Click the image to see the LincVolt story.
Neil Young (for whom LincVolt built the car) reportedly gets 100mpg with this car. Seriously. Originally, it got mpg in the mid-single-digits. It uses a hybrid engine and can run on battery alone or burn biodiesel fuel to make electricity and power the motors for long-range driving. They manage this system by separating the fuel engine from the drivetrain; the fuel-powered lump only powers a generator, which charges the batteries, which drive the car. A diesel engine can run at peak torque far more efficiently than a gas engine, thus running the generator at max efficiency; this is how a giant car can get 100mpg. One hundred miles per gallon. Are you reading this, OEMs? Talk about environmentally friendly PLUS sexy.
My next car project (should I ever get enough free time to finish my current one...) will be such a setup. Heck, I might just do the conversion now on the hot-rod Newport....
PS: If you listen to NPR in this area, you've probably heard the ads for Art of the Car Concours this Sunday, June 27 on the KCAI campus at 45th and Oak streets. If I get my reading done for the SF Writers Workshop, I'll be there!