• 03.09.10

Latte for Work? Cappuccino-Powered Car Puts You in the Espresso Lane


Forget the electric vehicle revolution–this car is juiced up by the same stuff that powers you in the morning. The “Carpuccino” car was built by a team from the BBC science show Bang Goes The Theory to prove the viability of cars powered by fuels other than conventional gasoline and diesel. The car, built from a converted 1988 Volkswagen Scirocco, was used by the show because it looks like the DeLorean from Back to the Future.


The idea of making biofuel from waste coffee grounds is nothing new, but the Carpuccino allows drivers to pour coffee granules directly into a gas cylinder attached to the car, where it is heated up and broken down into hydrogen and carbon monoxide. But despite its convenience, the Carpuccino isn’t exactly practical–during a planned 210 mile trip between Manchester and London, the vehicle will use 70 kilos of ground coffee at a rate of three miles per kilo of ground coffee, or approximately 56 espressos per mile. The UK Daily Mail estimates that “at supermarket prices of between £13
and £26 a kilo depending on brand and quality, [the trip] will cost between £910
and £1,820, or between 25 and 50 times the £36 cost of petrol for the
journey.” That means it’s actually much cheaper to stick with regular gasoline … in your car, we mean.

So will we all drive coffee-powered cars sometime in the near future? Probably not. But the Carpuccino serves to remind us that making vehicles sustainable sometimes requires more than a little creativity. Chevy can have its Volt. Give us the Jolt.

[Via UK Daily Mail]

About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more.