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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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Ann R. Thryft
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Re: News to me
Ann R. Thryft   2/12/2013 4:31:08 PM
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Rigby5, I've asked the company to address some of the issues raised in the comments here. Meanwhile, regarding holes, it's my understanding that these were in fact reduced in this wheel in part by the plastic fill and in part by the redesign. Also, this is a cutaway diagram, so much of the apparent " holes" on the right are not actually there in the finished wheel.

Elizabeth M
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Re: News to me
Elizabeth M   2/12/2013 2:23:58 PM
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Ah, I see...well as always you are on the cutting edge of coverage, Ann. I should have known! :) In all seriousness, I do like the way designers are thinking outside of the box (or in this case, the power train) to come up with new ways to be more fuel efficient and economical.

Rigby5
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Re: News to me
Rigby5   2/12/2013 11:16:48 AM
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While I can see that wheels can be made lighter and save gas, this does not seem like such a serious attempt.  To reduce drag as much as possible, the wheel should really have no holes or ridges at all.  In fact instead of a Moon, the wheel should be dished in order to smoothen linear air flow.  Brake cooling should be air from below the car being ducted behind the wheel.  In fact, the whole bottom of the car should be smooth, totally unlike what they do now. 

So I can't really take this article that seriously, because obviously car makers and buyers really don't care.  Otherwise they would have addressed these more glaring issues.  Instead, the main factor for wheels must be cosmetic, with wheels having larger and larger openings these days, when they really should have no openings at all.  The trouble is the customers are ignorant and the makers don't want to educate them. 

And what I would really like to see is a comparison with all plastic wheels, such as fiberglass or graphite composite.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Huge improvement
Ann R. Thryft   2/12/2013 11:01:06 AM
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As Lacks said in the story, it's not just lighter weight, but also better aerodynamics that result in the 1.1 MPG improvement, as shown by the third-party tests.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: News to me
Ann R. Thryft   2/12/2013 10:56:05 AM
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Elizabeth, the company said that working on wheels to improve MPG is a relatively new effort in the industry.



ChrisP
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Re: Cost Benefit
ChrisP   2/11/2013 9:40:12 PM
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I don't believe you know enough about wheel aerodynamics to make that statement.  I don't believe that Ford couldn't make that same wheel out of aluminum.  There are certainly wheels that are even more aerodynamic. Despite their claims car companies are not really interested in aerodynamics otherwise they would make them aerodynamic.  Cars today are still far worse drag wise than the cars like the Jaray in the 1930's.  Car companies are intrested in making profits these days not selling transportation. 





William K.
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Metal and plastic wheel
William K.   2/11/2013 9:12:33 PM
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This new wheel design looks like it keeps the same flaw that most aluminum wheels carry, which is that they corrode and develop rim leaks. That may not be a problem in south cal, but here in Michigan there are tons of salt dumped at the first hint of snow, and it is far worse then the navy salt-spray test could dream of being. So  wheel with a good plastic in the seal area would be an improvement indeed. I really find it hard to believe that the streamlining gives a 1.1MPG improvement, or even a 1.1% improvement, unless it is being compared to the most non-aerodynamic design made. 

One other question is about how the plastic portion holds up with the fairly common problem of disk brakes binding and getting really hot. That happens a bit with some Chrysler product vehicles, I have found. They knew about that problem in 1976, they have not solved it by 2005. Reduced it some, but not solved.

William K.
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Metal and plastic wheel
William K.   2/11/2013 9:12:09 PM
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This new wheel design looks like it keeps the same flaw that most aluminum wheels carry, which is that they corrode and develop rim leaks. That may not be a problem in south cal, but here in Michigan there are tons of salt dumped at the first hint of snow, and it is far worse then the navy salt-spray test could dream of being. So  wheel with a good plastic in the seal area would be an improvement indeed. I really find it hard to believe that the streamlining gives a 1.1MPG improvement, or even a 1.1% improvement, unless it is being compared to the most non-aerodynamic design made. 

One other question is about how the plastic portion holds up with the fairly common problem of disk brakes binding and getting really hot. That happens a bit with some Chrysler product vehicles, I have found. They knew about that problem in 1976, they have not solved it by 2005. Reduced it some, but not solved.

William K.
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Re: Way too much waste
William K.   2/11/2013 9:01:53 PM
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Not only is remote start a silly accessory, it is a source that delivers 100% on pollution, since the car warming up driverless for half an hour, or even just 15 minutes is just burning fuel delivering no travel value at all. All the warmup time the engine really needs is the time that it takes me to fasten my seatbelt after starting the engine.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Cost Benefit
Ann R. Thryft   2/11/2013 8:14:04 PM
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The whole point is the 1.1 MPG saved. There are no other wheels that can do that, so a monetary cost savings comparing this wheel to others that can't save 1.1 MPG wouldn't be very useful.

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