Your morning cup of coffee may get your motor running, but it could also add some fuel to your gas tank — literally! Behold the Carpuccino, a £400 1988 Volkswagen Scirocco that has been retrofitted to run on coffee grounds. This caffeinated car gets a jolt of juice from every cup of joe, averaging about 56 espressos per mile.
We’ve seen vehicles powered by everything from chocolate to poo, so a car juiced by coffee doesn’t seem like that big of a stretch. The Carpuccino was designed by the team behind the BBC science show Bang Goes The Theory. According to the show’s producer, Nick Watson, “Coffee, like wood or coal, has some carbon content so you can use it as a fuel. The coffee needs to be very dry and in pellets to allow the air to move through the pile of coffee as it burns. The brand doesn’t matter.“
The vehicle consumes a kilo of ground coffee for every three miles and is capable of hitting a top speed of 60 mph. Unfortunately, all of those espressos add up to an expensive habit – running the vehicle on coffee costs 25 to 50 times more than running it on gasoline.
Apparently that’s a small price to pay for science though – the car is currently getting juiced up for a 210 mile trip from Manchester to London. Fittingly, the team will need to stop every 60 miles or so to remove soot and tar from the coffee car’s filters. If you’d like to check out the Carpuccino in person, it will be on display at the upcoming Big Bang Science Fair in Manchester.