In a test at the Michigan International Speedway, a very light car called the “Edison 2″ averaged 120 miles per gallon for 100 laps. The Edison 2 is an experimental car designed for low fuel consumption. It is made mostly of recyclable aluminum and steel and uses a turbocharged 250 cc one cylinder engine powered by E85, an ethanol/gasoline blend. The main advantage of the Edison, besides its fuel efficiency, is its low weight. Electric engines, on the contrary generally rely on heavy batteries. The car weighs only about 750 pounds, and has a drag coefficient of .15. (A 2010 Prius has one of .25.) The Edison 2 can also carry four people.
Currently the car is competing for the Automotive X-Prize, in the class of cars that go at least 200 miles on one tank of fuel, or battery charge, have four wheels, and carry 4 passengers. The prize for winning the competition is five million dollars. Cars in the mainstream competition also have to be able to travel from zero to sixty miles per hour in 15 seconds or less, pass safety tests, and clear some other performance hurdles such as a hill-climbing event.
Racing on a track, of course, is different than more typical road driving. On the Edison blog, a comment was posted by a company representative about how their car would function on the road, “Yes our cars can get 100 MPG while sold for the street and while meeting emissions.”
If the Edison 2 completes all the tasks and wins the prize, then it could go on for further testing and development for potential mass production.
Image Credit: royalbroil
Note: Image above is not the actual track where testing took place.