Bag of Spoons
Just off the A1(M)

Mon, 27 Feb 2006

At last, the car of tomorrow

For many years I have been frustrated by the motor industry not making any major improvements in fuel economy. At best the average car might be a few percent better than one for ten years ago. Our diesel Zafira manages up to 50mpg (5.5 l/100km). That's about 30% better than our old Rover, but probably largely down to being a diesel. Even the much celebrated Toyota Prius can only manage something around the mid sixties, depending on how and where you drive. If you drive mostly motorway it would not be that high as the petrol engine would have to run all the time.

Today I read about an intruiging car from a company called Loremo. They seem to be a small company in Germany who are developing a car that can manage a staggering 180mpg (1.5 l/100km)! Unlike some of the concept cars you see this looks reasonably practical with capacity for up to four passengers, but I expect those in the back would not have much room. The economy comes from using a small (15 kW / 20 HP) diesel engine in a very light (450 kg) package with very good aerodynamics. Obviously it's not going to be the quickest car on the road (0-100km/h in a leisurely 20s), but they reckon it can get to 160km/h eventually, which is quicker than anyone should be travelling on UK roads.

There's an alternative model with a much more powerful engine that manages about half the economy for those who feel the need. Both are reasonably priced, but will not be available before 2009.It's in the same sort of ballpark as the Smart ForFour, but weighs about half as much.

It will be interesting to see if they get to market on schedule, if at all. Maybe the technology will filter up to cars in general and we can all look forward to using less of the increasingly expensive go-juice.

I'm making an effort to use metric measures at the moment. It's difficult as so many aspects of motoring in the UK are stuck in the imperial age even if we buy our fuel in Litres. Changing all our distance and speed signs would be a major undertaking and would cause much confusion.

I recently read an interesting site on the history and statistics of which side of the road various countries drive on. That's another thing that's unlikely to change in a hurry.

[21:41] | [] | Comments | G
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