What might the future of transportation look like if fossil fuels cease to exist? If mechanical engineer Jim Kor, along with 11 other engineers and designers, is correct it will look like the Urbee Car. This visionary vehicle is an electric-ethanol hybrid that has been under development since 1996 and was finally unveiled at the Winnipeg Art Gallery over the weekend.
This two-passenger, aerodynamic car is ultra-lightweight and requires only one-eighth the energy of a small, conventional car. It features a single-cylinder, eight-horsepower engine. And the body is manufactured with a three-dimensional printer, yet it’s set to last up to three decades. What else is different about this car? It has no trunk.
Kor, president of Kor EcoLogic, believes one day all cars will be shaped like his. “True progress means using less horsepower,” said Kor in the Winnipeg Free Press.
Less power indeed. His car only has eight horsepower whereas even the smallest cars on the market have at least 68 horsepower. Today, Kor and his team are testing the Urbee to ensure that it is safe to drive on the road.
Several hurdles remain before the car can go “mainstream”. The company must raise at least $1 million to build a second prototype and from there they will build the first 12 working cars- one for each member of the team. Kor anticipates when the car comes to market, it will have a price tag between $30,000 – $50,00. He anticipates the price will go down when the car reaches mass production. In addition, the price will also go down because three-dimensional printing is faster and cheaper than moulds.
While it may take quite some time before this car hits the road, the concept of the electric-ethanol hybrid should take off faster.