As every child learns from the fun-filled exercise of constructing the best paper airplane, the principles of aerodynamics are tried and true.
The less resistance, or drag, the less energy is takes to move forward.
Applying that knowledge to the quest for a more fuel-efficient car, one man took a different approach from electric vehicle makers, and instead applied the logic of aerodynamics to create a gasoline powered, fuel-efficient vehicle he claims gets 91 miles per gallon.
Zoltan Bod, a Canadian self-proclaimed "car and performance nut," has been building and restoring cars for years and decided to channel his energies toward creating a car that is both exciting and energy efficient. He named his labor of love Zoleco, combining his own name with the eco theme of the car.
Inspired by the aerodynamics of a teardrop, Bod's personal challenge was to stay true to the shape, but also create a practical design that people could actually use. The result was the teardrop-shaped, four-passenger prototype that is said to get 91 mpg on the freeway from its turbocharged three-cylinder gasoline engine and five-speed manual transmission.
Using a conventional engine, most of the fuel efficiency gains come from the aerodynamic design which Bod attests creates 50 percent less drag than an equivalent-sized car and an impressive 82 percent reduction in fuel consumption. With his design, Bod calculates that the Zoleco only needs 8.2 horsepower to maintain a speed of 65 miles per hour. For speed lovers, that means that with the full 80 horsepower available, the car could reach 145 mph without much wind noise.
Checking off his first goal to complete an initial prototype, Bod is moving on to the second phase of testing and fine-tuning the technologies on a research and development vehicle. While boasting a pretty compelling mpg, Bod plans to implement additional features, including a modified cylinder head configuration to get even more mileage bang for each gallon.
After that research, he sees the final phase as the moment of truth when he will see if the car generates enough interest to produce Zolecos on a mass scale, or if he'll produce them on a smaller scale for interested customers. For the DIYers out there, Bod is also considering creating a homekit for people who want to build their own.
As Bod proudly asserts on his website, the Zoleco is "an exotic, sporty, practical, comfortable, safe, eco friendly, unique, fun to drive car that makes one heck of a personal statement as it cruises the streets in search of tomorrow!" There isn't really a better sales pitch than that.