I've often thought it's absurd that I use 3300 lbs of steel to haul my 250+ lb carcass to and from work. Although I like my present car (sorry, it's a Buick), I don't really need the extra seating or the extra hauling capacity. All I really need is seating for two, just in case I sometimes have a passenger, and enough cargo space to haul my lunch and a briefcase and/or a laptop to work.
Given a vehicle with 2 seats, and given that the second seat will usually be empty, I don't think that side-by-side seating is necessary- tandem seating would work, and would reduce the frontal area for better aerodynamics. Think VW iL concept (238 mpg, but actually I suspect 100 mpg would be acceptable).
I don't think 4 wheels are necessary, either. Trikes don't have as stringent safety and emissions requirements, as they are registered as motorcycles. What I'm thinking about is akin to the 1970s "TriVette," the 1980s "HMV Freeway," the 1990-2000s vandenBrink Carver, or the contemporary Elio.
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