Jayhawk engineering students transforming Volkswagen Bug into eco car
A 1974 Volkswagen Super Beetle is probably not your idea of a dream car. At 25 mpg, it’s probably also not your idea of a green car. But a group of mechanical engineering students at the University of Kansas have completed a year-long project aimed at making a Bug much more eco-friendly… with an eventual goal of creating a 500 mpg vehicle.
Dubbing themselves the Ecohawks, these seniors set more modest objectives for the project’s first year: creating a neighborhood vehicle “capable of attaining speeds of 45 mph and stretching in-town fuel efficiency to 54 miles per gallon.” Currently powered by locally-sourced biodiesel and an 800 lb. lead acid battery pack, goals for future Ecohawks include getting the vehicle to “street legal” status, upgrading to lithium-ion batteries, and “establishing the vehicle as a viable plug-in hybrid, complete with a solar-powered fueling station.”