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Engineering Materials
Survey: Battery, Engine, Materials Are Top CAFE Techs
9/19/2012

A DuPont-sponsored survey has found that automakers are focused almost equally on improving battery performance, breakthroughs in combustion engine performance, and lighter materials.   (Source: DuPont)
A DuPont-sponsored survey has found that automakers are focused almost equally on improving battery performance, breakthroughs in combustion engine performance, and lighter materials.
(Source: DuPont)

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Matt G.
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Re: Tires didn't make the list
Matt G.   9/20/2012 12:02:45 PM
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Naperlou,

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. 

Link: http://www.motohistory.net/news2011/news-nov11.html

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.

 

Matt Guzzetta

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: How real are combustion engine breakthroughs?
Ann R. Thryft   9/20/2012 12:05:33 PM
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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.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: How real are combustion engine breakthroughs?
Ann R. Thryft   9/20/2012 12:06:42 PM
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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.

Ann R. Thryft
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Blogger
Re: Tires didn't make the list
Ann R. Thryft   9/20/2012 12:07:12 PM
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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.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: How real are combustion engine breakthroughs?
Rob Spiegel   9/20/2012 2:21:40 PM
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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.

RICKZ28
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Platinum
Re: Tires didn't make the list
RICKZ28   9/20/2012 3:03:33 PM
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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.

Thinking_J
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Platinum
Meaning of graph?
Thinking_J   9/20/2012 6:57:34 PM
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The graph represented what the 700 subscribers to WardsAuto "thought" as they were polled...  not much more meaning than an "exit poll" at an election. It did not indicate where the automotive decision makers were actually spending their research dollars. It did not indicate relative value of improvement vs money spent in any scientific way.. it was the "gut" feeling by subscribers to a "automovtive information center" on the subject.

So .. at best we have some indication from a few in interested in the industry where they believe improvements are to be made.

Sorry Ann, I want a bit more "meat" to the subject before making any meaningful observations.

j-allen
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Gold
Light strong materials not new.
j-allen   9/20/2012 9:10:37 PM
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Some time ago I helped restore some automobiles fron the 1920s.  I was surprised at the range of materials the manufacturers used to provide light strong structures.  These included not just steel, but hard and soft woods, aluminum, fabrics, and such plastics as existed then.  During the decades that followed, the US manufacturers slid a long way backwards in the materials department.   It's good to see that they are again gaining ground. 

Mydesign
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Re: How real are combustion engine breakthroughs?
Mydesign   9/21/2012 12:50:02 AM
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1 saves
Rob, in case of EVs the main two major areas which are lagging is Battery power and engine power: which are related to each other. So any further improvement has to happen in these two areas, otherwise it cannot improve efficiency. Putting up more charging stations is not an issue, but better yield from battery is an important factor.

CaroleD
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Iron
RE - Meaning of graph?
CaroleD   9/21/2012 9:03:04 AM
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Want to share some info Ann didn't have room to include.  Respondents were asked to report on the types of programs they are working on – not what they believe.  As most folks probably know, the industry is currently working on programs designed to meet milestones along the way to 2025 regulations.

Also, the makeup of the survey represents several points of view:  half report they are in the system/component  segment of the value chain; 31% are in the OEM role; and 17% say they work in engine/engine services.  Half are in the engineering role, with the rest spread between quality; corporate management; production engineering; and research & development.

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