What Motoring Idea Sounds Great On Paper But Is Actually Really Bad?

We received a whole bunch of tips about that interesting Solar Roadway idea, and we were intrigued, until we realized that the Solar Roadway would probably be incredibly expensive, just to start. But a lot of genius ideas for your car sound really good, at least at first, on paper.


The one that most easily comes to mind, for me at least, is the Wankel engine, also known as the rotary. Nevermind that its inventor was an insane Nazi nutjob, because in principle it sounds a lot better than a conventional internal combustion engine, what with its pistons all flying about.

It's supposed to be simpler, easier, more reliable. Or at least it sounds that way to the average layperson. It takes the traditional four strokes that occur inside of a cylinder, and basically turns them into one big one inside of a rotary housing. And if you're playing golf, one is better than four, ergo, the Wankel engine is better.

But it isn't really one big stroke, and the seals on the rotor are kind of wonky, no matter how much graphite you use, and they tend to eat oil, and when they're not eating oil they guzzle fuel, and when they guzzle fuel their emissions are terrible.


And in the world we live in today, you can't have terrible emissions. No government would allow it. Okay, a lot of governments would allow it in many parts of the world, because they don't really give a crap about emissions, but it wouldn't be an economical investment.

Sure, maybe the bugs in the Wankel could be figured out, if enough money was thrown at the idea, but millions, if not billions, have already been thrown at it, and pretty much everyone has abandoned it. Including its one-time champion, Mazda.


So what else do you think is a terrible motoring idea, that actually sounds great at first glance? Let us know in the comments below!

Photo credit: Londo Mollari

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