Gordon Dower's Ridek

Does a car with zero emissions, requiring an infrastructure with little environmental impact, and batteries that are fully charged within minutes sound too good to be true?

It is true, and it is called the Ridek. It is a battery electric modular car, an out of the box idea that will redefine how we perceive the car in our environment.

The Ridek is a new type of vehicle—one that is modularized into upper and lower components, one rented and one owned. The rented Modek contains the running gear and associated machinery. The Ridon carries the passengers and cargo; it rides on the Modek. When the Modek requires servicing, it may be quickly exchanged without delaying or disturbing the passengers. The Modek would normally be charged overnight at home, however, if an immediate recharge is needed , it will be exchanged for a fully charged Modek, accomplished in the amount of time needed to refuel by conventional methods. This feature makes the electric car practical, more economical, and more convenient than a conventional vehicle.

When Dr. Gordon Dower began working to solve the problem of battery exchange seven years ago, the demand for lower emission vehicles had only begun to accelerate. It soon became clear that the world would have to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels and find alternative energy sources if we were to continue to maintain current levels to meet the world’s energy needs.

In response, manufactures are turning to hybrid and fuel-cell cars. The difficulty is that the hybrid reduces CO2 emissions only in city driving, and uses conventional fuel at highway speed; it is a transitional car until the zero-polluting vehicle is in production. The fuel-cell car is not yet developed as a viable alternative, and the hydrogen infrastructure to support it will prove to be expensive, both in cost and environmental impacts. Dr. Dower’s Ridek utilizes an already fully developed, inexpensive technology and accompanying infrastructure: the battery electric car and the electricity grid. The range of the Ridek is the same as that of the hydrogen fueled car and the operating costs would be much less. The cost of ownership of the Ridon would vary dependent on the features desired to outfit the cabin. The advantage of the Ridek is the modular design and quick change battery recharge. It is now possible to use the proven efficiency of electricity.

Initially, it appeared that splitting the car horizontally, separating the passengers and controls from the running gear may seem difficult, complicated, expensive and insecure. This is not the case. There are innumerable examples where modular construction has made manufacture and servicing simpler, better and cheaper. Even the conversion of a conventional vehicle to a Ridek is practical (see photo). Securely locking the Ridon to the Modek is no more challenging than locking heavy containers to the decks of ships. Modek exchange is as simple as moving your car through a car wash.

The Ridek looks like a conventional car, but regardless of the style of the Ridon, it would be as tall as an SUV to accommodate the Modek. This places the passengers above the point of impact in a T-bone collision, and provides the driver with a better view of his surroundings. A serious safety issue associated with SUV’s is mitigated by Ridek design; because of the low center of gravity, combined with the weight of the batteries, the Ridek will not be subject to rollover incidents.

Dr. Dower’s field of expertise is in electrocardiology and polarcardiography, and it was necessary to consult with many experts in the field of automotive engineering to determine if the Ridek was feasible. Since then, two prototypes have been made and demonstrated, using readily available materials. The improved storage capacity and extended lifetime provided by new battery technology, coupled with the use of the strong and lightweight materials make the full-size Ridek an attractive option for the individual commuter and for operators of fleet vehicles.

Ridek Systems
PO Box 1939
Point Roberts, WA 98281-1939