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Engineering Materials
Metal/Plastic Car Wheel Boosts MPG
2/8/2013

The eVOLVE Hybrid Wheel made of metal and plastic, designed for the 2012 MYFord Focus SE, has shown an increase of 1.1 MPG highway in third-party tests, compared to the car's standard production wheel.  (Source: Lacks Wheel Trim Systems)
The eVOLVE Hybrid Wheel made of metal and plastic, designed for the 2012 MYFord Focus SE, has shown an increase of 1.1 MPG highway in third-party tests, compared to the car's standard production wheel.
(Source: Lacks Wheel Trim Systems)

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GTOlover
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Ford F150 also
GTOlover   2/8/2013 4:03:30 PM
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I also think the F150 was shown with an aerodynamic wheel that also incorporated shutters to close up the slots at high speeds and open for slow speeds (to provide adequete brake cooling).

I think it was also eVOLVE wheel design.

Charles Murray
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Huge improvement
Charles Murray   2/8/2013 6:00:09 PM
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An improvement of 1.1 mpg is huge. Automotive engineers spend months and months just trying to find a few tenths of a mile-per-gallon. If these third party tests are right and if automakers find this to be economically feasible for production, then this is a gigantic step forward.  

tekochip
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Platinum
Re: Huge improvement
tekochip   2/9/2013 10:05:50 AM
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I'm really surprised, I would have guessed it was all about the rotating mass.  I never would have thought that the drag from the wheel would make such a difference.


Gorski
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Metal/Plastic car wheels
Gorski   2/9/2013 3:19:16 PM
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I think this wheel is a small step in the right direction. What would make a bigger impact is using this technology to make automobile bodies and large internal components,aka seats. lighter. The wheel weight reduction is too small an increment of automobile weight.

GORSKI PE

Gorski
User Rank
Platinum
Metal/Plastic car wheels
Gorski   2/9/2013 3:19:16 PM
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I think this wheel is a small step in the right direction. What would make a bigger impact is using this technology to make automobile bodies and large internal components,aka seats. lighter. The wheel weight reduction is too small an increment of automobile weight.

GORSKI PE

sensor pro
User Rank
Gold
Re: Huge improvement
sensor pro   2/9/2013 11:10:26 PM
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Me too. I would never think that. In my opinion if weight is the problem, there are other items thay can make lighter, like frame, seats, booth hoods, etc....

Tim
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Cost Benefit
Tim   2/10/2013 7:46:25 PM
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If I read the article correctly, the metal/plastic wheel is about 4 pounds less than the standard wheel. For this weight reduction, is there a cost savings or is the main benefit the MPG increase?

Eric75
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Iron
I thought plastic wheel dressings were gone in the 90s
Eric75   2/11/2013 9:44:34 AM
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Unsprung mass is a big deal for vehicle performance although not necessarily fuel economy. Reduced rotating inertia probably has an impact on city driving more than taking weight out of the seat frames. I wonder how much the plastic is about appearance rather than aerodynamics. Wheels take a beating, and I know they will look pretty bad by the time I buy a 2014 focus in the year 2025.

RaceCarBuilder
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Iron
New design using Old Ideas
RaceCarBuilder   2/11/2013 10:50:00 AM
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The three-piece modular wheel is even lighter. A 15" dia 10" wide Jongbloed wheel from the mid- '70s weighed 14 lbs. It used two spun aluminum wheel halfs and a forged magnesium center. This was a racing wheel so it was plenty strong but it was difficult to maintain-- dogs would come from adjacent counties to pee on mag wheels!

As far as aerodynamics are concerned, Bonneville racers have used "Moon Discs" since the '50s to improve the rotating and wind resistance of their wheels. These are spun aluminum discs that cover the center of a standard steel wheel. They are still used in land speed racing. They do not allow brake cooling air circulation, however.

Instead of such a complex wheel structure as this new wheel design, why not just mould that design with a carbon fiber reinforced polymer?

Deja vu all over again.

GTOlover
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Ford F150 also
GTOlover   2/11/2013 10:51:31 AM
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Here is the F 150 wheel:

http://www.sae.org/mags/aei/power/11731

It is the same manufacturer as the Focus wheel described here at DN.

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