Saturday, December 5, 2009

Ford has a 62mpg gasoline car, but of course, you can't buy it here

You can pay a pile of cash for a hot hybrid or a cool electric sportster, but there are still some miles in an old-fashioned gas engine car.

Ford, it turns out, is marketing in Europe a gasoline car that gets 62 miles to the gallon. Better than most hybrids.

(Image: Automotive X Prize entrant team OptaMotive has developed this electric speedster. It's in the competition's alternative class, meaning it's not intended as a standard commuter vehicle. But you knew that. More on these cars later in this story. Credit: Progressive Automotive X Prize.)

That new Ford Focus Econetic has some sexy features normally reserved for hybrids and electrics, like regenerative braking. And you won't be able to buy one for a couple of months. But wow! That's mileage better than a lot of motorcycles get.

The sad news, sigh, is that you can't buy it in the U.S. The Ford Focus you find in the U.S. gets half that fuel economy, in the high 20s and low 30s.

The other sad news is that this Europe-only car promises better fuel economy than any gas-powered car available in the U.S., including hybrids. In Kelley Blue Book's list of the top 2008 cars, based on fuel economy, even the hybrids don't get near that.

The leaders on Kelley's 2008 list are the Toyota Prius at 46 miles per gallon, the Honda Civic hybrid at 42, the Smart fortwo at 36, Nissan Altima hybrid at 34 and the MINI Cooper at 32.

Meanwhile, on the hyper-efficient front, the Progressive Automotive X Prize has 43 teams vying for a $10 million prize to build the best consumer-acceptable, street legal vehicle that gets 100 miles or more to the gallon.

We've looked at a few of these. Some look like futuristic spider craft,some little more than motorcycles with frames or tricked-out golf carts, but a lot look like cars you'd have in your garage and drive to work. Here's an update on that.

The X Prize competition entrants have their cars, and they're moving into performance and safety testing. The X Prize winner is to be announced in September. You can see a list of the teams here.

© Jan TenBruggencate 2009

No comments: