One Gallon Challenge — 2009
Sponsored by The AutoAuditorium System

Unless otherwise noted, these all photos were taken by and Copyright 2009 to Mike Bianchi
Full resolution copies of these images are here.

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 trip.

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 transportation.

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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 year.

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.  This car 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.  Built as 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 weight.  This car was finished only hours before the race. 

Interview with Harry Ricker

The images above are Copyright 2009 to Dan Brown.