Misdirected energy.

I made an earlier post about onboard HHO gas generation in your car to supposedly help with its efficiency and use less gasoline. I’ve learnt that the mpg gain is so slight that it is hardly worth doing on most vehicles.

The biggest mpg boosts I’ve heard about come from modified lightweight building materials, or simply driving and accelerating slower and maybe even simple aerodynamic mods to your regular car (google 50mpg saturn and 131 mpg Caterham)

This brings into question aerodynamics and engine size. Motorcycles get great gas mileage and also achieve great acceleration due to their lightweight nature, smaller engines and obvious aerodynamic advantages over a car (less frontal area)

For the budding motorsports and efficiency freak this brings up another question. Do I buy a bike ? considering safety, cargo space and lack of experience the answer would seem to be no. (and the fact I can’t autocross a motorcycle)

The other option ? It might seem even crazier; build or modify a car/trike in such a way as to take the best of both designs. Smaller engine from a motorcycle, lightweight design but more cargo space and 2 seats, possibly even an enclosed cabin.

People have been splicing bikes and cars for a long time in all sorts of crazy configurations (the latest being something like the T-rex reverse trike) with all sorts of different aims. The bottom line is this kind of thinking is beneficial for performance AND fuel efficiency.

With my limited knowledge of automotive design, construction and maintenance (the most complicated thing I’ve done is replace struts on a Subaru. I don’t even know how to weld.) Would this venture be completely misdirected energy and resources ? I know I would stand to learn a lot and it would be a very rewarding accomplishment, but is there an easier way (that won’t completely drain my wallet) to achieve safety, acceleration and high efficiency on my daily commute to work ?

I drive to work every day, and soon I will have a slightly longer drive 60% of which will be on a freeway, due to moving house. Right now I drive a 4 passenger station wagon which can achieve 23-24mpg in the city with careful driving and about 29-31 on the freeway. But I am dragging around a lot of extra cabin space, wheel base and weight I don’t really need.

I have heard that the overall trend of automotive design in the next few decades will be towards journey specific vehicles, people will own multiple vehicles for different types of journey, not because of personal choice but out of pure practicality.

ie- Keeping the station wagon for the long weekend trips to the lake with wife, kids and dogs in tow, but using a much, much smaller vehicle for the daily grind to work where all I need is myself and a bag.

My situation would dictate this train of thought; the next car I want to purchase will most likely be something fun with a turbo’d 2.0l engine, or a non- turbo 2.5l. Daily driving that would be hypocritical and expensive in my case. I can’t preach energy efficiency from the drivers seat of a WRX.

Therefore in my eyes I need to make amends by taking my daily driving habits in a much higher mpg direction. Attone for my sins if you will.

These guys have the right idea already. As do these guys who are currently my main inspiration.

Can I build something safe, with 85mpg or better, an does 0-60 in under 6 seconds ? we’ll see.

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2 thoughts on “Misdirected energy.

  1. Or…Buy a yaris or prius? or an English tiny car…think chevy matiz…smaller than the aveo even!

    Don’t want to get into any arguments with Trucks though, you’d be better of buying a bike. Or a cycle and then that way you get fit too. Or park a wee way from work and walk the rest. I walk an hour to work every day. It’s not 110 degrees though. And I have nearly been runned over once by a yob.

  2. Hey 😀 I agree with Melanie. Get a bicycle 🙂
    Lyndsey and I both cycle to work/uni, seems to work, even in Scotland where there’s hills, rain and wind 🙂 Not sure about cycling in a desert… but I’m not sure about living in one either 😛

    (just found your new blog, so catching up commenting on it :P)

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