The California Department of Transportation is asking for public comments on an application from a private company that wants to put a car with a supercharger on a road course.
The car, which would be equipped with a high-performance lithium ion battery, would be capable of driving from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
The application is under review, but the department says the company will have to demonstrate the vehicle’s capabilities in California before it can make the final decision.
“We are seeking input from the public as to whether the SmartCara is an appropriate vehicle for off-highway operation,” said Jennifer Tewksbury, a spokesperson for the California Department on Transportation.
The company is currently testing the vehicle at a public facility in California, with the goal of launching it in 2018.
The SmartCarab, which the department hopes will be a model of its own, would not have to be fueled on a regular basis.
It would be able to take advantage of off-site charging stations and refueling facilities, allowing the vehicle to stay at a distance of at least 100 miles.
The agency wants to see how well the car can handle highway driving, and if it would be more efficient than conventional off-the-shelf technology.
“The car will be able make use of the off-Road Mode technology that allows the car to drive off-trail, and we believe that the car will also be able operate in other off-Trail modes, such as off-street, snow and ice, according to the Department on Traffic Safety.”
The application says the vehicle could go from 0-60 mph in 3.2 seconds.
It also says the car’s maximum acceleration is 0.4 mph, and the vehicle would be at least 15 percent more fuel efficient than the average commercial vehicle.
The Department on Road Safety says the SmartCara is an off-board fuel system, meaning the battery packs would be attached to the chassis rather than the engine.
The California Transportation Commission has approved the application, and Tewsbury said the department expects the project to be completed in 2019.
The department also wants to hear from anyone who would like to contribute to the testing of the vehicle.
“This is an application that is under consideration and we hope to hear feedback from the community before we decide whether to issue an EZ Permit to the Smart carab,” Tewmsbury said.
The government has received more than 2,500 responses, and it has a list of questions for the public to submit.