The Nissan Leaf, the Chevy Volt, and the Toyota Prius dominate today’s fuel-efficient news stories, but other vehicles are quietly making their mark on the industry. One such vehicle is the Avion. Although the Avion doesn’t have the name recognition that the Prius does, the vehicle has been making fuel efficiency news for more than two decades. What started in the 1980s is continuing today.
On Aug. 29, 2010, Craig Henderson, one of the designers of the Avion, began a Canada-to-Mexico drive. During this trip, Henderson avoided all of the tourist traps and instead stopped only to use the restroom, eat and sleep. This was a man on a mission and not a man out for a scenic drive. The mission was to drive from Canada to Mexico on one tank of gas while achieving a fuel efficiency of over 100 mpg, for the second time. That’s right, the second time.
In 1984, Henderson and his partner Bill Green designed the first Avion. In 1986, the vehicle made it from the Mexican border to the Canadian border averaging 103.7 mpg for the trip. This set a Guinness World Record for fuel efficiency. The team had plans to bring the Avion to market, but unfortunately fuel efficiency wasn’t at the forefront of everyone’s mind at the time and the vehicle never made it into production status.
Fast forward 24 years and Henderson took a similar journey, this time from Canada to Mexico in a new and improved Avion. The new vehicle weighs in at 1,500 pounds thanks to a high-tech design, which features carbon fiber, fiberglass, Kevlar and aluminum. As an added bonus, the vehicle is designed to maximize the use of recycled automotive parts. The trip with the new and improved Avion only used 12.4 gallons of gasoline, which equals an average fuel economy of 119.1 mpg.
Now Henderson feels the market is ready for the Avion. Henderson has plans to bring the Avion to market in a limited production run. Specific details aren’t yet available, but Avion’s 100MPGPlus.com website will be updated as more information becomes available.