Original article appearred on the green optimistic web site.
In French, the word “Avion” means “airplane”. The word “airplane”, associated with a car, is totally inadequate in terms of fuel consumption, but rather in terms of aerodynamic behavior and/or shape.
There was a sports car built in 1984 by Craig Henderson and Bill Green from Bellingham, Washington, and at that time it was able to have a fuel economy of over 100 mpg (actually, 114mpg a the speed of 55 mph)! They even got into Guinness Book of World Records with a consumption of 103.7 mpg (in European terms, that’s 2.27 liters/100km).
The Avion sports car used a modified Mercedes diesel engine, known for durability and low consumption, and had an aerodynamic body made of aluminium and other light composites and weighting about 1,500 pounds (679 kg).
The makers of this car proposed their project to many big auto makers of those times, and were apparently rejected because gasoline was too cheap at the moment. The car companies told them nobody would buy their fuel efficient car (yeah, right, we don’t like cheaper than cheap).
Does anyone notice any similarity between this and the EV1 project? GM also said this about their own electric car, after they spent expensive hours and money to develop it. Why is that? Who paid their efforts to NOT release an electric car to the market?
Now, when being green is trendy, there’s the Progressive Automotive X-Prize, with a reward of $10 million, for anybody who gets more than 100 mpg, of course, the winner will be the competitor with the highest number. There already are 120 teams to participate in this competition, and one of them is likely to get well over 100 mpg. The old Avion might have a chance on this if re-developed properly, because nowadays better and lighter engines already do exist.
Once again, for the non-believers, watch out: this is again one more proof that the best technology is not the most popular, but the one who drags you towards the big hole of consumerism.