Black Widow weighs less

February 22, 2010 § Leave a comment

Well, you may not be able to do the family shopping in it, but the Black Widow (pictured) is worthy of note for its 2752mpg fuel consumption (yes, you read that right; there is no decimal point). It’s the work of mechanical engineering students at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and their entry into the Shell Eco-Marathon this year.

This three-wheeled streamliner, developed from the Supermileage team’s contenders in previous years, now weighs just 96lbs. Power comes from a 500cc Honda four-stroke engine – giving just 3bhp – and thanks to the low weight and a drag coefficient of 0.12, it can do a 30mph top speed.

Though the Black Widow is designed solely as a hypermiler with next month’s Eco-Marathon in mind, the Cal Poly engineers are working on a second, more usable version to compete in the Urban Concept category of the event. Spokesman Verent Chan told Wired.com that though these cars are really just academic concepts, the project is “training engineers to push the boundaries of efficiency so that when they enter the working world, it will be no different (to) how they approach other designs.” You can follow the progress of the Black Widow and the Urban Concept at the Supermileage team’s blog.

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