AUTHOR: Lovins, Amory; Lovins, L. Hunter
DOCUMENT ID: T93-10
DOCUMENT TYPE: Conference Proceedings
This paper describes how ultralight hybrid-electric family cars could achieve < 1.6 liters per 100 km using 1993-era technology and greater fuel efficiency at a later time with superior safety, amenity, performance, and price. Ultralight 4 passenger cars with modern hybrid-electric drives could achieve significant efficiency improvements with technologies such as switched reluctance motors, conventional buffer batteries, and compact petrol engines. Far from sacrificing other attributes for efficiency, ultralight hybrids could be more safe, peppy, clean, durable, reliable, quiet, comfortable and beautiful than existing cars, yet be priced about the same or less. The paper suggests design changes that would fundamentally change how cars are made and sold. Such "supercars" face serious cultural obstacles in the car industry and institutional barriers in the marketplace. Supercars' immense societal value merits policy intervention to help speed and smooth this transition, making it less a hardship than a lucrative opportunity.