The XR3 hybrid is ugly but efficient

The XR3 diesel electric hybrid three wheeler has a claimed consumption of 125 miles to the gallon (US gallon, I assume) and is soon going to be mass produced. The XR3 started out as a set of plans so you could build your own. I found it whilst browsing the designer’s other creations such as the XR2 recumbent bike.

It’s cool that such a car is going into production, but does it have to look like one of the background vehicles from a 1980’s science fiction movie?

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Pimp my Prius

A trio of Swedish customisers have spent over $180,000 blinging up a Toyota Prius. Of course, all those mods add weight and energy requirements, so it’ll certainly be a lot less efficient than a standard version.

Plus, most of what they’ve done just serves to make a dull car ugly.

It’s about time somebody stepped up to make Prii more attractive, but this certainly isn’t the way.

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The XR-3 Hybrid

The XR-3 plug in hybrid is a self build project that promises between 100 and 225 miles per gallon (US gallons, US=3.785411784 Litres- UK=4.54609 Litres, according to this page). You can pre-order the instructions, $170 for the basic set, $200 for the deluxe version with lots of data on a dvd. There are plans to produce body and chassis parts within the year for those of us who aren’t so adept at laying carbon or glass fibre.

via Jalopnik

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Aptera – 300mpg plug-in hybrid trike

The Aptera trike will be available in electric and plug in hybrid versions. The electric Aptera has a range of around 120 miles on a full charge, whilst the hybrid can achieve anything up to 300 miles per gallon. They’re taking pre-orders (for California only at the moment) prior to launching next year.

It’s possible the vehicle will make it over here, priced at less than £15,000. I’m going to start saving now.

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Boosting Prius performance

Lithium Technology Corporation has developed lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) cells which can greatly increase the fuel economy of hybrids. There are issues with safety, which mean Toyota are not yet ready to start using them.

Another way to increase a hybrid’s mileage is to get Solar Electric Vehicles’ fitted solar panel roofs.

Somewhere out there is the ideal combination of solar panelled garage and car, with high capacity batteries.

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It's a Mini economical adventure

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.

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