In the postmortem the flight director started with, "... we sadly lost the vehicle after a flight of 1.5 seconds
[*]He should have said 6000 Kgf-sec, because that was the impulse delivered by the twin rocket boosters each 1500 Kgf thrust burning for 2 seconds.
I think in a decade or so, all the cars will get an electric motor as the zeroth gear.If the IC engine has work only above 5mph or 7mph they can tune it completely differently and improve fuel economy by 50% easily. Much of the fuel economy of the Prius comes from the engine that does not have to work below 10 mph. It would not be too expensive to store enough juice to pull the car up to 5 or 10mph a few times.
But there is an area where they were competing intensely, with no holds barred and no managers messing with them. That was the acceleration quarter-mile time and 0-60mph time got them the bragging rights. They took this pissing contest seriously. Here we are talking about virtually unlimited budgets, no interference from bean counters and sales critters. Adding an electric boost at below 5mph would have added to the over all complexity and service revenue would not be impacted. But still they did not have the imagination to do it.
You could accuse me of Monday-morning-quarterbacking with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight. And you would be right. But I am not an auto engineer. There were auto engineers fighting the 0-60 mph time battle for all the car companies all the time. They should have thought about it and implemented it. Cost was not a limitation. I am talking about Porches and BMWs. Weight is not an issue. These monster cars are all engines-and-wheels with tiny cockpit for the driver to squeeze in. Complexity is not an issue. These engines are V12 and V8 engines with thousands of moving parts with twin turbo supercharging with intercooler. These beasts would malfunction if you looked at them wrong.
Look at their supercharging. Electric superchargers were well known and were actually used in airplane engines since 1930. Still these engineers are so averse to electricity or so afraid of it, they would rather use a turbine mounted in the exhaust manifold and use it to power a compressor to supercharge the cylinders. Look at the complexity. At this point they might as well dispense will all the cylinders and pistons and camshafts and try to become a pure gas turbine engine. That is what these are. Exhaust turning a turbine, which turns a compressor, heck you got a gas turbine engine right there. All these pistons and cylinders do is to slow the damn thing down. If a simple combustion chamber is used and the turbines spin up to 30000 rpm, you got a jet engine. You can easily make a turbo-shaft engine. But these engineers were so wedded to the idea of cylinders and pistons, they did not make the jump. Of course, there is the turbo lag. I remember seeing Jay Leno riding a motor cycle made by strapping a couple of wheels to a discarded helicopter turning engine. He said, there is turbo lag on both ends. You turn the throttle off, and then the engine thinks about it for a minute before spinning down.
Unix will self-destruct in five seconds... 4... 3... 2... 1...