The Volkswagen Eco-Racer got 85 mpg and the Fiat Ecobasic got 94 mpg using existing technology. The Fiat even had four seats! So how did they do it...and why weren't they produced?
Both cars achieved such fantastic mileage primarily by being a heck of a lot lighter than anything else on the road. The VW eco-racer (not only economical, but also zippy) was made of carbon fiber. And while that means less gas, it also means a higher price. The Ecobasic on the other hand, went plastic. And that might reduce gas mileage, but it also can compromise safety.
In the end, neither of the cars are designed for markets that want fuel economy. If you want a "racer," they don't care how much carbon is flying out the tail-pipe, and if you want an economy car, you're not willing to pay thousands of dollars extra for fuel economy that will likely never pay for itself.
At least...for now. As gas prices go up, and carbon fiber gets cheaper, there's no way we won't see other incarnations of these vehicles on the road in the next ten years. Hopefully in hybrid or electric form.
Videos of both cars in action, after the jump.
The Fiat Ecobasic
The VW EcoRacer
written by yuliya, December 14, 2007
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