How the Goblin Aero Works

The Goblin Aero is a velomobile. See more green science pictures.
Photo courtesy of Goblin Motors

Dependence on fossil fuels to get where we need to go has become increasingly problematic, a trend reflected in the relatively newfound obsession with vehicle gas mileage. With a regular car or truck, you'll get anywhere from 10 to 30 miles per gallon (4 to 12 kilometers per liter), depending on model, engine and gas type. With a hybrid, you can probably pull up to 50 or even 60 miles per gallon (21 to 25 kilometers per liter) if you stick to flat highway and use efficient driving habits. And that's about as good as you're going to get with a mainstream gas-powered car.

But an interesting new alternative has popped up, one that can get up to 150 miles per gallon (63 kilometers per liter) under ideal conditions. In theory at least, you could drive a vehicle called the Goblin Aero from New York City to Los Angeles on 18 gallons (68 liters) of gas [source: Mapquest].

This is "in theory" because the Goblin Aero isn't exactly a car, and whether it's suited to a cross-country trip is somewhat dependent on the fitness level and adventurousness of the driver. Not to mention the highway laws along the way.

The Aero fits into a class of vehicle called velomobiles. It's one of the newest additions to the collection of available models, which are more popular in Europe than in the United States. But Goblin Motors has created a velomobile that may be particularly well-suited to the American market.

A velomobile is sort of a cross between a bicycle and a car. In this article, we'll check out the Goblin Aero velomobile and find out how it runs. We'll see how you drive one, where you can use it, and what kinds of benefits it provides over both a traditional car and a traditional bicycle.

So, how exactly do you cross a car with a bike?