Written By: roo
The ROOPOD competed in the 2011 One Gallon Challenge, a 100 mile race from Plymouth to Boston, MA. As part of this event, I drove the ‘POD to Plymouth the night before the event (130 miles) and camped out at the starting venue. Race day dawned nice and sunny but quite warm. The ‘POD was competing with Dirigo ( www.dirigocar.com ) ,BITW ( www.bitwtech.com ) and Moonbeam ( http://home.myfairpoint.net/vze6omtd/jorysquibb/index.html ) .
We left at about 11:00am from Plymouth caravan style planning on a route comprised of mostly back roads and small towns. As this was a race for fuel efficiency we wanted all the cars to have the same route, speed and real world driving conditions. Somehow I was elected to lead our caravan with my gps skills (HA HA HA) and the others would follow each of us keeping the next one back in our mirror…unfortunately, Jory Squibb with Moonbeam was last in the que, and also meant to go slower than the rest of us…result we lost him about 30 miles in. And then I navigated us onto a section of MA-25 that I did not notice was a divided highway till it was too late…Poor Jory in tiny Moonbeam was forced into 6 harrowing miles on 25 (his top speed is about 40 max) and he was about done with the likes of the rest of us after that! He did have a good 40 miles or so to compute his mileage for the race. He trailered up and became our film crew for a bit, and then took off to meet us in Boston.
The rest of us set out on a very nice stretch of MA-58 going through the towns of Plympton and Carver among others. As the day wore on and we approached Boston, Our route was turning into that terrible kind of 4-lane road populated with car dealerships and discount flooring outfits going out of business. We Decided it was time to get on the interstate and for the last 30 or so miles we plied the sometimes stop and go RT-3 and I-93. Then we were off the highway at the Government Center exit and just a few turns till we were at the finish at City Hall.
We ended up going about 95 miles and had pretty rough traffic for some of it…in other words realistic mileage conditions for most people. I was able to achieve 78MPG in the ROOPOD Bill Buchholz in Dirigo eeked out 85MPG and George Voll in his dieselized Geo Metro got 89! Moonbeam’s mileage was 72 mpg for his 40 miles.
Why didn’t ROOPOD win- I was half the weight of Dirigo and the Metro, and have a much smaller frontal aerodynamic area?…My first guess is my drivetrain, I am thinking that my gear ratio in my chain final drive is too low…I think that the ‘POD’s motor was reving more than it needed to to move along the road…the fix? I will make a smaller rear sprocket which will give me a higher gear. I hope it works. After the Race, We displayed our cars at the Boston Greenfest ( www.bostongreenfest.org ) and gave the public a chance to see what some determined Guys working in their garages could do. After two long days of scorching sun and one very wild thunderstorm complete with hail we headed home. my trip home on RT-2 was uneventful and not much different than if I did it in a heavy car!