The Car That Eliminates Traffic Jams

Tango_T600

Sometimes the beginning of major change happens with one simple “a-ha” moment.

I had one over the weekend, which I’ll describe a little later. But first, here’s what led to my moment of clarity.

While in San Francisco I had the opportunity to drive a Commuter Cars Tango T600 through heavy traffic into the city and back to the suburbs. The entire trip was about 50 miles.

The T600 is about as wide as a Honda Goldwing motorcycle, weighs as much as a Subaru Outback, has the rollover threshold of a Porsche 911, has four times as many side impact protection bars in its doors as a Volvo, and has quicker acceleration to 60-mph than most stock Ferraris.

No kidding.

There currently are only 12 of these cars in the world, all of which are sold. Customers include George Clooney and Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Each car is currently valued at over $240,000 and me, my wife, and my father-in-law each had free access to one for an entire day.

The Tango is an 805-hp all electric, ultra-narrow two-seater built for commuting in cities with heavy traffic. It has a 100-mile range at 70 mph on level ground, and runs on a lithium-ion iron phosphate battery that sits under the floorboards and provides ballast for the car. It may look unstable, but the Tango won’t tip; The Tango has a 5-star NHTSA static rollover threshold.

Getting into the Tango feels like strapping into the cockpit of a fighter jet . The driver sits in a Sparco racing seat and straps into the 4-point harness. A switch takes the car out of hibernation mode, the dash lights up, and the ignition can be turned on. From there another switch alternates between Reverse, Neutral, and Drive.

With all three cars silently fired up we were ready to hit the 101 and head into the city.

The first thing I noticed about the Tango was the acceleration. Step on the pedal and the car throws your back into the seat as the digital speedometer quickly climbs.

The Tango really shines once on the highway. Our three cars whirred through traffic with two of the cars side by side in a single lane. My car brought up the rear and we cruised like jets in formation. We changed lanes as a single unit when possible and lane-split when traffic got heavy.

The instant torque powered us through slow traffic. The Tango requires constant attention and the racing suspension provides for a bumpy ride over rough road, but it’s exhilarating and fast. Needless to say we arrived in the city quickly and parked in a garage with three open charging stations. According to the digital gauge I had 80 miles of range left but plugged in anyway.

My moment of clarity happened after leaving the parking garage and walking toward Pier 39 in San Francisco while thinking about the upcoming drive back. Range anxiety kicked in, hard.

What if we hit heavy traffic and the charge depletes in the stop-and-go?

Then I remembered that this is a narrow car and lane-splitting is legal in California. Traffic isn’t an issue.

The people who own a Tango didn’t just buy a car, they bought the right to never get stuck in traffic again. That’s a beautiful thing.

Even if a quarter of the population of San Francisco had Tangos, or something similar, lane capacity would increase and people would move through traffic and reach their destinations much faster.

I’ve known about the Tango for many years but I didn’t really get it until I drove one. That’s when it clicked and my “a-ha” moment took full effect.

Who wouldn’t want a car that uses no fuel, is crazy fast, is one of the safest cars on the road, and eliminates getting stuck in traffic?

This car could change how we commute if it catches on and prices come down. If that happens, I’ll be in line to buy one.

Would you like to own a Tango T600?

-tgriffith

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