Two Person Car for Under $3000

We all know someone that wants a car that is really efficient but can't afford one so it is time to make one for less than my car costs.

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An open source two person car with great efficiency that costs less than a new car.

Specs set in stone:

  • 4 wheeled
  • 2 seater
  • Operational Windows
  • GPS
  • Gas powered
  • 5 Speed

Specs more or less set in stone:

  • 3D Printed Body Panels
  • Air Conditioning
  • Heating
  • Stereo

  • 1 × 8 HP Engine

  • Day 24 - More Designing

    sethzor106/03/2014 at 06:13 0 comments

    I really liked the original design but it was just too small. So I stretched it out and added some of the important components for scaling and dimensioning. 

    Old Design:

    Front end was more of an Audi R8 style with a Nissan GTR tail.

    New Design:

    I decided to go with just the GTR but shorten it a little bit. Unfortunately it looks a lot like my old Hyundai Accent.

    I am leaning more toward a front wheel drive so I can add two more seats in the back.

    The rims are 17" (Not going in my car).

    The engine square you see is the size of a Chevy 350 (Also not going in my car)

  • Day 14 - 5/24/2014

    sethzor105/25/2014 at 01:32 0 comments

    Long Story:

    Well I took a look at the design size and shape I first posted for you all to see and realized that I don't want a smart car. (The width is 4ft. wide) After a week of driving the dually truck for my father in-law and his nice turbo diesel trucks I realized that I really love my Hyundai Accents. Infact Ben (my father in-law) said to me, "Your car is really zippy!" I laughed really hard about that but after thinking I realized it really is and I love the small size and nice efficiency. 

    Short Story:

    I decided to make the Build Box 5'6" wide x 9' long x 3'6" and some change.

    Compared to my beloved Accent: 

    5'8" wide x 14'3" long x 4'8" High

  • Day 5 - 5/14/2014

    sethzor105/15/2014 at 02:55 1 comment

    I purchased an 8 HP Briggs and Stratton engine that used to be on a Murray  Riding Lawn Tractor. 

    I picked it up for a whopping $25. Now comes the fun work the frame and transmission build. (Sorry about no pictures so far my camera isn't working properly hopefully I will get it figured out tonight.)

  • Day 1 - 5/9/2014

    sethzor105/14/2014 at 17:15 0 comments

    I have been starting designs in "PencilCAD" and I think I have decided on the shape. Now I have to start building it in SolidWorks.

    I am building and designing this for myself and everyone else so any input would be cool.

View all 4 project logs

  • 1
    Step 1

    First you have to decide what you want the body to look like. Because you are more or less going to be stuck with it for quite a while.

View all instructions

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sethzor1 wrote 06/04/2014 at 18:41 point
Yea I was thinking of a flat panel with geodesic hollows to use as a crush zone. I am more worried about my wife's safety than 5 MPG maybe you are right though I will have to give it more time for certainty. However I am planning to start on the frame when it is finished.

I also want to thank those that are now following and thank everyone so far for their comments questions and thoughts on the build you are all helpful!

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zakqwy wrote 06/03/2014 at 12:18 point
I like your CAD designs, but I think more time needs to be spent on the realities of manufacturing. For example, you say 3D printed body panels are set in stone; I can't imagine that being cheap OR strong. Rapid prototyped stuff usually has some cost per unit volume, and you will either need a machine with a massive build stage or a mechanism for bonding each panel together from several smaller pieces. Also, FDM stuff tends to be pretty brittle, so you'd need to make each panel fairly thick. Thick = heavy, heavy = bad for fuel economy.. see where I'm going?

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Jesse Ransom wrote 05/26/2014 at 10:38 point
Racine huh? have you seen any of my projects? My 7hp powerwheels car can take yours but I'm not sure about fitting 2 people

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sethzor1 wrote 05/12/2014 at 20:29 point
Well I get exactly what you are saying but....

I was part of that build team in high school.
I have done parts of it before now I just want to scale it up.

Before you say, " It isn't safe you have no safety features."
We had to design a roll bar/ cage that would handle about 300 lbs or more.
We had to be able to drive at a 45deg angle and not roll.

I mean if you are really curious I can provide the rules and specs of what we did but 300mpg from some high school kids in a part of the country I am sure you have never been to ain't bad.

All that being said I appreciate the view and I can't wait to show you and the Hack a Day judges that it can indeed be done in 3 months and less than $3000.

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dave.m.mcdonough wrote 05/12/2014 at 22:06 point
300mpg is certainly respectable! I get quite jealous when I see things like this that my high school didn't do. I actually am rather curious of the specs and details surrounding that. Good job.

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sethzor1 wrote 05/13/2014 at 01:01 point
Tell you what I will try to see what I can pull up from back then I know I have a bunch of pictures from race day until my battery ran out.

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Samuel Wittman wrote 05/13/2014 at 17:46 point
It seems to me that what you did in high school and what you're doing now are only tangentially related projects in that they're both things that move with people in them. Additionally, are you factoring in the costs to make it certified street legal? Otherwise, you're building an expensive go-cart.

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dave.m.mcdonough wrote 05/13/2014 at 22:38 point
Sarah, I believe this would fall under the same rules as other kit cars such as the Lotus. The registration would not cost much more than a normal car. There will be an inspection where first they check VIN numbers of any large manufactured parts you used, then check that it's safe and road legal.

Not sure what state you're in but I'm sure most are pretty similar to this. So as long as it passes all of this then you're golden. No need to do safety certifications, EPA tests, etc.

And yeah this is pretty serious compared to the high school competition and I'm still skeptical about the price goal. China has been trying to do this for years!

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dave.m.mcdonough wrote 05/12/2014 at 12:23 point
Sorry to bust your balls here but I'm going to. What you are suggesting is very difficult to achieve, you're going to need to lay down some more detail here. What is you experience with car projects? I've spent more than $3k just adding a turbo to a car and that was welding up my own manifold.
Are you talking a car from scratch here or modifying an existing car to be more efficient?
If from scratch, what materials and techniques are you going to use to keep costs down? How you actually priced out all of the larger items? Let's just ballpark some things here.
$500- Wheels+tires. $100/ea if you stick with 16" or so and get modest tires.
$400- shocks $50ea, springs $50ea. Assuming basic aftermarket for honda/etc.
$100- Steering rack. Normally these are $300 for rebuilt AFTER core charge discount so it would be closer to $500 here, but I'm going to assume you're doing junkyard parts and converting it to manual instead of power.

So that's 1/3 of the budget already. We still don't have most of the suspension control arms, no body, windshield, engine, computer, brakes, lights, etc.

I don't see any possible way to source all of these things for $3k without starting with a donor car.

Second, what is your plan for making it efficient? I have a rather solid plan for converting a car to electric drive w/ onboard generator and expect it to get in the range of 75~100mpg.. but just this conversion project will cost more than $3k (not including the donor car).

Sorry if I'm coming off as a prick but this is just the reality of things. If you have a good idea to tackle the obvious here then I'm all ears. :)

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