SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CBS13) – Imagine driving a car just a few inches wider than a motorcycle. One California lawmaker says so-called narrow track cars could be the solution to cutting down on congestion in major cities around the world.
“Four of these will take up the space of one vehicle,” said Doug Fabris, who works on narrow track cars in Burlingame.
At 3 feet wide, 8 feet long and 5 feet high, Commuter Cars out of Spokane, Washington calls this the safest ride in the world. The idea came to Rick Woodbury back in 1982 while sitting in traffic in Southern California.
“Everybody around me was in a single occupant, taking up an entire lane and I thought what we need to fix this traffic jam is a narrow car,” Woodbury said. “A car that can fit in half a lane like a motorcycle!”
Fast forward to 2018 and you’ve got the Tango car. And yes, it’s electric.
The Tango can drive about 180 miles on a full charge. And even with all the bells and whistle of a regular car, it drives without even making much of a sound.
San Francisco Assemblymember Kevin Mullin introduced AB 2224 earlier this year with the aim of seeing these cars zipping all over the Golden State.
“Like many Californians, my constituents deal with traffic congestion and limited parking options on a daily basis, and they are concerned with the environmental impacts of burning fossil fuels,” Mullin said. “They also support applying innovative technology solutions to these problems. Narrow track vehicles could be one piece of our State’s larger effort to move people around more efficiently.”
AB 2224 would allow narrow cars to park between regular cars, in motorcycle spaces and perpendicular to the curb, as well as drive in the HOV Lane.
“There’s no incentive to build a narrow car, either for investors or automotive companies to do it if the car isn’t going to be treated like any other car,” Woodbury said.
And Woodbury says if more companies commit to making cars around 3 feet wide, they’d be so affordable we’d see them at every turn.
“It’s a dream come true if it happens in my lifetime,” he added. “I’ve devoted my whole life to it!”
Right now, the cars are expensive to produce: the last one sold for $320,000. But Woodbury told CBS 13 if the cars were mass produced by auto companies, the price would fall under $30,000.