Six vehicles recently participated in the One Gallon Challenge, which took them on a 100 mile road trip from Greenfield, Massachusetts to Boston. This alternative fuel vehicle contest encouraged innovation of all the participants.
The Dirigo diesel 3-wheeler was able to squeeze out 88 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) with a top speed of 72 mph because of its attention to aerodynamics. The Ricker Truck was also diesel powered and achieved 70 MPGe using its laminated foam construction and light weight body.
MIT’s Porsche EV was able to cruise with a 164 MPGe, plug to wheel efficiency. Fifteen MIT students used 18 U-Charge® XP Lithium Phosphate batteries for the project. The three wheeled converted grocery getter Moonbeam (which cost only $2500 to build) sailed along at 93 MPGe.
And 21st Century Motor Works entered a wood-gas powered truck that achieved 27.7 MGPe using carbon sequestering of cord wood, leaves and cardboard. The Roopod 2-cylinder diesel wasn’t running at race time so it was symbolically pushed across the start line.
These vehicles may not be entered in the Progressive Automotive X-Prize competition any time soon. But, they show the potential of what is achievable by garage inventors and small groups of people who put their heads and hearts into raising the bar on MPG’s for all future vehicles.