1.3.1 Unlimited range
Normal electric cars have a limited range because of the low capacity and the heavy weight of the batteries.
A RUF can use a smaller battery and yet have a virtually unlimited range because it is powered via the rail while it travels the long distances at high speed. When the rail network eventually is expanded, recharging of batteries may always take place while "riding" on the rail system. A modern battery (1996) can be charged from 10% to 70% in 15 minutes without shortening its lifetime.
With a smaller battery the RUF driver gains a lot of advantages:
- The cost of the battery is reduced proportionally to its size. 1/3 the size of a normal EV-battery is normally sufficient. Since a battery normally has to be replaced every 3 years, this saving is very important.
- The weight of the RUF is reduced because it uses smaller batteries. Low weight means low rolling resistance and lower wheel noise. The power to accelerate the RUF is also lowered and climbing is easier than for a normal heavy EV.
- The installations required at your home for recharging a small battery is already there, whereas a large battery may require a completely new mains supply.
Any future improvement in battery technology will be beneficial for the RUF driver as well as the normal EV driver. Fuel cells can be used when they are ready.
The RUF could be born as a hybrid vehicle, only using the rail system to avoid congestion and stress. In this case it will be able to function as a normal car, even if the rail network is limited in size.
1.3.2 Hybrid unit
When a battery driven RUF is not on the rail, it has a limited range (more than 50 km). It also has an empty notch underneath the vehicle, where the rail fits in during the rail riding.
If a RUF driver needs to go to a destination far away from the rail network, he cannot use the batteries. For this occasion the RUF system offers a special possibility, namely mounting of a special hybrid-unit.
It contains a gasoline tank, a small motor (ICE) running at constant speed, fully optimized for high efficiency and low pollution and noise. This motor runs a generator producing electric power for the electric motors in the RUF. With this unit mounted the RUF driver can go any distance, precisely as in a normal car.
The hybrid unit may be leased from the RUF system operator or, if needed frequently, the RUF driver may have it ready in his garage. It fits into the triangular notch underneath the RUF, and it can be mounted very easily.