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)
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.
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.
The 36 volt system is a poor choice because of the other types of problems, including poor lamp life and increased contact burning.
The way to get rid of the excess wiring mass is to get rid of the excess wiring, which would mean getting rid of all those accessories that have all those excess wires. The entire wiring harness from my 1965 vehicle could be held in one hand at arms length, including the battery cables.
The ultimate plan for getting rid of all the wires was the multiplexed control idea that had only three wires: POsitive, ground, and data. Back in the mid 90's that was supposed to be the solution. BUT it didn't work out that way, did it? Then along came the 42 volt idea, which was originally needed to power the electrically preheated catalytic converter. Fortunately for all of us that idea didn't succeed.
Presently most of those wires are already as thin as they can be mechanically and still have strength enough to survive building the car and driving it. The 36 volt-3 battery system would add more weight in the form of batterys than it would remove in the form of wires.
So the 36-42 volt system is just a bad idea, and it will continue to remain a bad idea.
rdelaplaza Higher voltages are fine in most other environments, but in a car the vibration does enter into the design of lamp filaments. Really, I read the report about the problems of the thinner filaments not being nearly as durable as the lower voltage lamps. Also, the controls for the higher voltage devices not used in cars are a fundamentaly different construction, and also in a much different cost area. So there really is no comparison between the electrical system in a car and any other area.
Besides all of that, the proposal of the higher voltage automotive electrical systems certainly looked to many like some company attempting to create a market for their product because nobody else was there yet, rather than because of any actual benefits.
Really, the bus arrangement with serial data to handle all controls would be the way to go, and it would be in place now if the bnefits outweighed the costs. BUT, just like going to the 42 volt system, the benefits do not outweigh the costs. The market has spoken.
Forget about lamp filaments; like the dinosaur, they are destined to extinction (pun intended), LED Solid State Lighting is here to stay, there are already LED light engines designed for industrial High Bay Lighting producing 25000 lumens that replace 450 Watts HID lamps, not bad considering that your car headlamps are around 60 watts ea.
Same applies to the Internal Combustion Engines; sooner than we expect electric vehicles will be a reality, when people and engineers realize the stupid idea invented and sold to us by BIG OIL and GREEDY car manufacturers, to STALL the develoment of the EV; that "the battery is attached for life to the vehicle, as unmovable part of the design".
Car manufacturers must stay doing what they do best, manufacturing cars, NOT BATTERIES, GREED is pushing them into their stupid schemes, they want to have the whole cake and eat it too.
Intelligent engineering in other countries like Israel and Germany, and some car makers like Renault are developing battery sizes, connector locations, control systems and capacity STANDARDS that ALL EV MANUFACTURERS CAN (and should) USE; to create a new breed of EV's with SWAPPABLE BATTERIES.
2 or 3 standard battery sizes, (like C, D & AA cells do), car batteries designed to be remanufactured swapping as few parts as possible, and reusing as many parts as possible, (even the basic replaced chemicals are recyclable) VERY IMPORTANT idea; the cost of remanufacture/replacement will be PRORATED in the cost per charge and subject to the laws of the market, like the price of gasoline, this approach will create thousands of jobs in the new industry of EV battery remanufacture.
Light EV's could use 1 to 3 small or med batt packs, trucks & cargo EV's could use up to 6 big size packs. Battery packs with tamper proof computerized energy tracking, battery condition and status dataloging to charge consumers only for the used energy; you already have one in your house energy meter.
Instead Gas Stations we will have charge/swap stations in every corner and the batteries can be charged at off peak hour rates to relieve the grid and equalize peak energy demands.
In terms of energy a short circuit protected power bus around the whole EV and a bidirectional optical fiber control bus (gigabyte) connected to every device in the vehicle. want to add reliability, (double that) and/or add token bus topology to the control signal, (in the circular control bus the control signals travel around in both directions even if the circle is broken in one point) use mass produced standard IC's for control bus access for the design of the std control modules; like brake, turning and marker lights, even the car audio could be pushed through the optic fiber and there will be an excess of capacity left for everything else.
Every different HP powertrain ratings will use it's own voltage, based in what is available in battery pack combinations, Accessory packs will standarize to reduce mass production costs, like Air conditioning systems sold as an accesory pack, Electric Power steering assisting, you name it.
So finally and sooner than anybody thinks the old schemes of vehicle voltages will die (as the 6 Volt battery did and the 12 V battery and filament light bulb will) and will be replaced by the new designs, new products and standards.
Only clunkers, rust shells, collectibles and vintage cars will still running on 6 and 12 volt lead and sulphuric acid flooded batteries.
There has been a major shift in your emphasis, from a discussion about the merits of a higher voltage system for cars with internal combustion engines to talking about electric vehicles. NONE of my comments were addressed to the choice of votages for electreic vehicles. EVs are a totally different area with no similarity.
As for LEDs being the only source of light on a car, probably a few years off that will happen, but most of us need to deal with the present until such a time arrives. And dealing with the present includes avoiding choices that would become obsolete in just a very short time. That would include creating a whole new area of 42 volt car parts that would need not only a lot of engineering to make them reliuable, but also a lot of manufacturing resources to make them at all.
Despite the very intense wishes of a lot of people, the passenger car as we presently know it is not going away very quickly. There are a lot of reasons for that that don't involve the auto companies or the oil companies, but rather the love of personal freedom that comes from personal mobility. IF I chose to do it, I could jump in my car and drive anyplace in the US, as long as I had money for gas, and I could do it in just a day or two. You simply can't do that in an EV, since you would need to stop and recharge every few hours, which, aside from slowing the trip a whole lot, provides "big brother" with a detailed trail of where you have gone. IN addition, those fast charges do take a toll on battery life, even on the most robust battery structures. In addition, the fast charge produces waste heat, which equates to wasted energy that is gone forever.
The concept of having batter-swap stations is about the stupidest idea ever proposed for anything associated with cars. The reason is that one would probably NEVER get a battery as good as the one traded off. We all know that is true, although a lot of folks will not admit to it. Look at the other areas where trading an empty tank for a full one exists and you will see exactly what I mean. As for "tamper proof" computerized energy monitoring and tracking, it is only tamper resistant until the hackers get in, usually within a month or so.
SO, If you really hate cars so much, I hope that you only use "green" public transport for all of your travels. I don't have time to waste going that slowly. AND, as I do not choose to be critical of those who choose such transport, I would expect a similar courtesy from those who elect to only utilize "green" public transport.
A recently released government report has raised the hopes of automakers looking for a break on future fuel economy regulations, despite the warnings of an Environmental Protection Agency official who said the agency is unlikely to back down on its goal of 54.5 mpg by 2025.
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