldn’t want to buy one?
Voice of America Cultural Odyssey reporter Enming Liu reporting from Spokane, Washington.
Gizmag Video on Narrow Track Vehicles. This has excellent coverage of the Tango.
Tango appears at 6:10 and 8:35
“The significant problems we face cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.”
“The formulation of the problem is often more essential than its solution, which may be
merely a matter of mathematical or experimental skill.”
“If I had an hour to solve a problem I'd spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5
minutes thinking about solutions.”
― Albert Einstein
New Zealand Site