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)
The average driver spends about $2000 a year on gasoline, so doubling milege saves over $1000 a year. It does not cost more than a couple thousand to make a car light enough to get 54.5 mpg. I had a Fiat 850 in the 1960s that got 40 mpg back then, and it was fun to drive. I had an MG 1100 back then that got 35 mpg and was fun to drive. I drove a Nash Metropolitan that got 35 mpg back then, and was fun to drive. It is not that hard to get getter mileage than we do. I can buy a VW Polo that gets 70 mpg right now in Europe, and it costs only $14k. Europe has stricter emission standards than we do.
I see where you're coming from. My second car was a 1974 Mercury Capri (German made) and it was relatively heavy compared to what could be done now. I loved driving it and got 35 mpg on the highway.
Among the challenges we have today that we didn't have 40 years ago are the numerous regulations and standards that each in their own way have negatively impacted fuel efficiency. I don't believe it's going to be a trivial matter either financially or technologically to make a car that is safe and comfortable for my family of 4 that gets 54.5 mpg and has a reasonable cost of ownership.
Despite the tone of my comments, I personally believe we've made glutonous and greedy use of combustible fuels, and I want to be efficient and judicial in my use of them. My contention is solely with the motivations behind much of the controversy over how reductions should be made. I guess I've seen too many 'remedies' that are worse than the 'disease'.
For example, I don't think explosive airbags are safe, and just add weight and cost. I think heavy catalytic converters turn soot into much more toxic cyanates, formalins, sulfites, etc., they don't test for. In the US it is very hard to even sell a diesel at all.
Right. If the unsuspecting public were to follow the money, they would come to see that many millionaires have been made from the creation of almost every regulation. There's always a 'solution' that seems ready-made for the 'problem', and most of the time the resultant remedial regulation requires that solution.
Upon that realization, it forces one to question everything that's touted to be for our good.
Tluxon, you are exactly correct about how much money some are making from the hysteria about alleged global warming. Of course I also agfree that we should strive to reduce toxic pollution as much as we can. But I also am quite concerned about those who are using this scare to advance their personalmagendas and take away many of our freedoms, since, aside from that, they are also failing to consider the unintended consequences of many of their "more severe" actions. Unthinking actions can lead to far worse outcomes.
The government needs to set targets because a free market will progress very slowly on its own. These new technologies are expensive to engineer / design / and implement, and cause reliability / repair cost issues. Consumers gravitate to low cost which is why electric vehicles with extended ranges are not popular....they cost too much. This is a lot of very little improvements, without a mandate, it would be hard to get excited about any one of them. Even with all of these, the automakers will likely need to hope / push people move to smaller cars. I would have bought a hybrid Toyota Higlander 7 years ago but the $10K premium did not seem like a good payback at the time. If the price of new vehicles skyrockets with this new mandatory technology, I will vote to keep my older cars longer and longer.
I like a lot of these ideas, but I agree that using aluminum wire is scary! Millions of homes were wired with aluminum wire in the 1960's and early 70's, until electrical fires became epidemic in those houses, resulting in millions of dollars in lawsuits due to the property damage, injury and deaths those fires caused. The problem was when connectors and devices made for copper wire were connected to the aluminum wire or when copper and aluminum wire were spliced together, causing galvanic corrosion at the connections. As the joints began to corrode, the resistance of the connections increased, raising the temperature of the connection until the insulation failed, resulting in a short circuit and fire.
This wouldn't be as much of a problem for the OEM, as he could prevent the use of mixed-mode wiring, but for mechanics in the field, it would be a disaster, trying to determine what kind of wire was in the car before making electrical repairs. It would be even worse if they used copper wire in place of aluminum to make the repair, only to have the car catch fire a few months later!
OK, VW group to off-set their car consumption bought Ducati, so now when A(nother) U(n) D(oubted) I(diot) driver hits a Ducati rider they get both repairs too.
All cynicism aside a lot of car makers also have a bike division, or in the case of BMW the other way round, so not everyone is trying so hard yet. That said we drove 690 miles over 6 days recently in a 2008 Suzuki (badged Vauxhaul Agila) Splash 1.3 CDTi. Thats the Fiat 1.3 common rail turbo intercooled diesel, without air-con it returned at ~65 mph 71 MPG, with air-con, and several hours of city centre crawling, overall 4 up with luggage it returned 65 MPG. And whilst we're Europeans, we're not small built people either!
The Splash/Agila is still being built, but Suzuki/GM stopped buying in the Fiat engine in 2010, that was a mistake, neither of the petrol engines can return such good fuel economy with useable power, perhaps thats where the real future lies, more collaboration, less competition?
42V is dead and buried, 48V is the new future voltage.
The average car has ~1100 wires, ~¾ mile in length for now. With the increasing regulation & major reductions planned for CO2 things are going to get much worse as we lurch towards self-driving cars.
Extra sensors, cameras, computers & whatever else is needed to meet these new legal / techie requirements will result in pushing up the wire count & weight.
So we need the higher voltages & aluminium to reduce the wire weight given the much, much higher wire count otherwise we are back at square one. This will help by partially offsetting the weight increase caused by all the regulatory extras.
So for the average car 12/48 V systems with step down DC/DC converters will be the end result – 48V for high power & 12V for the legacy loads like car radios & sat-navs, etc.... Hybrids and electric cars already have a high voltage power source with step down DC/DC converters so there is less effort needed to up-tech them.
This doesn't count all the body changes towards a high strength steel bodyshell & lightweight alloys for the internal structure combined with plastics to replace glass windows.
Perhaps the future is a very high tech version of the old East German Trabant with modern materials replacing cheap steel & papier-mâché !!!
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.
As it does every year, Consumers Union recently surveyed its members on the reliability of their vehicles. This year, it collected data on approximately 1.1 million cars and trucks, categorizing the members’ likes and dislikes, not only of their vehicles, but of the vehicle sub-systems, as well.
A few weeks ago, Ford Motor Co. quietly announced that it was rolling out a new wrinkle to the powerful safety feature called stability control, adding even more lifesaving potential to a technology that has already been very successful.
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