Build Your Own Car That Gets 100 Miles Per Gallon

Inspired by classic race cars but grounded in frugality, MAX may be the world’s coolest DIY car that gets 100 miles per gallon.


| April/May 2013



Cruising at 100MPG

The roadster version of MAX is a joy to drive, but you can also add a top.


Photo By Doug Snodgrass

What started in the summer of 2008 as an ambitious project to create a do-it-yourself, 100 miles-per-gallon sports car within a budget of $10,000 has come full circle. MAX (Mother’s Automotive eXperiment) now has more than 100,000 miles in its logbook and consistently achieves 100 mpg at speeds from 45 to 55 mph.

The project proves triple-digit fuel efficiency is feasible — even on a tight budget, and especially if you build your own car. If I can make a 100-mpg car in my Oregon garage, what could the major automakers be giving us?

That said, it’s important to understand upfront that MAX is not comparable to a modern sedan, with all of the creature comforts most drivers expect. But it doesn’t need to be.

MAX is marvelously practical as a second car, or as a primary car for those who rarely need more space than a two-seater provides. You can use MAX to get groceries or go to work. It won’t replace the minivan when you need to get your kid’s soccer team to practice, but you likely don’t need a minivan for most of your drives.

MAX is ideal for somebody like me. I live 30 miles from town and put in a lot of miles on extended business trips. I rarely need to take more than one person with me. MAX suits me well, and it can also meet the everyday driving needs of many people.

The biggest thing you lose when you drive MAX is your anonymity. It’s a conversation starter. Car enthusiasts love its resemblance to a classic race car, so expect to field questions from curious strangers any time you stop at a gas station. Fortunately, you won’t have to stop at gas stations often. This 100-mpg car can run on diesel, biodiesel or straight vegetable oil. The engine is a 32-horsepower turbocharged diesel — specifically, a Kubota D1105T, which normally powers anything from RV generators to heavy-duty lawn mowers.

smith
6/30/2017 5:37:28 AM


jamesbond
5/26/2014 9:04:01 PM

That said, it’s important to understand upfront that MAX is not comparable to a modern sedan, with all of the creature comforts most drivers expect. But it doesn’t need to be. http://www.3dprinter-com.webnode.com/


jackm
5/10/2014 10:39:17 PM

@Goofster, they have some great ideas, and I too am particularly interested in their hybrid motor, and I wait with pen poised to give a glowing review of their product--once they actually have one. If they do produce that powerplant as described, and it's in a competitive price range, it's going to be a big hit in NEVs. And @upnorthmn... > I want a pickup that gets 100mpg. Man, you and me both, but I don't think it's a reasonable target for DIY with today's technology. How about 50 mpg?


goofstr
5/9/2014 12:47:57 AM

I am considering either a kit car or converting a car to electricity. I found a company that is making kit cars that come in a box, and can be built in a day or two. Their road legal version this summer. The big part I am interested is their hybrid motor. It also provides for dynamic braking. It is made by www.OSVehicle.com. Check it out, if for no other reason then for some ideas.


arnaldo
4/18/2014 2:10:08 AM

By far the best option for a car owner. Design your own a unique one and that too as efficient as this one with a top speed of around 50mph and at such a low price. I mean I don't think there is any other option to own a car. I had love to if I could, but will surely try one day. And I guess such cars should be brought to the market for sale. As by doing so the industry will get a new option to reduce fuel waste. http://www.eurotechtuningca.com/mercedes-benz-repair/


arnaldo
4/18/2014 2:05:35 AM

By far the best option for a car owner. Design your own a unique one and that too as efficient as this one with a top speed of around 50mph and at such a low price. I mean I don't think there is any other option to own a car. I had love to if I could, but will surely try one day. And I guess such cars should be brought to the market for sale. As by doing so the industry will get a new option to reduce fuel waste. http://www.eurotechtuningca.com/mercedes-benz-repair/


arnaldo
4/18/2014 2:02:33 AM

I wonder why haven't any one buy this yet. I don't see any one car maker having a car which is as efficient as this one neither they have the car's in this class with a capability to run at 50mph. I have in last few weeks studied about a number of such projects related to efficient car. Hoping for them to come in main frame soon. http://www.eurotechtuningca.com/mercedes-benz-repair/


jimmy
3/29/2014 6:48:07 AM

Now a days cars are use as the basic medium of transportation. So, that more and more peoples are going to purchase more and more no. of cars throughout the year. Purchasing a car is not a big deal but its repair and maintenance is the most important thing for every car owner. So, it is the duty of every car owner should know about the car repair. Because most of the time the car shows so many problem regarding starting,running and any types of break down,in that situation if the car owner would know about how to repair,then he can save the money as well as time. http://monacomotors.com/services.htm


simmon
1/24/2014 4:07:43 AM

Buying a car is once time investment but maintain it very costly. We spend money for repair, service and fuel in regular basis. When we got a car showing better mileage, it fells so nice for the owner. 100 Miles Per Gallon is really good and a good news of our automobile sector.The above blog also based on legal and ethical activity. MAX give a new perception towards our automobile sector.o far when it will spread all over the world and best for car race. Some modification in feature is required. http://about.me/eurotechtuningca


guest
6/17/2013 1:27:34 PM

mamamarta, slowing down improves MAX's fuel mileage (it runs about 115 mpg at 45 mph) and stop-and-go driving hurts it (I get about 70 mpg in Eugene city traffic) and gentle rolling hills at rurar-road speeds don't seem to hurt it much (apparently the extra fuel that's invested going uphill gets pretty well paid back going downhill).

And upnorthmn -- man, so do I! A 100 mpg pickup would be quite the gamechanger. But it would call for getting it down to 1300 pounds and streamlining it like MAX (or better) and that'll be a challenge for a pickup.

I'll check in now and then to chat; I hadn't realized this comment section was here.


seaiturof
5/29/2013 11:01:25 PM

Have there been any updates to the Mother Earth Hybrid plans?


mamamarta
5/29/2013 10:54:04 AM

I want to 'follow' my question o the gas mileage - could you please answer that one here?  thanks!


mamamarta
5/29/2013 10:52:47 AM

We live in a very rural, hilly area - with speed limits only around 25 - 40 mph - how will that effect the gas mileage?


upnorthmn
4/27/2013 10:21:42 AM

I want a pickup that gets 100mpg.






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