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)
Andrae Rossi's 1MW E-cat has recently received SGS safety certification for industrial use. One unit sold and delivered to an unknown military client, 13 on order pending certification. Several other companies plus US Navy and NASA are within a few years of commercially viable versions of the tech.
Just saw an interview with Ford CEO Alan Mulally, on the current situation with Ford and it's future. Interestingly, he states that fuel consumption is the NUMBER 1 factor in buying cars nowadays. Many other interesting comments from him about the use of Aluminum, and how Ford has now paid off it's 28 billion loans by producing better and more fuel efficient cars, thank you Obama. I'll let you listen to the rest... http://www.impomag.com/videos/2012/09/mulally-fuel-efficiency-drives-car-sales
We pulled the wiring harness out of a 90's Thunderbrid driver's door and it weighed 35lbs!!! We really need to go to 36vdc nom power to run acessories, etc to reduce weight, copper use along with at least start/stop tech to cut the pure fuel waste.
Present cars only get 7% of the fuel's energy to the road so by getting these parasitic loads off the engine alone can increase mileage 35%.
Also running just 1 power circuit with control modules at each load really cuts copper/wiring weight, costs.
Of course the big weight loss comes from getting rid of metal and going to composite body/chassis like the GM UltraLite and Toyota X-1 showcars.
A far better choice than going to the 36 volt (42volts) systems would be TO GET RID OF a whole lot of those stupid things that need so very many wires. We do not need an air conditioning system with three microprocessors and two digital displays, and two processors for the 15way adjustable seats and mirrors. The list goes on and on, and the fact is that the majority of added items don't contribute to good mileage or to occupant safety. They are features that drive up the cost, both to purchase and to repair. Unfortunately they do add weight and mass and so they reduce economy instead.
The high pressure gasoline injection system is interesting, but who is going to service them? and how many will be injured and killed by the high pressure fuel systems? Really, 20,000PSI and even just 10,000 PSI are dangerous pressures, able to send a fine jet of fuel into any of a number of areas where it can do great damage. Working with those pressures IS different and it DOES have a new set of hazards, not to mentionalso a whole new set of problems not yet discovered.
And the high voltage system went the way of independant modules and digital control with the three wire bus, power, data, and ground. It seems that the system was a solution in search of a problem, and the benefits of having all of those parts on one control bus were not able to outweigh the problems experienced in making it work. So now in the car there may be two modules, one for the drive system and one for everything else. My complaint is that when the module fails, which is six months after the warranty ends, it can't be repaired, and the replacement costs $750, if you can get one. And the modules are potted so that they can't be repaired, and all of the failure prone big ICs are custom units that not even Bill Gates could buy, because repair parts are not available, and never were available. So pay $750 and wait three weeks to get your repair part.
So getting rid of the wires by going to 36 or 42 volts won't solve any problem, it will cause many more problems.
I agree with your thoughts on 42V, William K. It's truly amazing to look back at that period 12 years ago and see how the auto industry, engineering societies and trade magazines were ballyhooing the 42V idea. Now it's gone, and we don't hear a peep about it anymore.
The 42 volt systems would have been needed for the electrically pre-heated catalytic converters that some idiots wanted to mandate, with the intention that preheating the converter would result in instant conversion. and would eliminate any startup emmissions.
The problem was, and would still be, that it takes a lot more power to pre heat the converter than it does to crank the engine.So dead battery problems would happen a lot more than they do now.
Uhg, I got to this party late, but I see the same tired arguments continue to play out. The free market failed? Nay, we abandoned the free market and failed.
The argument is made that the free market failed during gas shortages. Can we not consider what role regulations play in creating shortages? Does not the government already manipulate the places that we can seek and extract resources, the number of refineries, and the formulations of fuel that may be sold at different times?
California - posed with a gas shortage - is looking to remove the formulation regulations (temporarily). They say that it won't make much difference in air quality, which if true, begs the question, "then why burden the marketplace with such onerous regulations?!" Were they being dishonest about the value of the regulations when justifying them or now that they are inconvenient?
Taxpayer bailouts of failed business models ... are you stretching your free market model to suggest that this somehow fits? In my world, it is called a command economy when the government controls the levers and switches of business. The free market allows for new management to buy out the resources (factories, labor, etc.) and operate under a new business model.
I do not disagree with your priorities on what is important in a car. I recognize, though, that I cast one vote with my purchase choices. Feel free to lead the charge in educating consumers, but do not blame manufacturers for building what people want to buy.
When I was working for Analogy (now owned by Synopsys), we were helping Volvo design for 48 volt systems for trucks.
It was not to heat converters or power busses.
It was to cut the weight of conductive wires by 2/3s, and to allow for a clean 12 volt DC source for microporcessors. The higher the voltage. the less amperage you need for the same work. So higher voltage allows much thinner wire. And you have to have excess voltage if you want a clean result.
It is not a new idea, difficult, or a problem.
The military spec has been requiring 24 volts for 50 years.
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