Saturday, December 29th, 2007

Chuck Squatriglia calls the Aerocivic “ugly as sin”:

There’s no two ways about it — this car is ugly as sin and as rough as a shipping pallet. But that doesn’t matter because it gets 95 mpg.

Its owner, known only as “basjoos,” says he spent $400 building “Aerocivic” in his yard using things you can get at hardware and art supply stores. That pretty much invalidates auto industry arguments about it being difficult and costly to build super fuel-efficient cars. It also makes him a contender for the Automotive X-Prize, a $10 million challenge to build the first 100-mpg car.

According to a thread over at, basjoos started with a 1992 Honda Civic CX that already got about 50 mpg or so. He used aluminum, Coroplast and Lexan to improve the aerodynamics of the car, dropping the drag coefficient from 0.34 to 0.17. Although the car looks like it would be pushed all over the place, if not blow apart entirely, in a stiff breeze, basjoos claims it’s smooth to 90 mph and will top 100 mph. He says it gets 95 mpg up to 65 mph before fuel economy begins to fall as speed increases.

Granted, the Civic is a lightweight car with a small engine and a lot of the improvement in basjoos’ fuel economy can be attributed to his hypermiler driving style. But AeroCivic is still an impressive accomplishment, and Ron Cogan of Green Car Journal and tells us automakers will be building cars a lot like it in order to meet the new 35 mpg fuel economy standard.

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