The Hypercar takes a sustainable approach to car design. It is super-light, super-low drag and therefore needs a much smaller hybrid or plug-in electric motor.
In an average car less than 1% of the energy used actually propels the driver. Most of the energy (80-90%) is lost through engine heat and friction (on the road and brakes). Most of the rest of the energy is used to move the dead-weight of the car.
Cars are very heavy. They are made of steel and require huge engines to get them going. The irony is that a bigger engine just adds more weight and therefore needs even more energy to move it. A heavy car also needs power steering, power brakes and extra fuel on board which adds to the weight.
The bulk of innovation for efficiency has focused on the drive train but much more efficiency can be gained by reducing the weight of the car.
By reducing the weight of a car by one kilogram you can actually reduce it’s weight by a kilogram and a half because it will need a lighter structure, less suspension, smaller brakes, smaller engine and less fuel on board.
The Hypercar, the brainchild of Amory Lovins, is designed to take advantage of super-efficiencies and involves:
- making the car super-light, two to three times lighter than steel cars
- making the car ultra-low drag, so that the car slips along several times more easily
- using a smaller electric or hybrid engine to propel the much more energy efficient car