A group of students from the West Philadelphia High School’s Academy for Automotive and Mechanical Engineering have come up with a prototype hybrid car that runs on soybean fuel. And it’s a sports car, which delivers more horsepower than entry-level Porsches, but yet gets mileage similiar to the Toyota Prius. How on earth?
The car uses carbon fibre body panels donated by Hexcel Corp and wheels and tyres donated by OZ Racing. It participated in the Tour Del Sol, a competition for eco-friendly vehicles and managed to win the race. It’s chassis is based on a combination of parts from a Honda Accord and a car kit called Attack by K-1 Engineering.
The car prototype costed USD$25,000 to build and is powered by a combination of a 150-horsepower 1.9 litre Volkswagen turbo-diesel engine that’s modified to run on biodiesel (soybeans) powering the rear wheels and a 200-horsepower electric motor powering the front wheels. That’s a total of 350 horsepower, and the instant torque offered by the electric motor combined with a turbodiesel’s natural high torque especially at the low-end would make this a pretty exciting drive.
All of that allows the “Hybrid Attack” as it was christened to go from 0-100km/h in 3 seconds, yet it manages an extremely good average mileage of 50mpg. Previously in a video, the Top Gear Audi A8 managed 42mpg, driven extremely frugally. The car took 2 years to build.