The foundation that handed out $10million to the makers of SpaceShipOne for being the first non-government space craft has announced a $10million prize for the first team to produce a commercially viable car capable of 100 miles to the gallon. So far 30 teams have announced their intentions to participate.
BMW has announced changes to the Mini line that could see its diesel model achieving up to 72.4mpg. Utilising “hybrid like” technology, the little car will only engage its alternator on deceleration, rather than having it be a constant drag, and the manual versions will will turn the engine off rather than idle and give the driver hints on teh best gear to engage.
The caveat, as always, is that we should all be using cars less. However, for those of us who must, we should all consider the new breed of economical super-minis and/or alternative fuels.
If you must use a car, then you should at least try to use it as efficiently as possible. Jalopnik has some simple suggestions for improving mileage. Obviously, I would have put “Don’t use your car when you don’t have to” at the top of the list, but I don’t have a car, so it’s my only option.
Should I ever need to get a car I’ll be looking for something I can run on biodiesel, or possibly a biodiesel/ petroleum diesel mix because you can’t always get to a green fuel pump. I hanker for a Volvo estate or small van to cart my bikes around in. Efficiency isn’t such a concern with a closed circuit fuel supply like biodiesel, but VCACarFuelData.org.uk, allows you to search for your next ride by this and other criteria. If I could forgo the space considerations then the Citroen C1 would be worth considering, the most efficient of the cars currently listed on there.
Of course, another option is to do something as inventive as this Russian driver, who replaced his Opel’s engine with a 50kw motor and filled all the spare space with batteries.
A few years ago, Volkswagen built a concept car that could manage over 200 miles to the gallon. The project was shelved because the price of a complete vehicle was judged to be too high. Now, with advances bringing costs down, and changes in management at the company, the project has been resurrected.