I think the major OEM tire supplier companies are hard at work developing tires with lower rolling resistance. The auto manufacturers may then make the best tire choice for equipping their cars.
When I recently purchased new tires for my weekend performance car, I was mainly concerned with the best dry weather traction, chose a Summer-only ZR-rated tire that provides tremendous grip. I was not concerned with wear, and the tire does have a higher rolling resistance than other all-round tires.
When I need new tires for my daily-driver economy car, low rolling resistance, overall performance and high wear will be the prime considerations. Perhaps I will just get the same tires as the car came with new from the factory.
The way it looks right now, EVs may not help much to reach CAFE standards. Yet, while battery development can't match the rapid developments we're accustomed to in electronics, a couple of good breakthroughs could change the landscape dramatically. It's good car makers are still working at it.
TJ, that's a good point. I wonder if it's because tire technology such as shown in Chuck's slideshow is bleeding-edge? Just guessing that it is. If so, it may be unknown to the survey respondents, who are, presumably, working inside automakers.
I think the focus on combustion engines and hope for breakthroughs has to do with the fact that the entire design and manufacturing infrastructure, systems and practices of a non-alternative energy car is optimized for the combustion engine. Changing all that to a completely different focus is very difficult and painful, perhaps at least as much as changing all that to deal with plastics and composites instead of, or even in addition to, metals.
Rob, the size of the battery pie slice didn't surprise me, based on the intense coverage Chuck has given to the topic, and the articles I've written on EV and hybrid battery materials. They're still too heavy and not efficient enough, although these days at least they don't make the EV weigh two tons.
I must agree about aerodynamics not getting a bigger share of interest. In 1984 I and a partner rode a streamlined motorcycle from San Diego to Daytona Speedway during the motorcycle GP with a sealed 12 gallon tank and filled up with 11.38 gallons at the 76 station in the pits at Daytona speedway. We averaged 215 mpg for the trip. No batteries, nothing really radical with the motor, just good aerodynamics and careful driving at 55-60 mph the entire trip.
I wish that more work would be done on just getting the shapes better for more efficient running at highway speeds. The EV1 electric car would have great mileage without the battery weight and just a good efficient IC motor, the drag numbers on that car were very good and most of the hybrids would do very well with the drivetrain replaced with today's efficient IC motors.
Glad to see some interest scared up by the mandate, altho I do not enjoy mandated performance.
TJ and Ann, it is interesting that aerodynamics is not more prominently selected. The big problem we have is the rise of the SUV. Some of you may remember the oil shocks of the 1970s. After that, a prominent feature of automobile advertising was the coefficient of drag. With the rise of the SUV, starting with the Ford Explorer, that went by the wayside. We now have crossovers. These are SUVs on a car chasis. They still have basically the same aerodynamics, which is bad. Better aerodynamics, along with weight savings, would go a long way toward meeting the standards. And those do not required major scientific breakthroughs as with batteries.
Ann, I agree the EcoBoost engine is a breakthrough that would help move the indsutry to meet CAFE standards. I was a little surprised to see the battery research taking such a large portion of the pie chart. No matter how efficient the EV and hybrids get, they won't help car makers reach CAFE standards if sales remain such a small portion of overall vehicles sold.
A new compression molding compound material combines the light weight, strength, and rigidity of carbon fibers with the flexibility and lower cost of glass materials in a composite compatible with automotive production.
Plastic bearings are real and millions of them are in use doing heavy-duty jobs we used to think only metals could do. Some of Germany-based igus's bearings are traveling around the world as functional parts in a car to demonstrate what they can do.
Baxter showed off his 2.0-derived moves at ATX West this year. The big red guy still looks pretty much the same, but has some new abilities, mostly due to software. The research robot version is now being used in corporate R&D departments as a design platform.
End-production using 3D printing, including objects made of multiple materials in one pass, is getting closer to reality as we saw on the exhibit floor at the recent Pacific Design & Manufacturing Show.