Maine gadgeteer Jory Squibb has posted plans on his site for Moonbeam, a "microcar" design based on heavy modification of a couple of motorcyces that Squibb has created and implemented. The result looks something like a cross between a golf cart and a toy G.I. Joe vehicle.
Its September and I am up to 1500 miles of use. Gas economy varies between 85 and 105 MPG depending on conditions. 105 is when driving a steady 40 MPH. 85 is for total stop-and-go town driving, both with one passenger. A reasonable claim might be 100 MPG. The cars heater, which is actually the scooters radiator mounted in the front of the passenger space, is beginning to be much appreciated. In summer, I had to leave the overhead door open to keep cool.
Squibb's plans are not copyrighted, and he encourages his site readers to attempt to build their own microcar.
While this solution is obviously not for everyone (Squibb estimates the project cost him $2500 and took 1000 hours of labor), but it's exciting to see people working with low-tech and relatively low-cost solutions to energy and traffic problems.
Man, this picture of the car taken at Boston's Altwheels Festival is pretty sweet looking.
Jory's a friend - lives about 12 miles (19 km) from me. He's a sailor, and is used to jury-rigging (Jory-rigging?). It's pretty funny to see the looks he gets when he heads down the road in his rig. My hat is off to him. Still, don't overlook that what he's made is essentially a motor scooter with a cowling.
Does anyone remember the VW Lupo 3L TDi? Not so very long ago VW sold a version of the Lupo capable of 3Litres per 100Km, roughly 90 mpg, (imperial). I believe it continues to hold all consumption records for a stock production vehicle.
Whilst the Moonbeam is an admirable project, the reality is that we've had access to cars this efficient and better for 5 years, VW also producing a prototype 1L! (http://www.canadiandriver.com/news/02images/vw1litre1.jpg) However, the Lupo was discontinued in 2005, apparently due to lack of demand.