A small company in California claims to have done the impossible by developing an all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicle for under $30,000 that can achieve a fuel economy of 300mpg (0.784L/100km). The cars were developed by Aptera, and first deliveries of the all-electric version are slated for 2008 with the hybrid model set to follow soon after.

The all-electric model has a range of 120 miles and can be charged in just a few hours using a standard wall outlet. The plug-in series hybrid has achieved more than 300mpg with a range of more than 600 miles. It features a petrol-powered generator as well as an electric drivetrain.

Both versions are loaded with safety features. They include a front crumple zone, a front end that re-directs crash energy in a frontal impact, steel and composite side and rollover protection as well as driver and passenger side airbags.

Dubbed the Typ-1, the new car rides on just three wheels and surrounds two occupants side by side with a low drag pod-style body. A third, child seat, is positioned behind the front two seats. With the child seat removed there's enough room for two golf bags, a pair of 7ft surf boards or up to 15 grocery bags.

The company is now taking deposits and already 400 customers have signed up.