Wikispeed came onto the scene back in 2010 at the Progressive Automotive X Prize competition, which offered a cash prize to the most efficient vehicle. Wikispeed's SGT01 was entered as a fully gasoline-powered car, while many other competitors brought hybrid or electric-drive vehicles.
Their ethos was simple: build a lightweight car with a volunteer-based team under a continuously evolving work method. In fact, during the X Prize competition, the judges sent Wikispeed back to drawing board after they found critical issues at tech inspection. But with Wikispeed's modular design, they were able to strengthen the engine cradle, change the suspension design, and add DOT-approved seats in virtually no time at all. The team stripped the car down, made the changes, and had it back up and running in less than 4 hours.
The SGT01 displayed a lot of promise in the competition, as it showcased how dramatic efficiency gains can still be had using a gas-powered internal combustion engine. The SGT01 weighs only 1,300 pounds and can theoretically hit 104/114 (highway/city) miles per gallon. Despite carrying only a 4-gallon gas tank, the SGT01 boasts an estimated 400 mile range between fill ups.
Thankfully, the SGT01's extreme efficiency doesn't come at the cost of performance. The prototype can rocket from 0 to 60 miles per hour in about 5 seconds, with a calculated top speed of 149 mph. And should there be any issue with the engine, you can take the car to a Honda dealership for repair, as the engine they are using is a 1.8-liter, 4-cylinder Honda R18a.
With a structural carbon-fiber swappable aeroshell body, Wikispeed claims the SGT01 is safe as well.
If you can't afford the $25,000 price tag of the SGT01, you can still donate money to the cause--just like Wikipedia. Wikispeed's goal is to use the cash they've raised from the SGT01 prototype to fund research of their next vehicle: the more mainstream Comfortable Commuter Car, or C3. Their plans are to make it very affordable, but without the compromises that usually come with low-cost transportation.