Advanced Engineering 2019

EU Starts to Develop Super-economical Car

27 September 2000

The European Union (EU) said Tuesday it has launched a research project on lightweight materials for a new type of super-economic car in a bid to avoid serious dependence on petrol and diesel fuel. The European Commission, the executive body of the EU, said the project was launched as "Europe recovers from the recent protests over fuel prices, and the realization of just how dependent we are on petrol and diesel fuel". The fund for the project totals 5.2 million euros (4.5 million U.S. dollars), of which 50 percent comes from the commission and another 50 percent from other partners. Lightweight materials, expected to cut the vehicle's weight by about 40 percent, will help lower the petrol consumption in cars and drastically reduce carbon-dioxide emissions. The project aims at producing the materials, which are low-cost carbon composites, by 2004 for a prototype car traveling 100 KM on just one liter of diesel fuel. "This research project is a joint effort by the car industry, research laboratories and materials producers to give at least a partial answer to the question of Europe's dependence on oil," EU Commissioner for Research Philippe Busquin said in a statement. The commission said an ultra-lightweight version of Volkswagen's Lupo TDI should be ready for production and whether the development of the new type of car is successful will be determined by the cost of production.

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