MAX's aerodynamic makeover is underway with a new fender design.
MAX needs an aerodynamic and easy-to-assemble roof. Plus it needs to look cool, be cheap, cost little, have a simple design and be reliable. No problem, right? So, do you have any ideas?
At the time, it seemed like a clear car was a good idea.
All computer data for MAX has been stolen. What next?
In the continuing pursuit of better aerodynamics, Jack takes a closer look at the design of MAX’s nose.
Everyone should have a 100-mpg car, and know how to drive a manual transmission. MAX comes to the rescue on both ends.
Jack explores how to test how body changes affect aerodynamics, and looks for inspiration from Wonder Woman.
A big crowd likes MAXine better than MAX, and I’ll see you soon, at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR in Puyallup, Wash.
This potential body style looks hard to beat, in more ways than just physically. What do you think?
MAX gets a couple of cheap and easy thermoformed headlight protectors, to keep light from getting out and rocks from getting in.
In which Jack departs a little from his fashion sense and MAX gets new racing seats. But not just any racing seats: safer seats with real head restraints.
MAX has a three-wheeled distant cousin that's a diesel-electric hybrid.
MAX Puts the “Ex” in X Prize
Make the winning suggestion for the next X PRIZE and win $25,000.
Sequestered indoors, Jack goes to work on streamlining MAX's body.
We're excited for the second annual Escape from Berkeley rally. Last year, MAX won the inaugural event from Berkeley to Las Vegas. This year, it's a run for the Mexican border!
What does MAX have in common with and old action, adventure, paranoia, social commentary BBC TV series of the '60s?
MAX will enter a race, uhhhh we mean event, and will run on veggie oil.
The fine art of automotive design, especially high-mpg design.
An after-the-fact analysis of MAX's accident on the way to the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Fair, and the dangers of "getthereitis."
A reader recently raised concerns that MAX is illegal in Uncle Sam's eyes. Here's the skinny.
So here you have it: MAX with a crumpled rear fender, crumpled trunk section, a turn signal bashed out, a door knocked loose, and a flat tire. It's fully reparable, but not today, and not in time to drive to the MEN Fair.
The Rally Green starting flag drops in Knoxville Iowa, Sunday August 15, beginning a cross country fuel economy rally ending in San Francisco the folowing Saturday. MAX will be there and going for the gold.
Thoughts on the potentially fuzzy math of mpg calculations.
From the Science Channel, watch the Brink TV show's spotlight on MAX and its victory in the Escape from Berkeley race.
Could MAX pass federal safety standards for mass-produced cars? Nope. Should that matter?
En route to the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR, Jack listens all too well to GPS and ends up on dirt roads in the Oregon Outback.
Cam shares some of the things he is grateful for....
A searchable index for the MAX Updates posts, and a few more thoughts on the Progressive Automotive X Prize.
Is MAX an actual modern-day vehicle, or just a high school shop class experiment? In this update, Jack answers sharp questions from an automotive engineer.
Learning from experience, I've put some impact-resistant structure on the back of MAX.
MAX got some new lager diameter wheels. They should do the job and the price was right, and as a bonus, they look terrific.
An introduction to DraftSight, Dassault Systèmes' 2D CAD software. It's professional quality and it's free, and Jack is converting all the MAX fabrication drawings to DraftSight .dmg documents.
Engine efficiency depends on rpm (among other things) and slower isn't always better. More wisdom from the Honey Bear.
Conversion kit install to convert a hybrid vehicle into a plug-in electric and improve your gas mileage by 25%.
MAX is back at the shop, awaiting diagnosis and correction of an overheating problem, plus some additional body work before its next venture.
Hybrid cars save fuel by shutting the engine off at idle (among other things). Does MAX burn enough fuel at idle to be worth the effort? Our honey bear can tell us.
MAX wins the Escape from Berkeley race!!
MAX at its first autocross. Hey, it's a sports car, right?
MAX got a new set of high efficiency Goodyear tires, and a second set of wheels so we can do comparison testing. Will the difference be detectable to our low budget testing technology?
MAX version 2.0 is about to start moving. This may come as a surprise, but Jack is going to try it with biodiesel.
Could MAX be the perfect car for driver's ed?
Jack gets a wallop of motivation for a fully enclosed cabin, and looks ahead to a future with inquisitive grandchildren.
Perhaps if we had just listened to the deer all along, we never would've ended up in this gas guzzling mess.
MAX's bodywork continues, as Jack modifies the race car nose to fit over the Kubota engine.
There's a new automotive fuel efficiency contest coming up -- the Rally Green -- and now MAX has a tachometer, a digital wonder called a Tiny Tach.
A video demonstration of MAX's windscreen, which deflects air around the driver's face with minimal aerodynamic drag.
MAX turns heads and makes an impression at The EG, aka the Entertainment Gathering.
Brink TV show seeks "low-budget mad scientist." Jack and his MAX project fit the bill!
Is the glass half empty? Half full? Or is there just too much glass? I'm designing MAX to be just the right amount of "glass" for the vast majority of our driving. Here's to efficiency.
The first civilian-built MAXes are nearing completion, and here are a couple of them that are rolling under their own power.
More progress on MAX's streamlined body, using a laser to make curved body parts fit on a flat frame.
It's the age-old tug of war between good looks and streamlined, aerodynamic design.
Technology marches on. It comes at a price, but a FloScan fuel consumption and mileage meter could give me instant feedback on MAX's fuel efficiency.
MAX is hitting 60 mpg. That's better than a Prius, and before we get serious about streamlining.
One would think a car wouldn't need a mechanical inspection at 5,000 miles. But when you're building a 100-mpg car from scratch, and the builder is meticulous, it's wise to look for problems even when there are no signs of problems.
In the interest of making MAX a smidgeon safer, I've added side bumpers to the passenger compartment. Here's why I made them this way.
MAX version 2.0 is underway.
MAX gets a small favor from high-end luxury sports cars.
MAX is well on its way to 100 mpg, if the lessons from these 100+ mpg motorcyles are any indication.
Using MAX to test a tubing streamlining material, resulted in a significant reduction in drag.
We're looking at a handful of low cost improvements, and since MAX is undergoing repairs at the moment, this is a good time to make them.
It's time to calculate MAX's aerodynamic drag. Enter champagne science on a beer budget!
MAX is encountering robust competition at Escape from Berkeley
In the pursuit of 100 mpg, cardboard is a nice medium for conceptualizing design features, but it has its limitations.
We're modifying the Lola race car's nose to fit MAX's chassis. The first step is cutting the nose down the middle so we can move the fenders apart a few more inches, which will let us steer enough for parking and other normal street activities.
To improve MAX's versatility, the passenger seat is removable, which converts MAX from a couple carrier to a cargo carrier.
MAX finally got a deer deflector, after three years of writing about how much it needs one. It'll give a bit of extra rollover protection, too.
MAX got a smog test at an Oregon DEQ Vehicle Testing Station, and passed with high marks.
Jack missed Rally Green and MAX has a mysterious overheating problem.
MAX needs 25 percent more horsepower to get from zero to 60 mph in less than 18 seconds. Got any suggestions?
MAX needs a roof, stat.
We're at work on a 100-mpg DIY car! Come meet MAX and take a seat for what will be a long, but fun, journey.
A treatise on the difference between a gasoline engine throttle and a diesel "throttle," what that means for MAX, and how the difference was overcome.
The second attempt at weatherproofing MAX involves a convertible top which flips open to get in or out of the cockpit. Not perfect, but not bad.
Breaking News: MAX Totaled
MAX is back from the dead after its infamous wreck. So why is the frame gray?
Some burglar wanted my Millermatic 180 more than I did, I guess. Here's why I liked it and why I'm going to get another one.
The clock is ticking and I've been taking some shortcuts on getting MAX ready for Rally Green ... and some have turned into long cuts. I need to work smarter, not faster.
The "High Mileage Car Show" at the latest Mother Earth News Fair, and the pleasure of driving a fuel efficient car.
On a summertime cross country trip from Oregon to Ohio, I restricted MAX's radiator inlet air a little at a time, demonstrating that very little inlet area (28 square inches) provides sufficient air for cooling.
MAX gets a lightweight belly pan under the engine, to further reduce aerodynamic drag.
Does 100 mpg fuel economy justify cross-country recreational travel? Maybe so and maybe not, but I need to be careful—increasing fuel efficiency can increase fuel consumption if you increase your driving, too.
MAX gets a temporary mash-up of old and new style body parts (the new nose is at the fiberglassers' having a mold made so we can make more of them) to get road-legal for a trip to Canada.
How much power and performance does a car need for a guy to get a gal's attention? According to MAX fans, not very much.
MAX ran with the motorcycles in the Vetter Fuel Economy Challenge, with surprisingly high marks--127 miles per gallon. Surprising to the author, at least.
We're cleaning up the details on MAX. One of the finishing touches is clear streamlined headlight covers, and here's how I made them.
A car's electrical consumption adds to its fuel consumption. For MAX, turning off the headlights improves fuel economy by roughly 4 mpg.
A primer on fiberglass mold making and molding fiberglass parts, using MAX's nose parts (hood and bubble) as examples.
Results of the long-awaited cooling system test, which shows how little air MAX needs through the radiator.
I hate to say it — because electric cars may be the salvation of transportation someday — but much of the current hype around electric cars is smoke and mirrors.
Jack took MAX to a local car show and found that even if they're not looking for high mileage, folks think MAX is cool.
MAX debuts by taking the checkered flag of the 800+ mile, no gasoline consumed, Escape from Berkeley race.
Jack has dismantled MAX's body and is making molds from the body parts, so other MAX-like car builders won't have to duplicate his work.
Conservation over corn.
MAX is getting prepped for paint, and all the essential bodywork is done for the new, streamlined roadster body.
In my 7,500-plus mile adventure in MAX this summer, one lesson really stands out: Haste Makes Waste.
Volkswagon's high mileage (1 liter of fuel per 100 kilometers) car is getting closer to production. Expect to see 100 of these available to the public in 2013.
MAX has very low rolling resistance, as demonstrated by this three year old kid pushing it around the building.
A surprising benefit of MAX's streamlining is the increased luggage space.
By making a pattern and a mold, we can now reproduce rear fenders as needed.
MAX gets a low cost, high accuracy, and none too attractive fuel gauge. Two out of three ain't bad.
Craig Henderson and his Avion high mileage sports car went from Canada to Mexico at 119.1 MPG. He plans to produce Avion kits.
Considering deer, it’s time for a roll bar.
The tail end of MAX's bellypan (diffuser) gets tuft tested, and the attached video shows the results. This was the finishing touch that got MAX its 100 miles per gallon on the highway.
Why pre-1960 race cars were more efficient than post-1960 race cars, and thus a better example for high efficiency highway cars.
The U.S. Green Building Council's Project of the Year is a small, urban home built for $100 per square foot.
Sometimes the most direct route to your destination may not be the most fuel-efficient.
Green means go, but don't go too quickly.
You can boost your mpg by losing the cargo in your trunk. Then help reduce global warming emissions by sweating off a few pounds.
Renewable energy expert Dan Chiras talks about the future of fuel-efficient, diesel hybrid cars.
Slow down and enjoy the scenery — you'll also enjoy a significant boost in your mpg.
Forget what your grandpa told you — there's no need to warm up your car every cold winter morning.
Here's another gas mileage myth busted: it's better to turn off your engine than to leave it idling.
Make new friends, save big bucks on gas, reduce pollution!
5W-30? 10W-30? Be sure you get the right motor oil grade.
Here's how to change your car's air filter — do it yourself to save big bucks and boost your gas mileage by 10 percent.
How long has it been since you checked your tire pressure?
Calculating your fuel economy is easy and can help you save big bucks at the pump.
How often, if ever, do you check your the gas mileage of your car or truck? Did you know it's super simple to calculate mpg, and observing it over time can help you improve your gas mileage and save money?
MAX's classic race car skin remains a work in progress. Jack wants MAX to look Lola-esque, but not too Lola-esque.
Our expert explains what really happens when fuel additives are put in a gas tank, and how this may cause more harm than good. If you really want to increase your mpg, our expert has a few tips for that as well.
Want more gas for your money?
Don't rip yourself off at the gas pump — stop topping off!
Comparing today’s cars that get 40 mpg or better to the high-mpg cars of a few decades ago is neither an accurate nor fair comparison.
Using an MPG app may help reduce your consumption of gas, and make your commute and road trips more economical and green.
Save money and gas this Earth Day — and every day! — by using these five green driving tips from the Car Care Council.
Use a digital tire gauge and learn how to check tire pressure regularly to get better gas mileage. While other types of gauges exist, the digital tire pressure gauge is an accurate and simple way to keep your tires properly inflated. Read this digital tire gauge review to see what digital tire pressure checkers you can buy.