LONDON - The environmental group Greenpeace is preparing to unveil a high-mileage car based on the popular Renault Twingo supermini.
Greenpeace says the lightweight car, called the Smile, consumes just three liters of fuel per 100 kilometers, or 62.5 miles. That translates into 80 miles per U.S. gallon.
Although the Greenpeace prototype is based on the Renault Twingo, its body has been streamlined, with about 300 pounds of weight removed.
Greenpeace said the Smile will cost just $1,350 more to build than the standard Twingo.
It is powered by a new 360cc, two-cylinder engine developed by Wenko AG.
The car will be unveiled later this month in Switzerland, where the engine was developed.
The Wenko engine, which runs on gasoline, is supercharged by a Comprex pressure-wave blower.
Wenko says the engine delivers 60 hp, slightly better than the Twingo's standard 1.2-liter engine.
Greenpeace says it developed the Smile out of a sense of frustration at the auto industry's unwillingness to contemplate radical change. The industry is developing diesel engines to meet the three-liter challenge, but Greenpeace argues that diesel fuel is harmful to the environment.
Greenpeace says the Smile could enter production within a year.
When Renault got word of the conversion late last winter, it released a statement raising questions about the safety and reliability of the conversion.
Greenpeace will promote the concept of the Wenko engine.
It says the new engine could be the basis of an entire series of Smile models based on such cars as the VW Golf and the Opel Corsa.