The new X-Prize is for a car that gets 100 miles-per-gallon and like the
previous X-Prize is for ten million dollars.
Now there are a lot of rules but in general the car must get 100 MPG, it
must reach a performance level (but not high performance), it must have four
wheels, it must be possible to manufacture, and it will be compared to other
I can do this but really I'm too busy at this time...and the prototype would
cost about $250,000 to shop produce.
But how to do it quick and dirty ?
I thought about the Lotus Elise at 1984 pounds and 200 horsepower. Well,
swap the race-prepared engine for a stock engine and re-gear the
transmission. The cost would be about $55,000. The result is unknown but
1984 pounds is too heavy for 100 MPG.
Or take the car engine and transmission out of the Elise and replace it with
a motorcycle engine and transmission...and re-gear the transmission. (I was
hoping for a Goldwing engine with an automatic transmission but as it turns
out the automatic transmission is a show vehicle only.) Now the motorcycle
engine and transmission might save 300 pounds over the car engine and
transmission so that puts the weight at 1684 pounds. Cost about $75,000
(with custom fabrication) and that result is unknown but it's also too heavy
for 100 MPG...
Next for an entry in the hopeless category I thought of the Mazda MX-5 at
2441 pounds. Then look for fiberglass fenders, hood, and trunk lid. Also add
the racing front end for lower drag and the racing rear spoiler. And there
might be rocker-panel skirts for the car. Then make your own fender skirts.
Oh, don't forget to re-gear the transmission and rear axle. Cost about
$30,000 and no hope for 100 MPG...
Then I thought about history. The 1967 MG Midget at 1576 pounds. Of course
that car comes with a small engine but not a modern engine. So replace the
car engine and transmission with a motorcycle engine and transmission...and
re-gear the transmission. Hopefully that puts the weight at about 1276
pounds and that starts to get interesting...if an efficient motorcycle
engine has been found. (Motorcycle engines tend to have a carburetor for
each cyclinder and only be concerned with high performance.) Cost about
$30,000...because of custom fabrication and required parts.
But when all else fails all sports car racers know about the Lotus Super 7.
The Super 7 is a 1960's Formula Junior race car that was put on the street
with a wider frame, a higher suspension, and with motorcycle fenders on the
front wheels. The car is a two-seat convertible with no doors but a step-in
style. The car is often built with kits and almost any choice of engine.
However, the Caterham 7 Classic is all ready to go. It has a 1.4 dual
overhead cam engine with a four valve head and fuel injection that makes 105
horsepower. The car weighs 1155 pounds and that gets interesting. The car
costs $26,000. Oh, don't forget to re-gear the transmission and rear axle as
this is ordinarily a high performance car. Then if the 100 MPG result is not
reached consider swapping the car engine and transmission for a motorcycle
engine and transmission...
Gosh is two seats only okay with the X-Prize ?
But wow look at GM. They built a carbon fiber car with a 1.3 3-cyclinder
two-stroke engine that got 100 MPG. Well in rigorous test cycles that car
was said to get 60 MPG. The catch is that carbon fiber costs about $50 a
pound compared to fiberglass at 50 cents a pound or compared to aluminum or
steel at their prices. Of couse carbon fiber requires a special fabrication
shop (like where they make spaceships) while any race car shop can make a
car with an aluminum or steel frame...
Well darn maybe I will put together an entry and I'll see you there...
- posted 14 years ago