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Experimental Air Car Gets 100 Miles/Gal
Ohio inventor James R. Bede, of Cleveland, has designed and constructed a prototype car that he says gets 100-120 miles per gallon of gasoline, and could easily exceed 100 miles per hour. Bede, known for his unusual airplane designs, has incorporated unique airflow styling into his new lightweight car.
The 980 lb. vehicle is powered by a modified Kawasaki motorcycle engine which drives a large fan built into the rear of the car chassis. The engine is mounted in the rear and is connected to the fan by a short driveshaft.
Says Bede, "You can start right off with the fan drive if you want to, or you can use the electric motor drive which operates off four storage batteries. But the fan really works best from about 30 miles per hour and up." The electric drive is used for reversing the car and for slower, in-town driving.
Although other gas-electric cars have been built, Bede says his car is not a true hybrid because the electric system is not expected to power the car for extended periods. "It will probably go six or seven miles on electrical power," he says. "But you really wouldn't use it very long that way."
The car is 17 1/2 ft. long, 54 in. high, 69 in. wide, and has room for four people. It's powered by a four cylinder, 1000 cc engine, but Bede believes a smaller engine would be adequate, or there may be a choice of engine sizes. They may also offer a model with direct-drive to the wheels instead of the fan drive.
Bede notes that, "There's a lot more work to do before the car is ready for production, and it will probably be at least 18 months or longer before any will be available." Company literature suggests that the first models may be sold in kit form, with regular production to come some months later.
At any rate, the key to excellent mileage, says Bede, is not the fan drive, which is very convenient and simple to operate, but in the car's light weight and aerodynamic design with very low air drag.
For instance, the prototype model uses modified motorcycle wheels and brakes. But Bede has since found a source of lightweight wheel/brake assemblies which will be able to use conventional 13 or 14 in. radial tires.
"There's nothing particularly complicated or expensive about this car. In fact, we designed and built it to be as simple as possible, and this will help keep the price down," says Bede. "With continuing inflation, it's hard to predict what the price will be by the time we're ready to sell production models. But, we believe it should be competitive with present compact car prices."
For more information when and if the car goes into production, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, James R. Bede, Bede Industries, 8327 Clinton Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44144 (ph 216

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1981 - Volume #5, Issue #2