Our Project

 

logoCambria

The beginning of our idea

There are over a million cars in Costa Rica, for a population of just under 5 million.  Some 60,000 cars are imported annually, at a cost of some $500 million dollars.  Transport produces 70% of the CO2 pollution of our country, with an annual cost of more than $2 billion dollars in imported petroleum fuels.  This is in sharp contrast to the image of Costa Rica of being a “green” country with a national goal of being Carbon Neutral by 2021.  This goal was quietly dropped last year as NOTHING concrete has been done to reach that goal and it became clear it was just a nice-sounding dream.

The Cambria CR project was born in 2011 with the idea of Matilde Gutierrez to build in Costa Rica a family or commercial car that rather than HURTING the country can help to solve the ecological and economic problems of Costa Rica.  This is a dream she shared with Jesse Blenn, who has a degree in business administration and has worked as a mechanic, designer, and consultant in aviation and automotive fields…

The CAMBRIA CR Project

The CAMBRIA CR is a compact, efficient and creative car designed by Jesse Blenn, a businessman and technical consultant as well as an FAA certified aviation mechanic.  He started the Cambria design (then called Cambyocar) in 2011 and by June of 2012 had progressed to the point of building a 1/6th scale model which was displayed at the Environmental Expo of the Ministry of Environment and Energy. Building the model was very easy and showed how easy it is to build the CAMBRIA.

Based on the design study, a business plan was written by Jesse and Matilde in classes of the Universidad Nacional (National University) from January to June 2013.  We won first place in our regional branch of the National University, and were awarded First Place in Industry and Most Environmental Friendly at the National University’s annual national business plan competition in November of 2013.

The intelligent design of the CAMBRIA allows a novel manufacture process with greatly reduced investment and pollution than traditional cars (no $5 million dollar stamping presses needed!).  The main structure of the CAMBRIA is made of square and rectangular steel tubing.  The bodywork that covers it is made of sandwich panels of thin aluminum outer layers and a locally grown and processed balsa wood core.  This system has been used in over three million yachts and boats, and has been used for over 60 years as commercial aircraft flooring, but never in production automobiles.  With it, we can easily form our flat and curved body panels on simple wood molds in a process than can start out by hand and easily be automated to any extent convenient.

The CAMBRIA incorporates features not available in any car near its price, such as central driver seating, electric gullwing doors, double isolation air suspension, and a double roof with solar panels to add up to 20 free kilometers per day to the 150 to 200 kilometer normal range.  Also an additional battery pack or backup small generator can be fitted under the rear floor.  We use many components from the 2010 Honda Civic to be sure that spare parts are available worldwide.

A Very Sad Experience!

The Costa Rican government Banca para el Desarrollo (Fund for Development) held its first-ever Seed Capital competition from June to November of 2013 and our project was selected as one of 13 winners of up to 65 million colones ( $120,000) for high risk but high potential projects.   Yes, that is a tiny amount compared to the 1.3 billion dollars that Nissan spent on their Leaf, but with ingenuity it can be done.  Sadly, the funding was managed by the business incubator of the National University.  After many delays on their part and a contract that was forced on us, we finally got funding for two months in May and June of 2014.  Because we complained of their slow service and the unjust contract, they then invented falsified figures and absurd excuses  that they reported to the Banca to sabotage our project.  One example was that we shouldn’t need all the funding because we could build at least 70 if not 100% of the car with 30% of the funding.  They clearly did not want to help us in any way.  By threatening them with losing their right to be an incubator, The Banca para el Desarrollo helped us  revive funding for December 2014 and January 2015 (with extensions to March while we waited on materials that took 10 weeks to arrive!).

We delivered the final accounting for the Phase I (30% of the funding) to them on April 11th of 2015.  They delivered it to the Banca eleven months later on March 16, 2016.  They had given a negative evaluation of our project to the Banca many months earlier but refused to give us a copy, which we officially asked for three times.  With the help of the government’s Defensoria de los Habitantes (Citizens Defenders)  we finally were given a copy of their negative report in August of 2016, 16 months after delivering our report on Phase I.  They included that our project was high risk because we had not yet sold any cars.  Yet the contest was specifically for “high risk” projects and the full funding was necessary to build the prototype, with which we would have a car to show to customers!  This is a sad example of why Costa Rica remains a backward country.  Those assigned to “help” us are not interested in the country´s progress, only in their salaries.  Winning the contest actually slowed down our project and added greatly to our personal debt.  All documents of this sad experience are available to anyone who is interested.

WE WILL CONTINUE THE CAMBRIA PROJECT AS SOON AS WE CAN.  NOW WE ARE DEVELOPING THE TRIKES AS A SOURCE OF INCOME TO MOVE FORWARD WITH OUR LIVES.

Technical Specifications

Style………………………………Two door, seats for 4 in diamond arrangement (3 fixed, 1 folding)

Construction………………….Steel tube chassis, aluminum and balsa sandwich bodywork

Drive …………………………….Rear via independent motors with chain reduction

Empty Weight……………….750 kg (1650 lbs)

Loaded Weight…………….1200 kg (2640 lbs)

Top Continuous Speed……………………..100 kph

Range ………150 km

Range extension from rooftop solar panels……10 to 20 km

Length…………………………..3.4 meters (11 ft 2 in )

Width…………………………….1.7 meters (5 ft 7 in )  plus mirrors

Height……………………………1.55 meters (5 ft 1 in)

Wheelbase……………………..2.15 meters (7 ft 1 in)

Ground Clear…………………0.225 meter (9 in)

Track front-rear……………….1.5 meter  (4 ft 11 in)

Frontal impact crush space…………60 cm (2 ft)

Roll Center Height………………..75 mm(3 in) /100 mm (4 in) front/rear

Effective Swing Arm Length………2.5 m (98.4 in) /1.85 m (72.8 in) front/rear

Turning Radius……………..3.5 meters (11 ft 6 in) (better than the famous London cab)

Trunk Capacity……………..600 or 425 liters with 3 or 4 passengers

Brakes…………………………..Disk, with regenerative braking

Suspension…………………….Air springs, semi-trailing arms

Tires/wheels…………………155 or 175 x 13  inch

Motor Power…………………18 kW (24 hp) continuous (60 hp for 1 minute) (two DC motors, four in four wheel drive version)

Batteries …………………48  of 72 Ah, 3 series of 16 cells Lithium Iron Phosphate, 3.2 Volts  per cell

Battery Capacity……………216 Ampere hours at 102 Volts, giving 22 kWh

Charge Time from 80% discharge………………9 hours (110 Volts, 15 Amps) or 5 hours (220 Volts, 12 amps )

Other Versions………………Four wheel drive, delivery, pickup, hybrid with backup generator

Price goal…………. $25,000

 

Nuestra historia

2011

Idea Inicial

2013

Participación en el Concurso de Capital Semilla
Elaboración del Plan de negocios
Participación en la XII FERIA UNA-Emprendedores

2014

Construcción del Taller experimental
Construcción de la Maqueta de madera
Participación en el Congreso Nacional de Innovación
Construcción del Prototipo del Chasis

2015

Creación de la Asociación de Vehículos Eléctricos de Costa Rica
Creación la marca CAMBRIA
Participación en la Feria del Ambiente

“To change the world, we have to change the car!”