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On August 19-22, 2009, an unusual road rally took place in
Western Massachusetts, to give the public a first glimpse of
new-generation ultra-economical cars.
It was called the One Gallon Challenge.
On Thursday morning August 20, the cars, with odometers and energy gauges
zeroed, assembled in the middle of Greenfield, Massachusetts.
The checkered flag went go down about 11AM, and
the cars started on their 100 mile drive on country roads to Boston's Greenfest
at Boston City Hall Plaza.
Once there, they were on display
all day Friday and Saturday, showing how much energy they consumed during the
As the cars pulled into the Greenfest festival in downtown Boston later
that afternoon, after blisteringly hot weather and many adventures, each
had proven some aspect of our complex evolution to ultra-economy.
Though they were weary after interacting with the thousands of attendees of
the two-day Greenfest, all participants agreed to return next year with
new developments and face an even larger field of next-generation
The images below are Copyright 2009 to Dan Brown.
The wood-gas powered truck from 21st Century Motor Works breezed in at 27.7
MPG, showing the viability of using a local, carbon-sequestering fuel
source: ordinary cord wood.
Interview with Dave Nichols and Sharon Roy
The Roopod, poster-child of the event, was not quite drivable at race time,
but was on display both in Greenfield and in Boston.
This ultra sleek and
light, 14 HP diesel-powered wonder will be a car to be reckoned with next
Interview with Roo Trimble and Susan Hanna
Dirigo, a sleek diesel 3 wheeler clocked in at 88 MPGe
(Miles Per Gallon equivalent) with a running cost
of 2.9 cents per mile, showed the importance of good aerodynamics.
had not only driven the 100 mile segment without back-up, but also driven
the 450 mile round-trip from Maine.
With a sigh, Bill Buchholz finally pointed the hood North.
Interview with Bill Buchholz
MIT's electric vehicle team drove their lithium Porche in at an amazing 164
MPGe (plug-to-wheels) and 75 MPGe (wells-to-wheels).
Once our electricity
grid becomes more earth-friendly, this technology may lead all others.
Many spectators, used to lead-acid technology, were awed as these students
drove their Porche, with 15 automotive-sized batteries, from Cambridge to
Greenfield on a single charge, then charged up with 220 VAC at the Ford
dealership, and merrily drove back home.
Without a doubt, the miracle
battery we all dreamed of decades ago has arrived.
Interview with Tyler Liechty, Peter Lamb and Dan Lauber
Dripping with sweat, Jory Squibb drove his gas-powered three-wheel
Moonbeam across the line at 93 MPGe and 2.7 cents per mile cost.
a grocery-getter, it had never been driven far from Camden, Maine; but
finished the race without incident, blasting its heater to keep the engine
cool in the 90 degree heat.
Interview with Jory Squibb
Ricker Truck, also 900cc diesel-powered, clocked in at 70 MPGe and showed
the advantages of using laminated foam construction for safety and light
This car was finished only hours before the race.
Interview with Harry Ricker
The images above are Copyright 2009 to Dan Brown.