Trucks at Work

Who says fuel economy can’t be cool? Or FAST!!!


There aren’t many cars on the road today that can make cruising at 100-plus miles per hour seem easy, much less fuel efficient. But that particular conundrum is being turned on its head these days, even if the price tag for such mechanical wonders remains well out of the average motorist’s reach -- much less the hard working fleet community.

For starters, take a gander at the Jaguar C-X75 – certainly not what you’d expect to see when the words “hybrid vehicle” are mentioned. This is a plug-in hybrid, two-seat concept car that cranks out an amazing 778 horsepower through four electric motors, each driving one of the vehicle’s four wheels.

This sleek ride can travel about 30 miles on electric power alone, while attaining a top speed of 200 miles per hour.

Here’s the hybrid part: the batteries driving each of those four motors are recharged using two diesel-fed micro gas turbines instead of a conventional four-stroke gasoline-fired engine. Pretty slick, eh?

Unveiled last year at the 2010 Paris Auto Show, the C-X75 is now going into limited production starting in 2013 thru 2015 with a build target of only 250 units. There will also be a big change, too, when this vehicle goes from prototype to production model, as a small turbocharged gasoline engine replaces the micro gas turbines that currently recharge this concept car’s batteries.

By the way, in case you are wondering, “C-X75” isn’t just a cool acronym dreamed up by Jaguar’s engineers. The C stands for “concept” and the X for “experimental,” with the “75” in recognition of Jaguar’s 75th anniversary, being celebrated this year.

However, I’m pretty sure most fleets will have to take a pass on this unique plug-in hybrid “Super Car,” as it’s going to retail somewhere between $1.15 million and $1.48 million per copy, depending – of course! – on the local market, taxes, and various fees. Whoo boy!

[For fun, here’s an overview of the C-X75 provided by none other than “Late Show” host Jay Leno, who obviously is one of the few people on the planet with deep enough pockets to afford one of these hybrid “Super Jags.”]

Now, a lot of you may be wondering (rightly) why such a high-toned (and high-priced!!!!) luxury car should be profiled in this space.

Well for starters (of course) it’s no doubt interesting stuff for anyone even mildly affected by the “gearhead” genome.


Yet on a more serious note this hybrid “Super Car” – as well as some other production vehicles Jaguar and other luxury manufacturers are crafting – highlights the growing importance of fuel economy across all vehicle types, even for the big dollar “bling” machines.

Along that line of thought, look at Jaguar’s new XF 2.2 Diesel sports car, for example. A British team recently crossed North America, driving from New York to Los Angeles, while averaging 62.9 miles per gallon over the trip’s 2,884-miles – requiring only four stops for fuel the entire time.

Remember, now, this is a big pricey luxury car we’re talking about here, with room to seat five adults – not some skinny underpowered micro-car that barely fits two.

“This project was designed primarily to test the potential economy of our XF 2.2,” noted Paul Alcock, XF project manager for Jaguar Cars, who pointed out that the vehicle’s drivers – David and Alexander Madgwick – were independent testers, not Jaguar engineers.

[Take a look for yourself at this one-of-a-kind diesel sports car.]

Now, in this case, Jaguar configured this XF 2.2 Diesel as British right-hand drive vehicle, conforming to British emission rules. Neither is it cheap, costing around $78,000 to $80,000 a pop (“OUCH!” screamed my wallet!)

That aside, though, Alcock noted that the Madgwick team maintained “real world” speed on their cross-country jaunt of around 53 miles per hour, while incorporating a multitude of real-life “road” scenarios to complicate the fuel economy map – including the stop-and-go congested blacktop in and around New York and Los Angeles, navigating road construction, high winds and a climb to 7,275 feet above sea level.

On top of all that, this five-seater combines aerodynamics, a four-cylinder 2.2-litre diesel engine, and an eight-speed gearbox to not only gain excellent fuel economy but also enable it to accelerate from zero to 60 mph in eight seconds as well as attaining a top speed of 140 mph.

In sum, this is the kind of car that firmly shows you don’t need to develop slow, boring vehicles in order to achieve great fuel economy. That’s not a bad trend line to see, if you ask me.

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