To the Editor:
I'm responding to "Contest aims to cure pain at the pump" (May 8).
Peter Diamandis, chairman of the X PRIZE Foundation, said here last month that his goal is a vehicle that gets at least 100 mpg.
That 100-mpg vehicle has come and gone. It was a two-passenger vehicle with a three-cylinder engine and a five-speed manual transmission. It was developed by General Motors.
The vehicle was designed by the GM Design Staff and engineered by the GM Engineering Staff. It was built by the Engineering and Manufacturing Staffs at the GM Technical Center in Warren, Mich., and was completed in June 1982.
Two engineers drove it from the Tech Center to New York. At its best, the vehicle got 105 mpg highway and 75 mpg city.
It was not mass-produced because federalizing it would have added about 200 pounds for bumper requirements and comfort factors required by the customer.
Because of cost of the added horsepower to drive the extra weight, the target could not be met. GM had to drop the program.
GM initiated Project Saturn in June 1982.