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11-Year-Old Pilots 1,325 MPG Concept Car

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the color-me-and-all-kids-everywhere-envious dept.

Transportation 220

MikeChino writes "Hypermiling vehicles depend on ultra-efficient engines and low weight to go the distance, so Cambridge Design Partnership selected 11-year-old Cambreshire student Kitty Foster as the pilot their new 1,325 MPG car. The vehicle incorporates a highly modified lightweight oxygen concentrator that was originally developed for the Ministry of Defense to treat injured soldiers."

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Hard to believe anyone... (1)

Super Dave Osbourne (688888) | more than 2 years ago | (#36545926)

would allow an 11 year old to drive a car of any type. Maybe it goes the speed of one of the battery powered or wind up 'toy cars' that kids putz around on at home.

Re:Hard to believe anyone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36545984)

Pretty obviously this was about the weight.

Using an 11 year old girl rather than an adult probably adds a couple of hundred MPG.

Re:Hard to believe anyone... (1)

RussellSHarris (1385323) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546408)

Pretty obviously this was about the weight.

No shit. I want to know what sort of gas mileage it would get if it was carrying a normal-sized adult human.

Plus it makes NO mention of how fast the thing goes. For all I know, a bicycle might go just as fast, and use significantly less gasoline... i.e. none.

Re:Hard to believe anyone... (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546478)

No shit. I want to know what sort of gas mileage it would get if it was carrying a normal-sized adult human.

That depends. Are we talking normal size the world over, or "normal-sized" by American standards? Since the average adult American is obese, I think you're going to skew the numbers either way you go.

Re:Hard to believe anyone... (2)

taktoa (1995544) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546492)

The average adult American is not obese.

Re:Hard to believe anyone... (1)

rockout (1039072) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546558)

... said the big-boned Slashdot user.

Re:Hard to believe anyone... (1)

RussellSHarris (1385323) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546690)

Are we talking normal size the world over, or "normal-sized" by American standards?

Well, it was in Cambridge and that's in the UK; I think it'd be a fair compromise if it was average-sized by UK standards [bbc.co.uk] .

Granted, according to Forbes [forbes.com] the percentage of "overweight" (BMI > 25) adults in the UK is ~10% lower than in the US, but it's still very high.

Re:Hard to believe anyone... (2)

dontbgay (682790) | more than 2 years ago | (#36547086)

Roughly 25% [cdc.gov] equates to average? We shouldn't let facts get in the way of your slander though. Sure, it's a lot of people. No, it's not the average.

Re:Hard to believe anyone... (1)

kent_eh (543303) | more than 2 years ago | (#36547028)

a bicycle might go just as fast, and use significantly less gasoline... i.e. none.

My bicycle does even better...
It emits gas.

At least when I'm riding it.

Re:Hard to believe anyone... (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546672)

    That's exactly what I was thinking. Average size for an 11 year old female is 52" (4' 4") tall and 80 pounds. Compare that to the average weight for an 18 to 20 year old male, at 69" (5' 9") tall and 155 lbs.

    By using the younger girl, they're saving 17" in cabin/seating space (non-linear due to the angle of the seat), and 75 pounds of weight.

    Way back in the day, I had a little 50cc moped. Don't consider comparing it to the performance of current "pocket bikes". It was old and slow. It was my first "motorcycle" Ya, ya, not a motorcycle, but it was more than a bicycle, and I wasn't old enough to be licensed for motorcycles yet. I weighed about 130 pounds then, and could do 30 mph reasonably quickly. Again, that's compared to a bicycle, not to a real motorcycle or car. :) Someone who weighed about 180 tried to ride it. He could get up to 15mph, and it took about 4 times as long to get there.

    I suspect there are a few other reasons they chose her in particular. She was probably mature enough to be able to drive it. I wouldn't think a 5 year old could do it safely, despite the advantage in weight (avg female: 39.6 lbs). She's probably a family member of someone involved, and they probably didn't have any adults of such a small stature to participate. I can't honestly say I know any adults quite that small, but I do know some females who are right around 5' tall, and weigh about 100 pounds. There's still an advantage over an average adult male, but not as significant.

Re:Hard to believe anyone... (1)

sheddd (592499) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546070)

I was driving at 6; mostly around a farm but occasionally on the road. I was probably safer than the average 80 year old.

Re:Hard to believe anyone... (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546216)

I had crashed three cars by the time I was three. Not on the farm. I think I only took off in the tractor once at that age...

I once saw an eighty-year-old man parallel park by driving his car forward until he hit the car in front, angling the wheel, driving back till he hit the car in back, angling the wheel, and repeating this process as the two eighty-year-old women in the back seat appeared to be growing more and more concerned.

In retrospect, it seemed to sum up a great deal about everything.

Re:Hard to believe anyone... (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546450)

I once saw an eighty-year-old man parallel park by driving his car forward until he hit the car in front, angling the wheel, driving back till he hit the car in back, angling the wheel, and repeating this process as the two eighty-year-old women in the back seat appeared to be growing more and more concerned.

It's not just 80 year olds that park this way - I see this parking style often in the city where I live - parking is hard to come by and people will cram their car into impossibly small spaces.

Re:Hard to believe anyone... (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546380)

I was driving at 6; mostly around a farm but occasionally on the road. I was probably safer than the average 80 year old.

I was raised on a farm and saw far too many young kids on tractors. I know exactly how safe you were --- which is to say, not safe at all.

Re:Hard to believe anyone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36546384)

Mod parent up. I've been driving since I was 10... and not tiny compacts either.

Re:Hard to believe anyone... (2)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546074)

It's on a closed track. It's less risky than a go-kart.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mallory_Park [wikipedia.org]

>putz around
>putz as a verb

I don't think it means what you think it means.

--
BMO

Re:Hard to believe anyone... (1)

arun84h (1454607) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546118)

An 11 year old with a license to drive? What's next, Great Britain? A 16 year old with a license to kill?

Re:Hard to believe anyone... (3, Insightful)

zill (1690130) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546304)

You don't need a license to drive.

You need a license to drive on public roads.

What private citizens do with their private vehicles in their private race tracks is none of the government's business.

Re:Hard to believe anyone... (1)

Lazareth (1756336) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546406)

While that is true, something has to be said about the security of the child and the responsibility of guardianship. While traffic regulations does not apply on private ground, social service does.

Re:Hard to believe anyone... (1)

Rene S. Hollan (1943) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546520)

So does "Come back with a warrant", at least in the U.S.

Re:Hard to believe anyone... (1)

hackertourist (2202674) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546614)

This was a competition organized for school kids, in the UK. The UK is one of the worst nanny-states about anything to do with children, so I can guarantee you that something has been said etc.

Re:Hard to believe anyone... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36546702)

Are you fucking serious? Please stay the hell away from childhoods, you're absolutely ruining them.

Re:Hard to believe anyone... (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546960)

Indeed.

People are wondering why kids are staying indoors eating cheetos and playing vidya games and getting fat.

People like the parent are child abusers.

--
BMO

Re:Hard to believe anyone... (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 2 years ago | (#36547302)

Exactly.

I ran around barefoot with the other local kids at 6 years old. Nothing like running down to the lagoon for some swimming and fishing with the other kids.

These days you'd get done for neglect because you're not spending every moment supervising your kids.

Re:Hard to believe anyone... (2)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546938)

>While that is true, something has to be said about the security of the child and the responsibility of guardianship. While traffic regulations does not apply on private ground, social service does.

You seriously think that a school sponsored event runs aground of child safety laws? You really do?

You are what is wrong with society.

--
BMO

Re:Hard to believe anyone... (1)

TRRosen (720617) | more than 2 years ago | (#36547036)

What state do you live in. Safety permits are required for all ages for any vehicle bigger then a bicycle in michigan, on road or off.

Note most drunk driving laws apply to anyone in control of a motor vehicle either on a public road or not. Why you can be arrested before you even leave the parking lot.

Re:Hard to believe anyone... (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546136)

Your aren't off by much on the speed. In my high school we participated in events like this. I was the only one in the class that wasn't the the standard shop class kid as this was an elective offered only to juniors and seniors (you could take it all year both years). The competition was held up at Brainerd International Raceway and basically the engines have a pull string (think lawn mower) to start the vehicle and don't have multiple gears, so you pull start the vehicle and once up to speed shut the engine off and coast to a stop, then repeat until you are around the track. The fast ones top out at about 15mph.

Re:Hard to believe anyone... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36546218)

Really? Do you also think that minibikes and carts were designed for Shriners?

I'm guessing you grew up in a city, because every 11 year old I knew growing up had a mini-bike, four-wheeler, or cart that would go at least 55MPH+. I got my first Honda when I was 6. And, most rural kids I know started driving trucks around the farms by at least by 12.

Re:Hard to believe anyone... (1)

ChikMag777 (1337235) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546244)

My nephews started racing junior dragsters at ~8 y.o.

Re:Hard to believe anyone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36546280)

A mature 11 year old is going to have a better brain on their shoulders in most respects than an immature 21 year old adult. The latter is very common.

Re:Hard to believe anyone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36546526)

Yes. Why not a little person?

Re:Hard to believe anyone... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36547228)

They were in short supply?

Re:Hard to believe anyone... (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#36547200)

You've never been to a farm, then? If you can't drive pretty much all the machinery by the time you're 11, then there's clearly something wrong with you.

Re:Hard to believe anyone... (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#36547314)

Not all young humans are too impulsive, stupid, or otherwise incompetent to drive, ride horses, or race motocross for that matter!

Have some UK motocross age/class info:

http://forums.mxtrax.co.uk/showthread.php?t=162847 [mxtrax.co.uk]

"6-7 yr automatic 50cc 2 or 4 stroke auto air cooled only 12" rear 15"front.
7-10 yr junior 65cc 2 stroke or 110cc 4 stroke 12" rear 14" front.
9-12 yr intermediate 85cc 2 stroke or 124cc 4 stroke 14" rear 17" front.
11-15 yr senior 85cc 2 stroke or 125cc 4 stroke 19" rear 21" front.
14-17 yr open 125cc 2 stroke or 250cc 4 stroke 19" rear 21" front. "

She's 11? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36545934)

"Too old".

Re:She's 11? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36545978)

It might be ok if she's cute and flat, but I can't tell from the shitty photo.

Rather Stretching the Idea of a "Car" (2)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 2 years ago | (#36545942)

Passengers? Just one, the driver

Doors? None

Power Windows? Nope, no windows at all

Wheels? Just three

It's great to see something get this kind of fuel economy, to see where we can take the technology, but it might not be entirely honest to call it a "car".

Re:Rather Stretching the Idea of a "Car" (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546032)

Exactly. Instead of improving useless 'concept cars', effort would be better invested in producing something that could actually be useful.

Re:Rather Stretching the Idea of a "Car" (2)

wed128 (722152) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546098)

These sort of pissing contests sometimes produce technology that is useful in "real cars".

Re:Rather Stretching the Idea of a "Car" (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546202)

Maybe, but the same pissing contest could also be done with something a bit more useful. For instance a competition could be organized where the requirements include that the vehicle has been approved to drive on public roads and freeways.

Re:Rather Stretching the Idea of a "Car" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36546270)

And those kinds of contests also exist, but they serve different purposes. Cutting edge technology will never be approved to drive on public roads; no matter how safe it is it takes years to get thoroughly tested and certified. So MPG competitions for road ready cars is really about making efficient use of old technology. However, the kind of contests like the one in TFA are about developing new technologies and pushing the limits of what we're capable of. In 5 years, things that were used in this competition will likely wind up in competitions for road ready cars.

Re:Rather Stretching the Idea of a "Car" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36546338)

>> a competition could be organized where the requirements include that the vehicle has been approved to drive on public roads and freeways.

You mean with 50lb doors and car bumpers?

Re:Rather Stretching the Idea of a "Car" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36546262)

No! No research prototypes of any kind should ever be made! If it won't fit seamlessly into next model year's Corolla, it's a waste of time and money!

What the hell happened to slashdot?

Re:Rather Stretching the Idea of a "Car" (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546510)

They sold out, man.

Re:Rather Stretching the Idea of a "Car" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36546290)

You mean something like this?

VW XL1 [popularmechanics.com]

Re:Rather Stretching the Idea of a "Car" (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546434)

I was thinking exactly this on another thread:

Instead of another lightweight car with no productive use other than showing off drag coefficients in a wind tunnel, how about we see improvements in where the reward is the best?

Most cars have decent fuel economy. We need to not fret on getting 40 mpg from a 30mpg car. Instead, we need to see about squeezing 12-15 mpg from something that has 10mpg. Ford's turbocharged [1] V6 in the full sized trucks is one example -- getting something fuel thirsty as a pickup and adding some decent economy gains will save a lot more fuel in the long run than concept small cars.

Car companies need to show off heavy duty pickups and other boring but needed fleet vehicles that have energy saving features, but can still tow/haul/drag/carry the loads needed. For example, turbo diesel engines. This isn't a new technology, but it would be nice to see car makers offer this across the entire line of pickups, not just the heavy duty models.

[1]: 5psi boost -- not that great, but enough to overcome the HP loss in high altitudes that normally aspirated engines suffer from.

Re:Rather Stretching the Idea of a "Car" (1)

rockout (1039072) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546636)

I would disagree on the grounds that far more people drive 30mpg-ish cars than drive full-size trucks. And the idea isn't to get 40mpg out of it, it's to get 100 or 200mpg, eventually.

That same technology would eventually filter to the guys that "need" a turbo-charged V6 full-size pickup. You know, to uh.... haul stuff in. Really fast. Or something.

Re:Rather Stretching the Idea of a "Car" (1)

hackertourist (2202674) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546498)

Look at it as fundamental research instead. Yes, it's far removed from road cars, but new ideas have to be tested somewhere before a car company will commit millions to incorporate it into a saleable vehicle.
Hypermile racing is an avenue where e.g. combustion research can be carried out at relatively low cost and in a competitive environment that fosters new ideas etc. Many schools and universities take part [1], it would be much harder for them to design and build engines of the size needed to power a fullsize car.

1: that also means that competitions like these are in part about education. Education is best done on systems that show the fundamental principles, without getting bogged down in myriad implementation details. Another argument to use these simple racers rather than a fullsize car.

Re:Rather Stretching the Idea of a "Car" (4, Interesting)

bluemonq (812827) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546138)

The Peel P50 is widely recognized as a car (specifically, the smallest car ever commercially produced). It had room for one passenger, had three wheels... and a single door and a few windows. So I guess we're pretty close. Honestly, I'm surprised they didn't stick a light one-piece Lexan windscreen/canopy on it to cut down on the wind resistance.

Re:Rather Stretching the Idea of a "Car" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36546174)

I believe the word you are looking for is 'Trike', or Tricycle. Maybe Motor Tricycle. Make it pink and call it the Eco Barbie Motor Tricycle.

Re:Rather Stretching the Idea of a "Car" (1)

Kenoli (934612) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546178)

It's great to see something get this kind of fuel economy, to see where we can take the technology, but it might not be entirely honest to call it a "car".

You could call it a car. You'd just have to make sure to call it a terrible, useless, or impractical car to be accurate.

I mean, sure it has good fuel economy, but all other relevant aspects of a car were completely sacrificed in order to attain it. They apparently even used the lightest driver they could possibly find, an 11 year-old girl, in order to make the numbers even higher.

Re:Rather Stretching the Idea of a "Car" (1)

uglyduckling (103926) | more than 2 years ago | (#36547162)

It was done at the "Mileage Marathon Challenge", a 'race', the purpose of which is to get the most MPG from the car. They didn't use a light driver "to make the numbers higher", they did it to win the event, just like using a light jockey for horse racing, or a small Cox in a row boat. Everyone commenting on this story seems to have totally missed the point - it was a competition and they won it. Just like Formula One, it's done for sport, but overcoming the technical challenges will presumably produce technology that will feedback into mainstream motoring. If they had used a 150 pound male, they'd have lost the race.

Re:Rather Stretching the Idea of a "Car" (1)

irreverentdiscourse (1922968) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546292)

Maybe it's the concept of a "car" that needs to be adjusted? Since the current one is killing all the humans...

Re:Rather Stretching the Idea of a "Car" (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546548)

"Killing all the humans"... I won't even touch that remark. But a motorized vehicle is useless unless it can carry more than a bicycle. People expect to be able to have some passengers and cargo, and be protected from the elements.

Re:Rather Stretching the Idea of a "Car" (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546388)

Yeah. If this is a "car" then why are we always wringing our hands over when the electric car will become commonplace? We already have tons of clean inexpensive electric cars in the form of power wheels.

Re:Rather Stretching the Idea of a "Car" (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546634)

My car does not have power windows, and probably on 50% of the trips it has no passenger. If I could get a nice cheap enclosed 3 wheel vehicle I would be interested.

Re:Rather Stretching the Idea of a "Car" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36547318)

Nice of you to offer to help take care of the overpopulation problem like that. Volunteering to drive something with the safety features of a bicycle and the handling of a car...

Wait, what? You don't want to die in a 20 mph fender-bender? Come on, it'll be fun...

Re:Rather Stretching the Idea of a "Car" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36546674)

It goes from point A to point B. It's a car.

Re:Rather Stretching the Idea of a "Car" (1)

SailorSpork (1080153) | more than 2 years ago | (#36547220)

They have these other amazingly fuel-efficient vehicals powered by 11-year-olds which have been around for awhile. They are called "Bi-cycles." Amazingly, there is no petroleum-based MPG rating on them, as I understand they run on pizza and cookies.

Misread MPG as MPH (4, Funny)

ChrisMounce (1096567) | more than 2 years ago | (#36545974)

Still really cool, but my original reality was much more awesome. I would have loved to break the sound barrier when I was 11.

No 'oxygen concentrator' (1)

hackertourist (2202674) | more than 2 years ago | (#36545980)

Cambridge Design built an oxygen concentrator to replace oxygen tanks in battlefield medicine. This device is powered by a tiny diesel engine. I suspect that that engine is what's being used in this car, not the oxygen concentration device.

Re:No 'oxygen concentrator' (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546072)

Cambridge Design built an oxygen concentrator to replace oxygen tanks in battlefield medicine. This device is powered by a tiny diesel engine. I suspect that that engine is what's being used in this car, not the oxygen concentration device.

The article doesn't make it clear what role the oxygen concentrator plays, but it does sound like it's using a diesel powered engine:

Cambridge Design Partnership used elements from its own lightweight oxygen concentrator, as well as other in-house technologies, to create the unique car. The oxygen generator system was originially developed to treat injured soldiers, but in the car it is powered by an innovative micro-diesel-engine. The car also features low-friction tires to increase mileage.

...

We quickly realized that our R & D work for the MoD, creating an oxygen generator, was highly applicable to the Mileage Marathon Challenge. Both required an extremely efficient system that used very low power and could run off diesel. Now I just need to figure out how to make my own car get the same kind of mileage!”

Re:No 'oxygen concentrator' (1)

hackertourist (2202674) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546126)

this page [cambridge-design.co.uk] has more info. The diesel engine in the car is one of the designs they studied for the oxygen device.

Re:No 'oxygen concentrator' (1)

whiteboy86 (1930018) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546300)

They probably use oxygen injection from the concentrator to boost the burn efficiency. I've read somewhere that the french inventor of the "air powered car" was a former Formula 1 mechanic that realized that more oxygen is a very good thing for the engine.

Re:No 'oxygen concentrator' (1)

necro81 (917438) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546382)

You do realize that diesel engines require oxygen to run, right? Think about the thermodynamics of it: burning diesel in an enriched oxygen environment is much better (more efficient, cleaner burning, hotter burning) than burning it in atmosphere. The nitrogen in the atmosphere only gets in the way: it reduces the flame temperature [wikipedia.org] of the burn, because some of the heat of the reaction goes to heating the nitrogen. Some of that heat is lost in the production of NxOx compounds. Lowered temperature == lowered efficiency. I expect that the power required to run the oxygen concentrator is outweighed by the improved engine performance.

Re:No 'oxygen concentrator' (1)

hackertourist (2202674) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546572)

Perhaps, but this article [cambridge-design.co.uk] says there's no oxygen concentrator in the car.

Not even (1)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 2 years ago | (#36545998)

Until you could take it out on existing roads and not get turned into a smear on the road if somebody hits you, it's not a car.

Re:Not even (1)

sheddd (592499) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546108)

Yes; that's why I drive a military model Hummer [alpineco.com] ; you'll be a grease stain when I run over your Prius, hippy!

Re:Not even (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 2 years ago | (#36547042)

My Prius can outrun your Hummer, and if we're going over 200 miles you got no shot whatsoever. You'll spend more time pumping gas than on the road.

So that's Mister Hippie to you, bub.

Re:Not even (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546110)

Then even an ordinary compact car isn't a "car" by your definition if you're surrounded by SUVs and trucks.

Re:Not even (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36546284)

I find it humorous that the celebration of aggression extends even to the point of having everyone involved in a competition to have the heaviest car possible so that you can be sure to kill the other guy in an accident. Heavy cars do nothing to increase safety, they just move safety around so that everyone else has to get a heavy car too to move that safety back. Then no one has gained anything except now every car is heavy, which makes it tear up your roads as well as expensive to manufacture and polluting.

Re:Not even (1)

instagib (879544) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546532)

Hmm, you just summarized one of the principal problems of humanity with a car analogy. Congrats!

I find it humorous

Yeah, that's the best way to deal with it.

Re:Not even (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546966)

If everyone's driving these, that's no longer a problem. It's the car of the future, and therefore a car.

Re:Not even (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#36547310)

Hmm... I have a hard time imagining replacing 30-ton transport trucks with a flimsy tricycle, so unless you adopt a dual road system, you'll be stuck with mixed traffic.

That's no car (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546006)

That's no car, it's more like a motorized tricycle.

That's a great way to cheat the numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36546018)

If your driver is only 75lbs you get much better mileage numbers. Of course, one could make a case that this is a form of child abuse (putting a kid into an untested vehicle just to make money/get published seems like borderline exploitation to me).

UK Eco Marathon for schools (1)

hackertourist (2202674) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546034)

so of course it's going to be piloted by a kid. All vehicles in the competition were.

Cambreshire? (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546044)

WTF?

I'm surprised... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36546056)

The real news here is:

1. No jack-booted thug cop has arrested her for driving without a license

2. No grandstanding DA has charged her with a crime where she will never get a license

3. No clueless politician has come out against tween driving "for the children"

4. A roving band of TSA agents didn't fondle her as she got within 100 miles of the border

Maybe I'm getting just a little bit cynical... Nah.

Did anyone else read 1,325 MPH ? (1)

Liambp (1565081) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546066)

They are forcing an 11 year old to drive at almost twice the speed of sound. The monsters!!!

Re:Did anyone else read 1,325 MPH ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36546242)

This headline was 1 letter away from being 100x more awesome.

Inhabitat Article (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546086)

Inhabitat: Just another rainbow-filled, sky-high promises fluff blog that completely fails to comment on how or why any particular technology it writes about could be, in any manner, applied to the real world.

Also, congratulations to the 11 year old for getting written about on the internet.

Why not replace it with a computer? (4, Interesting)

jfengel (409917) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546140)

An 11 year old is pretty light, but since the point clearly has nothing to do with designing a vehicle to move people around, why not just replace the entire machine with a two-pound computer?

The Challenge is held on a closed track, so it's not like anybody would get hurt. With the driver removed, we could ratchet the number up to 10,000 miles, I'm sure.

Why would you want to? I have no idea, but then, I have no idea what the point of this demonstration is in the first place except to print "large numbers of miles per gallon" in a newspaper. So why not just take it to its logical conclusion?

Re:Why not replace it with a computer? (1)

softWare3ngineer (2007302) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546230)

Because that would be cheating ;) Look for a rules change in the next round of competition. You must be this tall to operate the vehicle.

i HATE this always the same (1)

vonshavingcream (2291296) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546258)

these concept cars are NOT cars. they are aluminum tubes with seat. you can propel them with ANYTHING. show me a 2 ton car with at least some attempt at being road ready, then lets see the MPG. I'm not saying we shouldn't already be getting 100+MPG .. i'm just sayin

Re:i HATE this always the same (1)

bolthole (122186) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546514)

I think you'd be more interested in, "show me how to take my 2 ton car and turn it into a 1 ton car with same hauling and cargo and safety capacity?" Then suddenly, the mpg mysteriously almost doubles. how about that!

Re:i HATE this always the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36546840)

Well, the answer to that question *is* to stop overcaring so much about safety. Or at least stop mandating it in all new cars. People who care more about efficiency and speed than safety already have the option to buy used.

Has the nice side effect of making cars not be so goddamn ugly as well.

Re:i HATE this always the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36546546)

2 ton car? Well there's your problem right there. Something that heavy isn't going to be very efficient hauling one person around. You can make nice cars below 1,5 ton, and some smaller models easily drop below 1 ton.

Re:i HATE this always the same (1)

hierophanta (1345511) | more than 2 years ago | (#36547076)

in 2004 the average car in the us is 4000 pounds or 2 tons http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/05/business/05weight.html [nytimes.com]

cars have already been able to achieve 100+ miles per gallon and be completely road worthy. in fact the folks over at insightcentral.com have a forum thread on it. http://www.insightcentral.net/forums/mpg-issues/9562-first-time-over-100mpg.html [insightcentral.net]
these cars are already 100% street / road legal.

When I was 11 I had an infinite MPG concept car (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36546306)

It was called a bike.

Take that, Kitty Foster.

Not even a concept car (2)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546370)

When I was in high school our school participated in these events. The competition was held up at Brainerd International Raceway and there were 2 categories, modified and unmodified. In the unmodified class you couldn't make any engine modifications but everything else was open. The engine you got was some small 4 stroke Briggs & Stratton. The team would then build the chassis and body around the engine. The goal being to create as light and aerodynamic vehicle as possible while reducing rolling resistance. Cars in the this call would typically get several hundred MPG. In the modified category you could also modify the engine, and modify was a pretty loose term given some of the mods that I had seen where about the only original parts were the block and pull string. Cars in this category would be up near or above 1000 MPG.

Now when actually competing you went and did one full trip on the track if your car passed inspection. You got a metered amount of fuel (I think it was about 1 quart of ethanol) and would roll the car out to the starting line. You would then be given the go ahead and the driver would use the pull string to start the engine (there was no clutch) so they would actually start to pull the vehicle up to speed. Once the engine started the car would reach speed at which point the engine is stopped and the vehicle coasts to a stop and then they cycle begins again until you complete your single lap. Once completed the remaining fuel is measured and you MPG is calculated.

Also female drivers are very common for these types of cars because they are smaller and lighter than guys. Typically our driver would be one of the team members girlfriend who was a gymnast or on the dance line. The passenger compartment would be built for them to drive it so as to cut down on as much weight as possible.

Re:Not even a concept car (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36546900)

Engineering a high MPG car. Team member's girlfriend. This sounds fishy.

Re:Not even a concept car (1)

mpoulton (689851) | more than 2 years ago | (#36547124)

Your high school dork squad members were dating gymnasts and dancers? Well done, sir.

Pilot or drive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36546386)

In my day, when it was a car, it was driven and not piloted. What is different now?

Car? (2)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 2 years ago | (#36546898)

No. It's a Trike. Equivelent road-legal vehicle would be classed a motorcycle in the majority of jurasdictions on the planet. The reverse trike configuration is used by other notable high-mpg vehicles such as the Aptera.

I could sure use one in my daily commute. I get 23mpg in my Nissan Maxima. My inherited 40-year-old Mini Cooper got 50mpg with 1960s technology and 100,000 miles on the clock. How far we've (not) come!

1325 miles on 146 MJ (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 2 years ago | (#36547068)

That's just over 9 Miles/MJ.

To put it in perspective, I burn about 40 calories to travel 1 mile on my bicycle, so that's about 6 Miles/MJ.

It's hard to believe a dino-powered vehicle is more efficient.

Why (1)

TRRosen (720617) | more than 2 years ago | (#36547072)

They couldn't afford a midget?

Oxygen Concentrator (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | more than 2 years ago | (#36547074)

This sounds more like a complicated way of repeating a nasty accident, but on an 11 year old instead of 3 astronauts.
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