Sunday cool stuff: Robert Q Riley XR3 hybrid

The newest product by R. Q. Riley Enterprises, the XR-3 hybrid, looks like it'll be out in May or June.

The main feature of this car is that it can get up to 225 mpg. Given an earlier tricycle vehicle Riley offers, it looks like this one will feel fairly sporty as well. More details:
Robert Q. Riley’s radical high-efficiency designs, concepts and kits have been public for a long time, and have often been viewed as non-mainstream and largely irrelevant by an American population with a highly distorted view of the real cost of cheap petrol. Now his fuel-efficient designs seem suddenly relevant – we desperately need new transportation alternatives that conserve energy and protect the planet’s ecosystem, Riley’s latest creation, the XR-3 plug-in hybrid, is a sleek two-passenger, three-wheel sports car that is expected to return 225 miles per gallon. Designed to be assembled by someone with average mechanical abilities and no prior experience, the all-wheel drive vehicle will be available as a kit or plans for complete do-it-yourself construction. ...

The XR-3 uses the latest hybrid power system technologies in the most simplified way possible. While the front wheels are powered by a three-cylinder diesel engine, a single rear wheel uses an electric motor run by a lithium-ion battery. The ground provides the connection between the two systems, eliminating the need for a complex electronic and mechanical interface.

Driving on power from its diesel engine, the XR-3 can achieve fuel economy of 125 miles per gallon. However, when the diesel and electric power systems are combined in a hybrid driving mode, fuel economy can exceed 200 miles per gallon over an 80-mile trip.

A simple three-position switch allows the driver to select between battery-only, diesel-only and hybrid driving modes. The diesel engine can remain off for local trips, since power from the advanced lithium-ion battery pack gives the car a battery-only range of up to 40 miles.
Estimating from their previous model, that 40 mile trip could cost almost $20 (depending on what your electricity rates are), so hybrid-only operation is probably the most desirable. [My bad: it's quite a bit cheaper than that]. More here as well:
Being a three-wheeled vehicle, registration will make the vehicle a motorcycle in the U.S. This means that HOV lane use will be permitted, but also means that you may need a special license, and may need to wear a helmet, depending on what state you live in.
Personally, I'd rather drive this than a motorcycle (comfort on wet days) but the helmet part might be a downside for many potential customers. Mainly, this shows what can be done with technology available right now. And if the "big" car companies were to produce a (ready-made) vehicle like this it would most likely be registered as a car and not a motorcycle I'm guessing.