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What Is a Hypercar?

by Steve Dearborn

As described by Ontime Automotive, a hypercar is practically the polar opposite of a supercar, such as a Porsche, Lamborghini, Ferrari, or Maserati. The following characteristics are what make a vehicle a hypercar:

  • Ultra lightweight carbon fiber construction
  • Aerodynamic body
  • Low drag design
  • Hybrid drive
  • Built for efficiency
  • Minimal carbon emissions
  • Best possible fuel economy

The name “hypercar” was coined by Amory Lovins, the chief scientist and founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), to describe his concept of a spacious, SUV type vehicle with extraordinary fuel economy and none of the compromises typically attached to economy cars.

According to How Stuff Works, the term “hypercar” was expanded in the years after RMI was founded to mean a very efficient motorized ground vehicle that could travel 100 miles on a gallon of gasoline. In terms of electric energy, the vehicle would need to travel 100 miles for every 33.7 kilowatt hours of energy.

Supercars are great cars with wonderful handling, more rapid acceleration, and high top speed (along with higher price tags). They are not designed for fuel economy or eco-friendliness, but for performance. The purpose of their lightweight construction is top speed and better handling.

This is not the case with hypercars. In addition to some hypercars being beasts of machines, they are expected to get 300 miles to the gallon, according to Ontime Automotive. As discussed in an article on How Stuff Works, hypercars need fewer fill-ups (or charge-ups), they make America more energy independent, they are currently inspiring innovation, they are clean and green, and they represent the future and our departure from fossil fuel automotive technology.

Rocky Mountain Institute Hypercar Center was founded in 1994, and now, 20 years later, these cars are finally on the market and available to consumers. The Volkswagen XL1 gets 313 miles per gallon, because of its lightweight construction, its advanced plug-in hybrid drive train, and its innovative packaging, according to Volkswagen. Unfortunately, this hypercar is not being sold in the U.S. and its widely reported price tag, according to Ontime Automotive, is 100,000 British pounds, which converts to $145,529 U.S. dollars as of this writing.

The development of hypercars may enable motorists to leave fossil fuel technology behind in the near future. At a minimum, they can reduce fuel consumption and air pollution tremendously. Unfortunately, developments in vehicle efficiency can do nothing to help prevent accidents. Traffic crashes are still a leading cause of death in the U.S, and they're also the cause of many legal disputes. In that case, one should look to a trusted firm near them such as Goodman Acker P.C. who may be able to help them in the case of an accident.

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