He heads home to his own shop and custom builds an aerodynamically efficient, two-passenger, 3-wheel motorcycle capable of 125 mpg (US) at 65 mph (1.9 L/100 km @ 105 km/h) and a top speed of over 100 mph (161 km/h). And then after using it for 3,200 miles (5,150 km), he puts it on eBay to make room in his garage for the next version which will be a plug-in hybrid.
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“After working [on] improving conventional production car/truck fuel economy I wanted to try something with fewer constraints,” says EcoModder member John (HyperRocket). Now there’s an understatement.
(It kind of makes you wonder how many house painters go home at the end of the day, budding Picassos, to toil on masterwork canvases…)
His street legal, 2-seat, tandem vehicle is registered as a motorcycle and was engineered for both high efficiency and fun:
- the drivetrain is from a Kawasaki Ninja: a 250cc liquid cooled, four stroke, DOHC 2 cylinder tuned with an exhaust gas analyzer for best efficiency & driveability
- six speed manual transmission
- weight: 505 lbs
- excellent 0.16 coefficient of drag, calculated through GPS-based coast down tests
- HID projector headlight up front, and LED’s elsewhere (front turn signals are integrated into the side mirrors for aerodynamics)
- safety features include 4 point seat belts, roll bar and front mounted IMPAXX crash foam as now used in NASCAR sides
John claims fuel efficiency of 105 mpg (US) (2.2 L/100 km) cruising on the highway at 65mph when equipped with the bling wheels and sporty gearing, and even better numbers with a couple of additional mods: “When equipped with the pictured motorcycle tires (not included) and a smaller rear sprocket it achieved 125 mpg @ 65mph.” (1.9 L/100 km @ 105 km/h)
If you think a vehicle like this might draw attention, John confirms that with a good anecdote: After being stopped by police and explaining the project to the curious officer, ‘back up’ was called in. “Four squad cars showed up, several houses of neighbors came out and the whole thing turned into a spectacle. No ticket, everyone was genuinely interested in ecomodding!”
The trike’s eBay auction has a starting bid of $15,600 USD. While not questioning the design or workmanship that went into the machine, we wonder if that price will draw efficiency-minded bidders in these days of $2 per gallon gasoline. Undoubtedly his work would have grabbed a lot of attention last summer, when fuel prices were driving people into a frenzy, paying utterly ridiculous prices for used Geo Metros to save money at the pumps.
Best of luck, John. We’re looking forward to seeing what rolls out of your shop next!
By Benjamin Jones on May 8, 2009