Absalom: A heavy safety cage does not make a vehicle safer, but makes it more likely to lose control. And safety is from being able to maneuver and avoid collisions, not being able to withstand semi truck crushing. Smaller vehicles are inheretly stronger per weight, and therefore safer.
I believe the future CAFE standards are more sophisticated, nuanced, and less draconian than appears at first look. The innovations discussed in the article will be refined, expanded, and integrated over time to become lower cost, more effective, and more widely applied. Not discussed were such possibilities as low friction coatings, further improvements in streamlining, lower friction piston rings, and the deSaxe offset cylinder technology which is already in use for some engines. Ceramic rollers can reduce mass and friction in roller tappets. The auto industry has yet to develop low cost, low mass, engine piston pins but they are conceptually feasible and many patents exist for various approaches. Still to come are merged computerized management systems to optimize driving efficiency. These would build on fuel economy techniques already used by so-called "hypermiler" drivers who seek maximum fuel efficiency, while avoiding the extremes of slow acceleration. Turbocharging and supercharging (exhaust gas and mechanical driven alternatives) have still further developments, aided by knowledge gained from the intense ongoing aircraft engine research programs. Low friction lubricants exist now and can be further optimized and developed. Body mass is being reduced with no ultimate limit yet in sight. Fully controlled valve movement will be refined and further adopted. The future CAFE standards can be met without destroying driving pleasure.
Of the various mechanisms presented, probably the one that is able to deliver the very most improvement for the very least effort is the combination alternator-starter shown in frame 4. Engine shutoff coupled with engine disengagement, all under driver control, or possibly driver plus computer control, could easily allow a doubling of the miles per gallon during city driving. It would not offer much improvement for constant speed driving, but in the case of suburban and urban driving, the ability to shut off and coast can provide a large reduction in fuel consumption. So why hasn't anybody else proposed such a system?
Looking at the picture of the air conditioning compressor it becomes clear that very early in the process automotive air cooling must be eliminated altogether. Not only does it not contribute anything towards moving the car down the road, but it also adds to the weight of the vehicle. In addition it does a whole lot toward encouraging folks to use their cars more than they really need to use them.
"As long as the safety cage is strong enough" works for me but what can it be made of to survive being squeezed between a row of cars and an one or two 100,000 pound trucks in a typical chain reaction accident? The impact speeds may not be real high but the crushing forces are.
I wonder how safe the Datona 500 would be if they had 30 cars and 6 double trailer trucks racing around with loads scrap metal and wood chips at the same time? In real life the truckers are always racing against time and money and both their following distances and tempers can be pretty short.
I think that anything smaller than my 4x4 pickup is just a metal coffin looking for a spot to be buried. Even a 7000 pound truck is probably a bit light for safe road use. I should probably consider installing a 500 pound safety cage.
My 1982 Ford Escort Wagon got 40 MPG and I never had a complaint about its accelleration or responsiveness. It took a pretty steep hill to bog it down (I did know one such). Then again, I am a pretty conservative driver. It wouldn't surprise me if some of the "stomp-stomp" drivers would complain.
I think the approach automakers are using is definitely supported by the need; i.e. looking at each component and improving that component's efficiency while evaluating what contribution can be made to reaching the CAFÉ standard. I don't really see how the standard can be achieved without significant improvement in technology and/or going to hybrid vehicles. With that being the case, the days of the shade tree mechanic are pretty much over. Growing up as a kid, my first lessons as a budding engineer came from working on cars. I suppose that will still be the case, but we could actually fix them back then. I'm not too sure a kid will be able to accomplish the same result with the new technology. In a way, this is sad evitable but sad.
A quick look into the merger of two powerhouse 3D printing OEMs and the new leader in rapid prototyping solutions, Stratasys. The industrial revolution is now led by 3D printing and engineers are given the opportunity to fully maximize their design capabilities, reduce their time-to-market and functionally test prototypes cheaper, faster and easier. Bruce Bradshaw, Director of Marketing in North America, will explore the large product offering and variety of materials that will help CAD designers articulate their product design with actual, physical prototypes. This broadcast will dive deep into technical information including application specific stories from real world customers and their experiences with 3D printing. 3D Printing is