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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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RICKZ28
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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.

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.

Ann R. Thryft
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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.

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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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.

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

naperlou
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Re: Tires didn't make the list
naperlou   9/20/2012 9:17:49 AM
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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.

TJ McDermott
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Re: Tires didn't make the list
TJ McDermott   9/19/2012 6:14:58 PM
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Thank you Ann. I understood it to be in the "other" category.  My surprise was that tires didn't earn a larger portion.

Cadman-LT
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Re: How real are combustion engine breakthroughs?
Cadman-LT   9/19/2012 5:24:27 PM
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I don't find it that hard to believe. Combustion engines will continue to be the biggest seller so it makes sense that that is where they are putting forth much of the effort.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: How real are combustion engine breakthroughs?
Rob Spiegel   9/19/2012 3:10:40 PM
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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. 

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