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18 comments

What's Your Ultimate High-MPG Car?

Posted May 24, 2011 8:30 AM

Hybrid vehicles are a great way to cut your personal fuel consumption — but so are all-electric vehicles. And then there are the plug-in hybrids, which fall somewhere in the middle of the hybrid - electric vehicle (EV) spectrum. Meanwhile, some auto makers are exploring diesels and/or highly modified gasoline engines. Which route makes most sense to you, to avoid the gas pump as much as possible? (Not necessarily vehicle make, but type - such as hybrid, plug-in hybrid, all-electric, diesel, etc.)

The preceding article is a "sneak peek" from Data Acquisition, a newsletter from GlobalSpec. To stay up-to-date and informed on industry trends, products, and technologies, subscribe to Data Acquisition today.

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#1

Re: What's Your Ultimate High-MPG Car?

05/24/2011 10:55 AM

My idea...

After that it would be:

But I'll still use the 918 to get to the glider port.

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#2

Re: What's Your Ultimate High-MPG Car?

05/24/2011 11:40 AM

Right now mine is my 1987 Mazda B2600 that I converted to run specifically on propane.

Being it is no longer supporting any or the 1980's emissions crap tech and has modified for the necessary high compression propane takes to burn and transfer its energy to mechanical motion it runs upper teens to low twenty's MPG numbers plus the fuel cost around half or less of what gasoline or diesel do at the pump!

Its cost per mile is equivalent to having a mid sized pickup that gets around 35 - 45 MPG in most driving conditions! Plus the whole conversion including the pickup purchase for $200 only set me back around $1000!

My next project I am looking at doing is to set up a full sized diesel pickup to run on used oil and a 20% E85 mix. I think I can beat the Mazda's cost per mile numbers with that being used oil is free if you know where to get it and the E85 thinner will only raise my fuel cost to around 40 - 60 cents a gallon!

Thats my way of doing dirt cheap alternative fuel/quasi hybrid vehicle design real world style and on a real world budget too!

But thats just me and my concern is with the practical cost and application of the whole vehicle not just the end result fuel mileage numbers.

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#3

Re: What's Your Ultimate High-MPG Car?

05/24/2011 11:41 AM

Late 80's Honda CRX. ~50MPG on the highway.

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: What's Your Ultimate High-MPG Car?

05/24/2011 12:28 PM

Now that was a cracking little car, and great fun to drive. My dad had one in the late 80s, which I used to tour Cape Breton & PEI with my wife on our 'honeymoon'.

Once the kids are out of the way and I no longer need the 'bus', it'll hopefully be his'n'hers soft-tops, and I hope that mine will be something like this:

30-40mpg and 5-6 secs for 0-60mph (depending on engine).

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#8
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Re: What's Your Ultimate High-MPG Car?

05/25/2011 3:39 AM

Holzfeller - It would be very interesting to me to see what a car like the Lotus 7/Caterham with one of those new European small diesels would do on mileage.

Ron Champion wrote a book back about 15 years ago titles Build Your Own Sports Car for as Little as 250 (UK pounds) , published by Haynes. It gives most of the parameters for building a 1200 pound 2 seater similar to the Caterham. Perhaps less with a small high efficiency engine and matched transmission. I visualize about 35-40 HP for reasonable highway power.

The Caterham body style might benefit at freeway speeds from some streamlining. To that end I am curious as to whether a 1927 Ford Model T roadster body with doors and the usual streamlining applied to Bonneville modified roadsters might not produce an improvement. All manner of fiberglass body parts for these types of hot rod cars are readily available at reasonable prices. Some mods to Ron Champion's frame design would be needed to fit the 27T body contours; but the weight adders there look minimal. The basic Ford body tub would add some 75pounds and some extra fiberglass panels another 25 or 50. This might be compensated for by a smaller modern engine/transmission package and a magnesium Halibrand roadster rear axle center section with a lightened ring gear and differential carrier and 1" midget change gears.

Rambling here ......... Most of you guys likely care little about this hot rod subculture minutia. Back to basics. Absent the availability of the above mentioned diesel technology what small lightweight engine, car or bike, could deliver the desired efficiency? I have several possible ways to add a reverse gear to a driveline with a bike engine and tranny up front.

Any thoughts on this? ...........Ed Weldon

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#9
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Re: What's Your Ultimate High-MPG Car?

05/25/2011 6:31 AM

1200 pound car meets 5,000 pound SUV. Fails crash test.

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#11
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Re: What's Your Ultimate High-MPG Car?

05/25/2011 8:36 AM

Cobalt meets Hummer. 15mph collision. Hummer won. $7000 in damage. Bad Hummer.

To me, my Cobalt is my ultimate high-mileage car. It can go over 400km on a tank in the city, under normal driving conditions. That's about 2 weeks per fill. Smaller engine, lighter car. I'll get around 560km on the highway.

Today, it's all about energy dissipation. Sure, the old Buicks et al would survive a crash, but the occupants might not.

I'm not really a "brand" guy. If Chrysler or Ford has a product that catches my attention and is affordable, I'll give it a shot.

Hybrids, EVs and their technology just don't do anything for me. Ten years from now, maybe. For now I'll stick my IC engine, thank you.

Sure, I would love a more exotic or fanciful car. Our winters and roads can be very hard on vehicles so it makes no sense, at least for me, to own anything not designed with Canada in mind.

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#13
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Re: What's Your Ultimate High-MPG Car?

05/25/2011 12:30 PM

Year 1969. Ed is driving his 36hp VW bug on a winding back road in NJ. Around a curve and there's a BIG car coming at me in my lane. Instinctive snap maneuver onto the shoulder, Ed lives and the other guy is gone in the distance. Ed becomes a believer in small maneuverable vehicles. ........ and defensive driving.

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#14
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Re: What's Your Ultimate High-MPG Car?

05/25/2011 1:35 PM

Many countries around the world have better safety than the US - all depend on defensive driving to achieve that.

In Germany, like the US, you expect you know what the driver of the other car will do and act accordingly.

For example here, you never assume because the other person will no doubt do something different - defensive driving is mandatory.

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#16
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Re: What's Your Ultimate High-MPG Car?

05/25/2011 4:56 PM

http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthread.php/lotus-7-locost-aero-rebody-11009.html

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#17
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Re: What's Your Ultimate High-MPG Car?

05/25/2011 6:08 PM

Hi Ed. Good idea. I'm a huge fan of diesels, and would be interested to see what one would do in this. I bet a 1.4 litre from Ford, Citroen or the like could get 80mpg (imperial) and still get 0-60 in 8 seconds or less. If I'm lucky I might get to try it some day.

Talking of bike engines, for power to weight ratio in such a light car, the old Norton rotary engine could be quite interesting in the Caterham.

Kit cars and small two-seaters have always had quite a following in the UK, and there are plenty of interesting ones about. One I like uses the front end of a Citroen 2CV to make a three-wheeler reminiscent of the old Morgans.

http://www.spitfireart.com/bracv3.html

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#5

Re: What's Your Ultimate High-MPG Car?

05/24/2011 12:55 PM

The most sensible today is the same as always - petrol powered - small.

The common rail diesel gets a bit better consumption figures but you pay substantial extra up front.

Same with hybrids or electric cars - you pay too much extra up front.

Just bought a Nissan Micra and went through this in detail.

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#6

Re: What's Your Ultimate High-MPG Car?

05/24/2011 11:20 PM

All available cars are absurd. They should average at least 50% payload, with better streamlining.

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Re: What's Your Ultimate High-MPG Car?

05/24/2011 11:55 PM

Why 50% payload? That sounds like a personal/situational requirement.

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#15
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Re: What's Your Ultimate High-MPG Car?

05/25/2011 4:45 PM

50% payload is common on 18 wheelers, and also easy to achieve with a motorized velomobile. Carrying around a ton or two of steel everywhere we go for personal image purposes endangers others and destroys the dreams of our descendants.

A bicycle or motorized velomobile lets you get your exercise and reduce stress while actually saving time overall in many situations, and is light enough to pedal home with a flat battery, haul over a snow drift and otherwise not complicate one's life unduly.

A velomobile with only pedals is no fun for stop and go traffic or hot weather, but an electric hybrid is compatible with traffic, and feels great to use. It also can use regenerative braking to keep downhill speeds safe, instead of trying to conserve momentum for the next uphill. With a combustion engine instead it can reach highway speeds and replace the weight of the battery with crash protection.

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#10

Re: What's Your Ultimate High-MPG Car?

05/25/2011 7:26 AM

I like the gas electric hybrid because I can fill it up anywhere and not wait for a battery charger. Currently I am driving a 2011 Prius and getting 49mpg on any given day and 54.6 when drafting on the highway. Had Toyota offered a truck version of the hybrid instead of the car I would have jumped on it. The last time I looked for a new truck the small ones were getting within 5 mpg of a full size. Not enough difference for the trade off in payload and towing capacity. Not sure what the Prius can tow but I doubt I will be hooking up the trailer and transporting my old Case 580 CK backhoe anytime soon.

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#12

Re: What's Your Ultimate High-MPG Car?

05/25/2011 9:26 AM

Okay the mileage kinda sucks but it looks good while burning fuel or standing still.

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#18

Re: What's Your Ultimate High-MPG Car?

05/26/2011 3:53 PM
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Users who posted comments:

Anonymous Hero (2); Easyway (3); Ed Weldon (2); Fredski (1); guds777 (1); Holzfeller (2); russ123 (3); RVZ717 (1); Steve of the North (1); tcmtech (1); The Mechanic (1)

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