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)
David: That's quite the claim. Ten years? No fossil fuels. I'd be happy if you were right, but . . .
. . . I remember Popular Science articles in the 70's touting the flying cars we all would be driving by the turn of the century. :-)
As for replacements, I'm good with #1. I think batteries will make incremental improvements over the next several decades.
As for #2, I must have had a Rip Van Winkle moment, and forgive me, I have never heard or read of an inert gas plasma motor. Any links to where the reader might learn more about this technology?
And #3, well, I'd be happy if they could sustain and control hot fusion for more than a femtosecond or so. I understand that if you set a cold fusion reaction cell outside during the day, it does get warmer. Commercializing that may have a few hurdles to overcome.
On a motorcycle you are only allowed 1 accident and you are dead. If all cars are lighter and trucks still weigh 100,000 lbs. the danger still exists. The weight is required to make a safety cage around the occupants so when the 100,000 lb. truck hits you and you bounce down the street the vehicle remains intact instead of crushed like an egg. If the cars are going to be weigh about 1000 lbs then trucks should be downsised to about 25,000 lbs. maximum also.
I have found that driving habits (or shall we say "technique") does make a significant difference.
My own commute is about 50 miles one way and I ran a simple experiment over the course of a couple weeks to see how far I could stretch my mileage. My drive is about 35 miles at highway speed ann 15 miles in heavier/slower traffic. Driving normal, I get about 32mpg over time. However, while driving with the intent to increase mileage, I was able to approach 39 to 40mpg. This was done by slowing down from 75-80 to 65-70mph, staying within "drafting" distance of other vehicles, avoiding hard accelerations, and popping the tranny out of gear to coast whenever possible.
It seems odd that simple old common knowledge is being ignored though. Such as we have known for decades that a simple air dam at the bottom of the front of the vehicle will greatly reduce air drag from the bottom of the vehicle. But no one builds in air dams on a regular basis, except for cars like Alfa Romeo, Porsche, etc.
While direct injection costs more because of the high pressures needed, it can be exrtremely efficient. That is because it eliminates pre-ignition, ping, and knock. That means compression ratios can be increased dramatically, getting much more HP out of the same fuel combustion. The need for premium gas is also eliminated.
It also brings back the potential for going back to 2-stroke engines, that can get twice the HP for the same engine weight. With direct injection there is no mixing oil and gas or chance for excape of unburned fuel.
Actually motorcycles are much safer than cars. They have far fewer accidents, mostly because they are so manuverable they can easily avoid them. Same is true of smaller cars. And in fact, if you are in a one car accident, small cars are safer, because it is the weight of the back end of the car that tries to crush the passenger compartment. Trying to make cars heavier so that you kill others instead of just making all car lighter and safer, makes no sense at all. If all cars are lighter, there will be far fewer deaths.
Talking about automation, what we need also are more intelligent cruise control systems. For electrics/hybrids it makes a big difference if power is constant rather than speed is constant. Allow the cruise control system to slow down the car on climbs and speed ups on descents. With a definable window of speeds for the cruise control, highway efficiency can improve further.
California’s plan to mandate an electric vehicle market isn’t the first such undertaking and certainly won’t be the last. But as the Golden State ratchets up for its next big step toward zero-emission vehicle status in 2018, it might be wise to consider a bit of history.
By now, most followers of the electric car market know that another Tesla Model S caught fire in early February. The blaze happened in a homeowner’s garage in Toronto. After parking the car, the owner left his garage. Moments later, the smoke detector blared, the fire department was called, and the car was ruined. To date, no one knows why.