Green Transportation

Moving toward a transportation system that fuels healthy people and a healthy planet.

Add to My MSN

MAX Update No. 23: Art Class & Watch Brink Tomorrow

1/29/2009 11:34:46 AM

Tags: MAX, 100 mpg, body, Brink, gas mileage

It's too darn cold to go in the shop, and I have a lot of work to do. To hit our goal of 100 miles per gallon, we have to get MAX's drag down by about a third, and the only way to get there is streamlining. And to hit my personal budget goal (I want MAX to be a car you can reproduce at home for less than $10,000), MAX needs a simple body.


MAX body design 
Jack McCornack

The practical problem with a slick sleek full fiberglass body is it's going to blow the budget — maybe not for me, 'cause I've built car bodies before and I'm willing to pay myself 35 cents an hour to build another one, but the Michelangelo technique (take a big rock and knock off everything that doesn't look like David) works better on paper than it does in practice. A full body from a commercial fiberglasser is going to cost at least few thousand, and if you don't live on the West Coast, how are you going to get it home? So we're going to try simple first ... or to quote Albert Einstein, “as simple as possible, but no simpler.”

The idea is fiberglass fenders — which have to be a bit complicated — with complex curves to direct the air over and around them, joined together by sheet metal body panels with simple curves. And thanks to the miracle of modern technology, I can work out the details in a warm house instead of a cold shop.

This particular miracle is Rhinoceros, a 3D modeling program with a funny name. When I build a real body to match the electronic/virtual body, I'll know the parts fit before I fit them.

Another advantage of working electronically ... you remember a couple months ago when I mentioned the crew from the Science Channel shooting a Brink segment about us? It'll be on tomorrow (Friday, Jan. 30), and they wanted some graphics right away of what MAX will look like when it's done. Well, maybe it'll look like this, kinda. Except with a roof.

P.S. I saw an ad for the Brink episode and it looks like it'll be fun. To look up when it will show in your neck of the woods, visit the Brink website.


Browse previous MAX Updates.
Read the introductory MAX article, Here Comes the 100-mpg Car.
Visit the Kinetic Vehicles website for more technical details on MAX.

Related Content

MAX Update No. 58: Finishing Touches

MAX is getting prepped for paint, and all the essential bodywork is done for the new, streamlined ro...

Submit Your Greenest Idea and Win!

Make the winning suggestion for the next X PRIZE and win $25,000.

MAX Update No. 76: Wheels Are Turning

MAX got some new lager diameter wheels. They should do the job and the price was right, and as a bon...

MAX Update No. 95: Drawing a Blank and Drafting With DraftSight

An introduction to DraftSight, Dassault Systèmes' 2D CAD software. It's professional quality and it'...

Content Tools

Post a comment below.


Jack McCornack
2/13/2009 11:41:38 AM
Yes Carol, that would be a head turner indeed. We're considering such for the 2009 Escape from Berkeley, we're going for a stagecoach look, and this time, instead of being the Prisoners of Petroleum, we're the Cowboys of Canola. For a nice execution of the strip canoe car concept, google Jory Squibb and Durago (I think I have Durago right, but I'm sure on Jory Squibb and I doubt there are too many guys named Jory Squibb making high mileage cars).

2/12/2009 11:16:55 AM
I'm pretty sure you've heard of strip canoes. Ever thought of making your body out of wood and fiberglass? It would be a very light load (perhaps you can use something like cedar?). Just think how heads would turn for a car like that!

Mary Jones_1
2/1/2009 7:51:21 PM
So, there I was, paging through ME News and saw my friends Jack and Sharon. Good luck to you! Keep in touch! Yes, I've been a ME NEWS subscriber off and on for years. M

Jack McCornack
1/29/2009 11:05:18 PM
Yeah, is on my favorites list--it's a spinoff of those guys are going to go crazy when we build MAXine! What's MAXine? Once we have the streamlining squared away on MAX, we're probably going to build a gasoline powered test bed with a Geo Metro three-banger. So...anybody got a Suzuki Samurai transmission for sale cheap? The Metro engines bolt right up to it (and really, we're looking for one).

1/29/2009 1:58:28 PM
Check, they are a hypermiling forum and have done a lot of work with streamlining. You might find some shortcuts...

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.