As a lot as our readership likes to dislike Priuses, you must admit that there’s at all times going to be a necessity for a extremely environment friendly, environmentally-friendly automotive. The trail the Prius took to those objectives isn’t the one one, although. Volvo solved the identical issues in a unique and debatable way more enjoyable manner again in 1983, with their LCP2000.
LCP2000 just isn’t precisely a catchy identify, but it surely does imply one thing, at the least: Gentle Element Prototype, and the “2000″ half is simply because within the 80s, all the pieces that you simply needed to really feel futuristic and stuffed with lasers and shit had “2000″ within the identify.
It’s known as a Gentle Element Prototype as a result of the objective was to make the automotive from parts that have been, nicely, gentle. Plastics, magnesium, and aluminum have been used, chosen for his or her gentle weight and recyclability, and carbon fiber was even used for the door frames, which was an enormous deal again in 1983. Your complete floorpan of the automotive was a single plastic piece, to which the remainder of the physique was hooked up.
The results of all these novel supplies is that the automotive weighs below 1600 lbs! That’s lower than a Volkswagen Beetle of the period, and is manner lower than a contemporary Miata.
The drivetrains have been attention-grabbing, too; two choices have been developed, each three-cylinder turbodiesels: one 1.Three-liter magnesium engine that made 50 horsepower, and a cast-iron 1.Four-liter engine making 90 hp, however with some novel options, as Volvo’s media website tells us:
… heat-insulated with out a cooling jacket within the cylinder head and utilizing the engine oil as coolant as a substitute. It ran on any oil gas, like rapeseed oil, which gave the automotive a pleasant scent of fish & chips when it drove previous. All LCPs had front-wheel drive, and both a five-speed handbook transmission or an electronically managed CVT.
It used the engine oil for cooling? Air-cooled engines pull this trick as nicely; what seems to be a radiator in that improbable cutaway drawing up high may truly be a giant oil cooler.
The mix of the sunshine weight, CVT transmission (which Volvo received from their buy of DAF), and environment friendly turbodiesel engines meant that the LCP2000 received 56 MPG metropolis/81 freeway, which is nearly as good as a Prius within the metropolis, and manner the hell higher on the freeway.
The design of the automotive itself is fairly rattling intelligent, too: it’s a form of shooting-brake two-door wagon, however with a rear-facing bench seat on the rear. The entrance and rear seats share a standard backrest, and there’s a stout body member between them, and room for the battery, which distributes a very good chunk of weight within the middle of the automotive, which should have helped dealing with.
It jogs my memory a number of a late ‘80s/early ‘90s Honda Civic hatch, which is an efficient factor.
The rear seat passengers entered the automotive by means of a rear hatch that additionally opened up a giant chunk of the rear roof, making entry and exit fairly straightforward. The automotive has a wedgy, ‘80s crisp-line design, with plenty of window space, clear detailing, an all glassed-over entrance finish, and that stripey beige-rainbow inside is simply superior.
Volvo even carried out research of the full power consumption of the LCP, throughout its entire life cycle of minerals within the floor, although its manufacturing, helpful life, and eventual and inevitable retirement to the scrapyard.
The LCP2000 had basically the identical objectives because the electric-gas hybrid Prius that got here later, and arguably completed these objectives higher, due to not requiring an costly, heavy, and difficult-to-produce battery pack.
It additionally appears a hell of quite a bit cooler, and never simply because I’m a sucker for rear-facing seats.
In fact, it didn’t occur like that, and there’s Priuses in every single place, and no person has a nifty, light-weight little Volvo wagon with attention-grabbing seats.