Featured Maker: Jack McCornack, Kinetic Vehicles

Jack McCornack with MAX at Maker Faire Bay Area.How far would you go to get a car with better gas mileage? Would you shop for a car that meets the new fuel economy standards, required by 2016? Would you shop around for an electric hybrid? Would you convert your car to run on biodiesel?

Or would you build your own car that gets 100 MPG, using diesel or vegetable oil as fuel?

I’ll bet that last one never crossed your mind. But DIY enthusiast Jack McCornack has proven that it can be done, and he’ll gladly show off the results of his work so that you can do it, too.

Jack began his quest in 2008 on behalf of Mother Earth News. While the original intent was to compete in the Progressive Automotive X-Prize, Jack ultimately decided to pull out from the contest and strive to meet most of the same the goals independently of the contest. Jack started with the frame of an old Toyota Corolla, then added a Kubota three-cylinder engine that is normally used for tractors. The original body was based on the Lotus Seven, the classic British roadster which has been inspiring home-built versions for decades.

The end result was MAX, which saw its first successful road tests in 2008. That year, Jack participated in Escape from Berkeley, a 600-mile race from Berkeley to Las Vegas without using petroleum fuel. And at the end of the journey, nobody was more surprised than Jack that he had won! The Science Channel has an interview with Jack and footage of MAX’s first incarnation.

Version 2 of MAX updated the body to an even more streamlined design, which would push the vehicle from around 70 to 100 MPG. The body was completely reworked through careful design and lots of trial and error. By the Fall of 2012, Jack announced that he had met his goal, and after 100,000 test miles MAX is still going strong. Jack has blogged extensively for Mother Earth News and on his own site, so you can read all of the details about how the car came together.

At the Eugene Mini Maker Faire, you’ll be able to see MAX up close. You can also talk to Jack to find out more about how he designed it and what his plans are for the next 100,000 miles. Join us on June 15th to meet Jack and over 30 other makers from around the Northwest!

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