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)
Absolutely right. The more efficient the car, the more carefully the driver has to drive to extract this performance. A 10mpg car is not going to see too much degradation in performance when the driver drives badly. Hybrid and high fuel efficiency vehicles will see dramatic reductions in fuel efficiencies by poor driving technique. The car must be intelligent enough to be able to help these poor drivers while not compromising safety.
Based on the following government site, bad driving habits can affect milage as much as 33%.
Although I'm not an agressive driver so my milage wouldn't improve dramatically from an optimal pattern, I can hardly wait for autonomous vehicles. Let the machine do the driving! Traffic lights won't even be necessary.
I suspect even our most optimistic forcasts of improved traffic flow and milage will ultimately prove to be pessimistic.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Some cars are more reliable than others, but even the vehicles at the bottom of this year’s Consumer Reports reliability survey are vastly better than those of 20 years ago in the key areas of powertrain and hardware, experts said this week.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.