Litestar: a 70mpg car...that was built just down the road
In the 80's and 90's there was a nifty new little car company trying to do something cool just down the road from here, in Owosso.
They built Litestar and Pulse aerocars. These rigs were aerodynamic in-line vehicles built around motorcycle wheels and 750cc (?) engine, with outriggers. They got 70 mpg economy and could go 105mph with this 1000-lb vehicle.
The company built over 300 of them before folding. Several companies in the Owosso area contributed the parts to make the vehicles. It seems like it was a neat local smalltown effort that used quite a bit of the local resources.
The story on the two main websites relating to this project (Litestar and Pulse) is a neat one of local rural types attempting to pull off a high-tech project. Sadly, I see that the last couple lines on one of the sites say "bankruptcy" and "divorce." Small biz pays a high price and a big risk, eh?
Here's the main website: Litestar
I wonder if they would've done better nowadays, with the web---instead of having to manage a nationwide network of dealers. Well, people do want 'hands on.'
I also wonder if we won't see a 70mpg car until we see one that's as narrow and long as this design. My dad is a retired engineer with a car research background and he says that the gross shape is the limiter of aerodynamics, not the smoothness and that a length/width ratio of 7 is a basic requirement for low-friction airflow, followed by a tail-like rear-end. Then, too, he says that you can drive a car at 55mph with 6hp and that today's cars are way too overpowered for economy.
Well, I don't see anything wrong with the general Litestar idea. Give it a smaller engine and go for the one-seater option and you might get a nifty 80mpg commuter. --Also let the canopy be easy on/off for use as a convertible.