2001: A House Odyssey’s Sequel Acquired EVs Nearly Proper

Join every day information updates from CleanTechnica on e mail. Or observe us on Google Information!

I not too long ago sat down with the children and watched 2001: A House Odyssey. Most individuals nowadays have bother with the lengthy, lengthy scenes and deliberately viewer-interpretable ending of the movie, so I needed to discover one of many shortened variations of the movie on YouTube and attempt to clarify key components. The aim was to assist them perceive what number of cultural references got here from the movie, and perceive its place in literary and movie historical past. It may not be essentially the most thrilling, action-packed movie, but it surely broke necessary floor that Star Wars and the Star Trek motion pictures had been in a position to observe, amongst many different issues.

Whereas the unique movie remains to be extensively mentioned and even debated immediately, many individuals don’t know that the story continued. Arthur C. Clarke wrote three sequel novels, and one among them turned the sequel film 2010: The Yr We Make Contact. Not like the unique movie, which resulted in one thing resembling a fever dream or acid journey, this 1984 sequel was quicker paced, simple to know (the whole lot’s defined, together with some issues from the primary movie), and featured geopolitical intrigue as an alternative of inexplicable aliens and an area child.

Within the second movie, Dr. Heywood Floyd, the top of the Nationwide Council of Astronautics (the movie’s equal of NASA) is discovered 9 years later cleansing a motor of one thing on the Very Massive Array in New Mexico, having been compelled out of his job in shame after the pc mass murders the crew and Dave Bowman will get misplaced within the first movie. Whereas performed by a unique actor, he’s the man within the first movie who went to the moon and made a video name along with his daughter from an area lodge. Now working for a college, he’s given the chance to accompany the Soviet Union’s crew despatched to research issues round Jupiter.

If you realize a lot in regards to the historical past of Russia in latest many years, you most likely know that the Soviet Union didn’t survive to see 2010, however let’s remember the fact that this movie was made in 1984, previous to the Soviet collapse. On the time, it appeared completely affordable for the Soviet Union to be aggressive with the USA in house in 2010. There actually wasn’t any approach for them to foretell this.

However, there may be one factor they received nearly proper: electrical autos.

In one of many early scenes within the movie, Dr. Floyd has to interrupt the information to his spouse and son that he’s occurring an area mission, and will likely be away from house for years. Spacecraft had been much more superior than they actually had been by 2010, however they nonetheless needed to put folks in hibernation for an extended journey to Jupiter. Whereas exercising to get his physique prepared for the house mission, his son rides alongside beside him in some form of go-kart, and the pair get handed by a really aerodynamic automobile.

A screenshot from 2010: The Yr We Make Contact (Honest Use, commentary).

Because the scene goes on, the automobile passes close to the digital camera, and as an alternative of the everyday rumble of a combustion engine, the automobile makes the sounds of an electrical motor because it goes by. I couldn’t get a incredible have a look at it, however the automobile seemed surprisingly acquainted. I knew I had seen it someplace earlier than, so I needed to Google it. Thankfully, one web site had the reply: the car was the Ford Probe IV idea automobile.

In actual life, the Ford Probe IV was not an EV. It was constructed within the early 198os, and served to point out what an environment friendly future car may appear like. It was constructed for max aerodynamic effectivity, with Ford claiming it was essentially the most environment friendly sensible passenger automobile constructed as much as that date. The drag coefficient was calculated to be solely .15, or barely extra draggy than the upcoming Aptera (at the least by form, however the automobile does have a bigger frontal space). The car had lively aero methods, together with a computer-controlled suspension to lift and decrease the automobile for decrease drag on the freeway, lively shutters, coated wheel wells, a stomach pan, and lots of different issues to maintain the air flowing.

However, it wasn’t electrical. It got here with an environment friendly four-cylinder engine, tilted again from vertical to avoid wasting room and cut back drag. This engine was linked to a typical computerized transmission from the Ford Escort, however with stronger components.

However, the Probe IV was in any other case a superb predictor of future EV design. The cheaper solution to make an EV seem within the 1984 movie would have been to only drive a standard automobile or another cooler trying idea automobile by and add EV sound results. As an alternative, they selected an environment friendly car, seemingly figuring out that EVs had been solely going to be sensible sooner or later in environment friendly shapes, as a result of the price of batteries and the necessity for extra vary.

The long run ended up proving them proper. The 2011 Nissan LEAF (launched within the 2010 calendar 12 months) was no standard automobile.

Picture by Jennifer Sensiba

Just like the Probe IV, the LEAF was a mass-market oriented 4-door household car, however with wildly totally different seems to be. To realize affordable vary with out costing $200,000, Nissan’s designers needed to optimize for aerodynamic effectivity. The tip outcome was a really bizarre trying automobile by standard requirements. From the entrance, it seemed like a bizarre bug or frog. From the rear, it seemed like some form of house pod.

So bizarre had been the seems to be of my 2011 LEAF that it attracted stares on the highway from many, and nasty particulate matter from the diesel bros who felt threatened by it for some unknown motive (coal rolling). With the statute of limitations future out, I may also admit to having raced it on a couple of events at lights, embarrassing some rice burners as much as 40 MPH, which was dangerous for his or her egos because of the considerably ugly nature of the car.

However, evaluating the automobile from the 2010 movie to this actual electrical automobile from the actual 2010, it’s fairly apparent that the movie’s makers received EVs proper, all the way in which again in 1984. Not solely had been there actually EVs on the highway by then, however they needed to be targeted on effectivity greater than their standard styling.

Featured picture: An image of the Ford Probe IV idea automobile, taken from the Ford Heritage Vault. Seam in picture is the place the multi-page picture was divided by the brochure’s binding.


Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Need to promote? Need to counsel a visitor for our CleanTech Discuss podcast? Contact us right here.

EV Obsession Each day!


I do not like paywalls. You do not like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Right here at CleanTechnica, we carried out a restricted paywall for some time, but it surely at all times felt flawed — and it was at all times powerful to resolve what we should always put behind there. In principle, your most unique and finest content material goes behind a paywall. However then fewer folks learn it!! So, we have determined to utterly nix paywalls right here at CleanTechnica. However…


Like different media corporations, we want reader assist! When you assist us, please chip in a bit month-to-month to assist our group write, edit, and publish 15 cleantech tales a day!



Tesla Gross sales in 2023, 2024, and 2030



CleanTechnica makes use of affiliate hyperlinks. See our coverage right here.