Could The Hypercar Be The Future?

Vivi Gorman
Posted on Sunday 14th June 2009

Discovery’s Planet Green channel recently featured a Hypercar, designed and developed by the Rocky Mountain Institute. The Hypercar is designed to be an ultralight hybrid vehicle with low drag and exponentially more efficient than current passenger vehicles.

The innovative car is made from newly developed carbon technology that is stronger and much lighter than steel and takes a significantly shorter amount of time to manufacture than conventional automobile manufacturing. It is made of 14 parts, as opposed to the numerous parts a traditional car comprises, that lock together. The Hypercar is fitted with harder tires to reduce gas usage from flexing tires.

The Hypercar was designed by Amory Lovins, chairman and chief scientist at the Institute, who has authored many books on energy efficiency and renewable energy. The Institute founded the Hypercar Center in 1994 and in 1999 launched Hypercar Inc., which changed its name in 2004 to Fiberforge, a technology company dedicated to high-volume, low-cost production of composite materials. The Center is committed to making Hypercar-like vehicles a commercial reality by sharing the concept with major car companies.

Planet Green’s program featured Institute scientists explaining that traditional vehicles are highly inefficient and only a minute fraction of the fuel necessary to run the car is actually used to drive the car forward. This inefficiency served as the inspiration to develop a new vehicle that required less power overall. For example, the Hypercar includes a redesigned air conditioning system to get away from the traditional car’s system, which the scientists said generates enough power to cool a home in the summer, an amount vastly greater than what is needed to cool the air inside a car.

The Hypercar scientists said that their new invention is a source of energy that should be tapped; energy created while driving can be put back into the grid, they suggest, by the owner for a price. Traditional cars generate more than seven times the energy generated by power plants in the U.S., they said. In addition to the efficiency factor, the developers paid specific attention to performance, comfort and safety.

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