Published on October 23rd, 2009 | by Jules Yap


Ecomodder Ikea LED hack

A hack that Mother Earth will approve. This Ecomodder is from Marcus.

“I’m a furniture designer and a ruthless hacker of all things found, discarded and misused. I have a thread going on Ecomodder.com where I am building a Kamm back aerodynamic mod for my Previa van. I’m getting 43% above The EPA mileage rating for my van with a record of 36mpg highway with normal driving techniques. My Ikea hack involves Dioder lighting strips and aluminium rails from the as-is section. The dioder lights are 12V and make perfectly cool turn signals. The aluminium strips make a great lightweight frame for the coroplast.

The Kamm back reduces the aerodynamic drag on my van. At highway speeds over half of an average car’s fuel is consumed to overcome aerodynamic drag.

Much of the drag on a car can be reduced drastically. This drag is expressed as a coefficient. In my case the Previa has a stock coefficient of drag or Cd of .35. If I cut that in half, to .17, I should cut my fuel consumption by over 27% The Kamm back I made theoretically reduces my highway drag by about 15% which should translate into a fuel savings of 7.5%. That’s 7.5% less Co2 and everything else. I’m also working on a belly pan using the ikea aluminum slats which smoothes out the airflow under belly of the car, good for another 6%.

The LED lights consume less energy than incandescent turn signals which in turn uses less fuel because a car’s engine generates electricity using the alternator and that takes fuel.

Since I’ve been doing this over a year ago, I’ve saved over 85 gallons of gasoline and emitted 750lbs less Co2 than a stock Previa. I’m using 46% less gas than the EPA rating on my vehicle and thus emitting 46% less pollution. Part of that is thanks to Ikea hacks.

I also reduce my footprint by riding my electric motorcycle when I don’t need the Van which reduces my emissions by 99.9% although I can’t say Ikea hacks help there.”

See more of it over at Ecomodder.

More hacks on IKEAHackers.net

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The Author

Jules Yap

"I am Jules, the engine behind IKEAHackers and the one who keeps this site up and running. My mission is to capture all the wonderful, inspiring, clever hacks and ideas for our much loved IKEA items".

25 Responses to Ecomodder Ikea LED hack

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hell is paved with good intentions

  2. Francis says:

    Engineers have built hyper-efficient carbon fiber tear drop shaped eco-mobiles and such, but they were never practical or marketable for daily use. Don’t do this to a perfectly good van.

  3. Francis says:

    I guess you were inspired by the diy Aero-Civic that was built a few years back. IDK, it’s an eyesore and potentially dangerous mod. Is it really worth the gas savings?

  4. Tim Gray says:

    White lights for turn signals = traffic ticket. You haveto have yellow or red only.

  5. Anonymous says:

    this is THE FUNNIEST thing ive seen in a long time!! love everyones input……but this cant be genuine…………

    marcus youre a genius!!! please please keep them coming

  6. Anonymous says:

    There’s no fuel economy advantage to LED lights, just a bulb lifespan one. The alternator is a fixed drag on engine performance regarldess of the amount of power being used. The AC will decrease efficiency, but that is because the compressor is mechanically engaged to the engine when it is turned on, so it is no solely drawing on the electrical system.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I agree w/ the above poster — some of the comments were surprisingly rude, bordering on downright nasty. The post didn’t come across as smug to me –confident, if anything. If one is irritated by it, how about offering suggestions for improvement or asking politely how he came up w/ his figures? This isn’t something I’m going to rush out and do myself, but it is interesting and overall has good intentions.

  8. DJinny says:

    I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t do anything like that to my own car, but i really believe that most comments up there have not been very considerate, especially when you see the guys motivations and engagement to design something with such good intentions…

    I am not informed, neither about car’s fuel consumption… neither about the story here, but I don’t think we should just booh it so fast… If you are more knowlegeable, why not give him some hints or help instead of just putting him down?

    We have to keep the creative flows running!! Who knows where thinking outside the box can lead us to??!!


  9. Anonymous says:

    I did check his link. Any minute gain in CO2 or other emission from the mod is severely offset by the laser cutting of the parts. I love customized and modified cars in all forms. But stop being so effin presumptious and start doing some proper mods that actually works.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but Vancouver is in America – maybe not the United States Of, but it’s that other continent away over there.

  11. A. says:

    wow. The virulence of these comments is pretty sad. Looks like NONE of you actually read the ecomodder link that has 5 pages of discussion on the construction and usefulness of the mod/hack.

    Off-the-cuff, unresearched negative commentary = pure FAIL.

    Dude’s from Vancouver, btw. NOT America.

    *shakes head*

    Personally, I think what he’s trying to do is fabulous! If you paid any attention at all to his personal details, he lives in a fairly remote area, so it’s not like he’ll be in big city traffic or on super busy highways. I agree that life and limb during an accident is a good topic to address. The whole unit is completely removable, if it turns out that it isn’t up to safety specs.

    Read, people. Jeez.

  12. Anonymous says:

    As others have mentioned, there is a liability issue here. Should a strong gust of wind rip it off at highway speeds, your car insurance would likely not cover you in the event of it causing an accident or injury.

    Also – you are comparing your gas savings to the EPA mileage for the vehicle. You should be comparing it to the actual mileage for the vehicle without the mods. As others have mentioned, the EPA mileage estimates can be very low for certain models. For example, I get 41% better than EPA mileage on my car and I haven’t done anything to it.

  13. prue says:

    @ anon 7:28: I am not horrified because i am uninformed: I am totally aware of the fact that a lot of people modify their cars by adding or removing parts, but I wasn’t aware of the fact that in some countries you are allowed to do whatever you like (and whatever your qualification, because this frankly looks dangerous, i.e. unprofessional to me) and then take the car out onto the road, where other people are.

    here in germany you definitely need to have any changes inspected and get a permit for them which you then have to have with you whenever you use the vehicle.

    i fully agree with you, though, on the topic of unnecessary abuse.

    another afterthought to the eco(?)modder (mentioned before, too): if you really want to reduce your ecological footprint, go by bike….. (there are even ikeahacks for bikes, might be interesting for you, and no bike-inspections, not even over here in germany so far!)

  14. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous of 7.28pm here. As an afterthought:

    “The junky as-is bin at any store is for beggars you cheapskate!”

    I’m guessing you’re not an Ikeahacker regular reader! The As-Is dept at Ikea is a treasure trove of wond’rous things.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Gosh. I’m surprised at the virulence of some of the comments here: skepticism or personal dislike is fair enough but ridicule and abuse is beyond the pale.

    “I am somewhat horrified – are you actually allowed to modify your CAR and then go into traffic with it?”

    I can only imagine you are horrified because you’re not very well-informed to start with. Yes, car modifications are very commonplace everywhere I’ve been from Switzerland to Swaziland. And whether it requires an inspection or not depends on how significant the changes are.

    This sort of stuff happens all the time: http://www.tuningmag.net/?name=xeigen-nissan-350z-formula-bodykit I don’t particularly care for it myself.

  16. Anonymous says:

    the bloom
    is off the rose.

  17. Anonymous says:

    the prius has a cd of around .2-.24 (something like that)… no way you are getting .17. sorry dude.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Keep this garbage off Ikea Hacker. You’re just trying to make youre already hideous mini-van get better gas mileage. I can only imagine how horrible it must make you feel that there are people like me that drive muscle cars and burn tires up at the light next to your POS laughing at you. This is one of the most ridiculous looking vehicle mods I’ve ever seen. If you’re so concerned about your footprint, why not just use all that awesome metal from your mini-van and pimp out a Smart car, genius!! It probably cost you more to buy that crap and build it than it’s actually saving you!

    You can’t just put some extensions on your van that just extend the size of it and expect it to make a conciderable difference. That van is over 10 years old anyway, you probably look just as ridiculous on your electric put-put scooter as you do driving that deathmobile. Good thing your scooter cant go too fast, you might miss a great yard-sale or two that could potentially be selling your next uber-skill proving invention.

    You should be doing something more interesting with your skills if you think you can make that much of a difference. Probably wouldnt hurt to do something with your life besides rock your mini-van pimp daddy so that you can buy a smart car and not have it hurt your pocket so much. The junky as-is bin at any store is for beggars you cheapskate!

  19. Anonymous says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks this hack looks like crap. Up next on “Pimp My Minivan”

  20. Marleen says:

    Wow, I can only agree with the above. This isn’t just a bad idea, it’s also illegal pretty much everywhere. Only in America…

    At least put some lights on the side of that thing, so it doesn’t get sheared off by some unfortunate driver who doesn’t see it in the dark.

    As for “I also reduce my footprint by riding my electric motorcycle when I don’t need the Van which reduces my emissions by 99.9%” – how exactly do you produce your electricity emission-free? Even solar power causes more pollution than you’d think, since the solar panels have to be manufactured and shipped… If that’s how you do your math, it’s no wonder you get such great results!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Sorry dude. Thats the most questionable hack Ive seen in a long while. Its not that hard to beat the EPA milage rating in the first place. The math ur rambling is mostly wrong. Ur a serious hazard in traffic with that thing sticking out. With my rather base knowledge in aerodynamics I can say that car is worse off now with the mods.

    Trust me. Uve made a decent car worse in every way possible. And it sickens me immensly how smug u are about it all. I suggest u solve a real problem next time.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Reducing drag while increasing weight tends to work very very rarely in favor of your fuel consumption under street conditions. This is not F1 Racing.

    Besides, the engineers that built that car probably are not complete dumbasses… There’s reasons they didn’t put 30 pounds of fugly sh*t on the back of that car.

    Sorry but that “hack” just doesn’t excite me.

  23. prue says:

    as good as the idea of reducing one’s car’s consumption is, I am somewhat horrified – are you actually allowed to modify your CAR and then go into traffic with it? doesn’t it have to be checked and get a permit or something??

    gosh – sometimes I am glad to live in burocracy-land….

  24. Diana Draw says:

    I like the idea of hacking your car and making it run like a rocket on very little…but, dude, didn’t they take away tailfins & pointy things on cars in the 1960s because they do tragic things to people in accidents? I mean, all the pointy pokey stuff is dangerous on the highway…(esp. at those high speeds)

  25. Anonymous says:

    No way you are going to cut your cda in half with my increasing the surface area.

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