By 2025, every automaker will need to boost its corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) to 54.5mpg. That's not an easy task, so most manufacturers are already working with suppliers on products to help squeeze the most out of every gallon of gas. The obvious way to do that is to use electrified powertrains. But not all vehicles can do that, so automakers are building new engines, and vendors are dreaming up fuel-stingy components.
From fuel injectors and air conditioning compressors to tires and power steering systems, we offer a potpourri of technologies aimed at boosting CAFE to 54.5mpg.
Click the image below for a slideshow of 19 lesser-known mileage boosters.
Low-rolling resistance tires, like those on the Chevy Cruze Eco, use a silica compound and a revised tread design to provide a solid road feel and improved fuel efficiency. (Source: GM)
The 600 ib gorilla is reliability. If most of these technologies ever fail in the field, the cost to repair will exceed the fuel saved. The energy required to make the repair parts might even exceed the fuel saved, a total false economy.
One in particular I would avoid like the plage is the aluminum wiring. It will be a disaster. Aluminum is NOT suited for wire.
Manufactureres must remeber the cost of poor reliability is loss of market share, always.
Beth, I too am exited that these technologies are being explored and implemented. I am not surprised, because many of these innovations are not new, certainly start-stop technology is something that is not new and could have been implemented 20-30 years ago (has been on the Prius for 15 years). My hat is off to DN and Captain Hybrid for bringing some of the new technologies to light, we have heard too many excuses as to why we can't reach CAFE standards, and not enough examination of technology and innovation. These are only 19 ways (there are many more existing) that can be used to increase mpg ratings, not to mention ideas that have not even been thought of yet. Interesting that none of these ideas force cars to be smaller, and they don't even include hybrid technology. Coupled with hybrid/electric technology, the 54mpg standard should be met easily if we stop fighting about it and start engineering.
I agree, Beth. There are a lot of little technologies that eke out a few tenths of an MPG. The technology that will have the biggest impact, and will be most widespread, I think, is start-stop. Over the next ten years, we'll be seeing that on huge numbers of vehicles.
Wow, Chuck. I am duly impressed. I didn't realize there was such a wide swath of technology and innovations underway to address the 54.5 CAFE standard mandate. As you well noted, the focus tends to be on powertrain technology, yet there are many other places, many probably not considered, where auto OEMs can squeeze more mileage out of their designs. I particularly was impressed by the so-called "little things"--the improvements to making the wiring systems lighter and the flaps on the Chevy Cruze for aerodynamics. Very, very interesting stuff.
A well-known automotive consultant who did an extensive teardown of BMW’s i3 all-electric car said its design is groundbreaking in multiple ways. “We’ve torn down about 450 cars, and we’ve never analyzed anything like this before.”
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