Having been involved with daredevil Evel Knievel’s motorbike stunts, partners Doug Malewicki, Richard Long and Gary Cerveny set up a company called AeroVisions Inc in Irvine, California to make a highly economical single-seater three-wheeler. The California Commuter was based around a Honda 85cc powertrain, and returned a claimed average of 155mpg, while being capable of a top speed of 82mph (ca. 132 km/h). At one stage Malewicki held two Guinness World Records: 157.192mpg at 55mph (ca. 89 km/h) (petrol) and 156.53mpg at 56.3mph (ca. 91 km/h) (diesel). While cruising at a steady 55 miles per hour on a level highway in no-wind conditions. the California Commuter averages 178 miles per gallon on premium grade pump gasoline.
Why it is a single passenger vehicle? If AeroVisions California Commuter had to carry more than one person, the structure would have had to be larger and heavier. A larger engine would have been required, along with heavier tires a and rims, bigger brakes etc. The company wanted to explore the effects of minimum size and weight on fuel economy.
The car’s Buck Rogers-style appearance was claimed to be aerodynamically efficient. After the open-roof prototype, it was planned to sell a fully-enclosed version with a flip-up canopy but this never materialised. In 2013, it was still possible to buy plans to build your own California Commuter. Doug is Malewicki also built the C2C.
- Empty weight: 230 lbs (105 kg)
- Weight as tested: 400 lbs (180 kg)
- Length: 119 inches (3020 mm)
- Width: 48 inches (1220 mm)
- Height: 48 inches (1220 mm)
- Top speed: 82 mph (132 km/h)
- 0 to 60 mph (96 km/h): 15.3 sec
- Economy: 155 mpg at 55 mph (1,51 l/100 km at 88 km/h)