Saturday, May 13, 2006

Over 8,000 MPG - but there's a catch

University of Bath - Public Relations - Press releases:

Before you get too excited about how much this car - which will be representing Britain at the Shell Eco-Marathon - might save you at the gas pump, there are a few things you ought to know. The car is a three-wheeled oddity only 10 feet long and two feet wide with a fuel-injected 35 cc engine. The British team complain that some other entries save weight by using children as young as ten years old as drivers.

But, the real trick to this competition is that the race is conducted at speeds ranging from four to 30 MPH for a total of 10 miles. Racers use the engine just once for a few seconds on each lap and aim to complete each circuit without touching the breaks. This ain't Le Mans, friends.


At Sat May 13, 09:18:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Ed Reid said...

This ain't even a potential commuter vehicle, especially in cold climates.

Consumers have not chosen to buy economy cars because they are "upholstered roller skates" which offer very limited utility. These comperition vehicles offer no utility, including a weather-resistant enclosure.

The vehicle in question involves no new technology to improve engine / drive train efficiency. It merely deals with the issues of mass and drag by absolutely minimizing weight and moving slowly enough to minimize drag. Not using the brakes on a closed course is fine, but it would be difficult to duplicate during the morning or evening rush hour in any US city of any size.

Several years ago, a representative of an electric utility gave a speech and displayed an electric vehicle at a conference on alternative fueled vehicles in Cleveland, OH in mid-winter. The speaker had a "grunt" from his organization drive the car to the conference, rather than driving it himself, because the car did not have a heater. It didn't have a heater because it's range would have been so severely reduced by the heater's power consumption that it could not have reached the conference center.


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