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PPihkala
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Iron
Alternative to gasoline
PPihkala   7/29/2011 12:35:49 PM
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I think that lot of these issues raised here will be non-issues when there is a good alternative to gasoline. Then noboby will want to use polluting gasoline engines anymore. That alternative is not here yet, but I bet the situation is totally different after half a year.

 So what will happen in the next half a year? There will be validation for the Rossi E-Cat that will wipe out all current polluting engines. When your engine will need fresh supply of energy only every half a year, consisting of less than pound of nickel plus some catalyst, there will be no needs for trade offs in automobile materials. You just manufacture the car with large enough powerplant to handle the average demand and some batteries to cover up the surge needs. Yes, this implies series hybrid layout with E-Cat + generator + battery + electric motor. The breaktrough here is that you can keep the E-Cat on always, if desired, and charge the battery. If you need to turn E-Cat off, because battery is full, battery energy is used to restart E-Cat when one resumes driving or when battery status is low enough to warrant recharge. And with fuel expenses in 100-1000 USD range twice a year, with no pollution, the big losers will be the big energy industry, including oil giants and your electricity supplier too, because of course you will use a separate E-Cat for powering and warming your house too.

vandamme
User Rank
Silver
Re: Alternative to gasoline
vandamme   8/1/2011 1:35:16 PM
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I think it significant that the Rossi E-Cat came out of the University of Baloney.

Rob Spiegel
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Blogger
The power of goals
Rob Spiegel   7/29/2011 12:43:50 PM
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Alex, you listed a number of paths to better MPG. Each may be a chip at the challenge. The path to 54.5 may be in the goal itself. The moonshot had fewer years than this goal. There's power in goals. Without a goal, we experence the drift was saw in MPG from the late 80s to the early 2000s. There's nothing like a goal -- fueled by good old-fashioned competition -- to get where you need to go.

Beth Stackpole
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Blogger
Re: The power of goals
Beth Stackpole   7/29/2011 3:58:52 PM
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I know you didn't want to focus on the proposal, Alex, but to me, it begs the question: Does the 1.7 MPG reduction really change things that much in terms of automakers' ability to meet the stated goals in the stated timeframe?

Ivan Kirkpatrick
User Rank
Platinum
Effectivity Factor weighting
Ivan Kirkpatrick   7/29/2011 1:18:02 PM
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Materials: This will be the biggest factor.  Lighter weight materials will cost more and have the best effect on fuel economy.  So lets weight this factor at 25% of the total improvement. 

Form Factor: I am not sure how this is factored in.  The car maker fleet is the total vehicles sold and is a mix of models.  People kept buying SUV's because they liked them.  So the automakers fleet was weighted more toward lower mpg vehicles.  Presumably the automakers will be required to adjust prices downward on higher mileage vehicles to improve sales.  As to the point on form factor, I would like to buy an inexpensive but nice high mileage commuter type vehicle.  I can keep another vehicle for other purposes. I will weight this factor at 15%. 

Powertrains: Advanced automatics will help.  Perhaps a CVT to enable optimum engine operations and load.  An engine driven Permanent Magnet Generator (PMG) and batter pack might be a serious contender.  The engine can operate at optimum fuel efficiency while the pmg is managed to control the load.  In the case of most diesels and gas turbines there is an optimum speed and the load on the engine determines the fuel consumption.  This is already in trials in the case of some turbine driven pmg equipped buses.  In fact they used 2 30 KW gensets.  I would weight this factor at 25%.

Tires: I am not sure how much the rolling resistance of the tires affects gas mileage but I have heard of new solid rubber tires with flexible spokes in the wheel that probably improve this factor by maybe 50% or so.  In any case I am not sure if Nitrogen really helps.  I weight this factor pretty low at 10%.

Fuel: If the standard is based entirely on a "gallon" then energy density of the fuel is the factor to consider.  I recall a special fuel used for cruise missiles which was a special formulation for very high energy content.  I don't see anything but diesel, gasoline and natural gas (methane) being used commercially.  Ethanol variants are less dense energy wise.  It might be that some kind of higher energy density gasoline, maybe named HM premium (high mileage) premium with a better octane rating emerges.  I weight this factor at 10%.

IVHS: This is a good factor to consider and and might help make driving more efficient by eliminating or reducing driver input.  I strongly believe that electric cars will be 50% of the cars on the road in a decade.  They will also be controlled by computers to reduce inefficient driver inputs.  The road will help but making the roads intelligent enough will cost a lot.  This factor I give 15%.

Per the post regarding the E-Cat, I will believe it when there is a repeatable design produced and verification of the process.  A demonstration even though monitored by witnesses is insufficient.  The device needs to be disassembled and analyzed by engineers.  If it is indeed cold fusion then lots of problems will be solved.  I find cold fusion a difficult technology to base the future on.


Jack Rupert, PE
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Effectivity Factor weighting
Jack Rupert, PE   7/29/2011 3:16:25 PM
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I was wondering the same thing about the tires, Ivan.  It seems to me that a solid composite would maximize the mpg, rather than a nitrogen fill.  Of course that would probably wreck the smoothness of your ride, so we would end up have to add "suspension" to Alex's list.

Ivan Kirkpatrick
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Effectivity Factor weighting
Ivan Kirkpatrick   7/29/2011 4:36:55 PM
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Jack,

A little more research via google turns up some good information on reducing rolling resistance, http://books.google.com/books?id=hGHr2L6HtKwC&pg=PA79&dq=Popular++Advanced+automotive+composite+wheels+and+tires&hl=en&ei=BhgzTubvEIG5twfB3vGBDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CDgQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

The prospects here are pretty good and the authors note that this might achieve a 3 to 5 percent improvement in gas mileage.  

It turns out brake drag and bearings can be improved to further reduce the rolling resistance.

I could not find the reference I had seen before on the special tire and wheel.  I think it was Popular Science or Popular Mechanics that had a cover story on future autos.

I agree with Beth though on the 1.7 mpg negotiations..... I wonder if there was some threshold involved and soem engineering or were they just bargaining for lower values?

SoCalPE
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Gold
Form as you will
SoCalPE   7/29/2011 5:16:21 PM
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I think getting the weight down will continue as the industry pursues more cost effective carbon fiber assemblies and aluminum/composite engine component technologies.  I don't want to be in a Smart Car when the person driving their large SUV while talking on the phone doesn't apply their brakes in time for the traffic light that I'm stopped at. 

I can see the morphing-shape car coming into vogue for the efficient high speed highway cruising.  I'm a big fan of the BMW concept car with the morphing skin.  You can see here if you haven't seen it- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKRSzzSWF6U   Maybe the flexible material can stiffen up for impact preparedness when a current is run through it (ala Batman's foldable wing technology!).

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Form as you will
Rob Spiegel   7/29/2011 5:33:39 PM
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Nice YouTube post, SoCalPE. I wonder how that skin holds up after 10 or 15 years? The point you made about impact is also germane.

jmiller
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Re: the Power of goals
jmiller   7/30/2011 12:12:45 AM
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This whole 50 some mpg brings to light on of the most frustrating parts of the whole gas mileage target bills and such.  What does it really mean to a consumer.  Is the consumer really going to see a 54 mpg car.  Or is that only going down hill with the wind behind his back on the highway?  And according to what I heard on the news is the manufacturers who are targeting these mileages won't really be getting to these targets because they get incentives for making other changes to this or that and so the real target they will achieve will be much less...more like 45 or so.

I think one of the biggest things we can do to help encourage developement is to gain some credibility by stating clearly how the gas mileage is calculated.  As a consumer I really don't believe the mpg on the windshield of any car.  So how can I get excited when a program like this comes out.  As an engineer there is nothing more frustrating than not have a clear, simple specification that I can meet. 

And has been discussed in other posts, how do you calculate true gas mileage if it takes X number of KWhrs in order to get the 54 mpg?

prasadb1
User Rank
Iron
Re: Re: the Power of goals
prasadb1   7/31/2011 12:04:11 AM
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Gas mileage depends on many factors. Many of them are variables (or unknown) like passenger weights, pull loads, fuel mixture contents, environmental factors like temperatures, wind velocity, driving habits, etc. and of course mechaniical efficiency of the power train itself.  I believe, it is OK to determine a range under certain conditions rather than a precise number of KWhrs to get to the 54.5 mpg?

ChrisP
User Rank
Silver
Re: Re: the Power of goals
ChrisP   8/2/2011 12:29:58 AM
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Considering my 10 year old non-diesel car gets 37 to the gallon at 80mph I don't understand the negativity.  My daughter's diesel Jetta gets closer to 50 already. 

With the current record for a gas powered vehicles standing at over 10,000 mpg in the Shell mileage competition you'd have thought engineers in the land of American "Exceptionalism" could get better mileage than the rest of the planet. 

I just wonder why people complain about the cost of gas and yet they are driving around with only one person in an F150 pickup.  Even if they buy a high performance car like a Mustang - they cannot drive it any faster down the road than anybody else.  The speed limit is a barrier for all but a Smart car. 

 

TJ McDermott
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Blogger
Friction Brakes
TJ McDermott   7/31/2011 9:00:52 PM
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All the efffort we put into getting moving gets wasted as heat when we need to stop.  Is regeneration so difficult for cars?  Flywheels or recharging storage batteries doesn't seem to go anywhere though the ideas have been around for decades.

wb8nbs
User Rank
Silver
Re: Friction Brakes
wb8nbs   8/1/2011 9:33:56 AM
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True. This would be a huge benefit to garbage trucks in particular that spend about half their time stopping.

Toaster
User Rank
Silver
Re: Friction Brakes
Toaster   8/1/2011 10:09:33 AM
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The major problem with regenerative braking is "smoothness" Toyota in particular and other companies have been looking at this. When the driver steps on the brake, regenerative braking kicks in, adding a particular level of drag to the wheel, which is supplemented by the standard brake pads to achieve slow down. (test drivers have reported a sensation of "loss of control" A sophisticated computer program is required to dicipher the amount of braking the driver wants by the pressure on the brake pedal, and also calculate the amound of drag produced by the regenerative breaking system. The result is a pedal "feel" that is "odd". Also the pressure on the caliper will need to be controlled by the computer. Calculations will need to be made to adjust the caliper pressure to 1. make the car slow at the rate the driver wants. 2. calculate the drag imposed on the wheel by the regenerative breaking system. and 3. do all this while looking at vehicle speed, and traction. I think the hardest part will be giving up the braking to a computer.

TJ McDermott
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Friction Brakes
TJ McDermott   8/1/2011 10:19:03 AM
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Modern jetliners are fly by wire.  The famous airbus crash at the 1988 Paris Air Show can be laid firmly at the feet of the computer controls.  We still fly in these aircraft.

Most cars today have power steering.  Some have "power assisted" steering, while others are fully powered.  Those that are not power-assisted have a disconnected feel (no feedback).  Such cars are still popluar.

I do not think giving up control to a computer will be an issue.  In many cases, we already have.

RadioGuy
User Rank
Gold
Re: Friction Brakes
RadioGuy   12/8/2011 12:22:22 PM
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I have been driving a Prius for the last 7 months. After driving manual transmissions for 35 years, except for rental cars on business trips, the Prius from day one felt to me like any other automatic transmission. I have been very impressed by this, knowing that this feel is entirely synthesized by the computer.

Throughout the summer, I was getting between 45 and 47 mpg as reported by the "hybrid system indicator" display (which is probably a tad optimistic, maybe by 1.5 to 2 mpg). Now that I need the heater on, I am down to 42 mpg. Because the engine is so efficient, the water cooling of the engine does not provide enough heat for the cabin, so I have to activate the A/C to get the cabin up to 70 F on a 45 F morning.

I love my Prius. Hats off to Toyota engineering.

tagert
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Iron
It's not just an engineering question.
tagert   8/1/2011 12:53:56 AM
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54.5mpg CAFE will not likely be engineered technically. In my estimation it will be politically achieved or simply ignored.

Political achievement of the goal will occur the same way compliance with the 55mph NMSL was achieved. Through creative calculations that took non-complaint data and showed it complied. Expect all sorts of special countings and credits. Perhaps something that shows plugin hybrids getting hundreds of miles per gallon. Could be anything really just so long as the corporate averages come out right so government can claim achievement.

Simply ignored: Inflation will make CAFE penalties pocket change. They will be passed on to new car buyers as makes such as BMW already do.

Any automaker who actually achieves it despite the contrary federal requirements will end up with a product line that does not sell because they will fail to meet market requirements. If all automakers start sacrificing the comfort and performance people have become accustomed to expect a wierd aftermarket to develop and then more laws to stop people from modifying vehicles or rebuilding old ones.

The last option is that cars become unbelievably expensive. The masses are no longer able to afford new cars. Used car prices skyrocket. Automakers start ignoring CAFE because they can sell cars cheaper with the penalties or go out of business.

mtrantham
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Iron
What's a Gallon?
mtrantham   8/1/2011 9:14:42 AM
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One of the important things, as alluded to regarding electrics, is how to measure the MPG of other energy sources.  I think it would be good, for instance, to choose the equivalent green house gas impact of a fuel, which would be favorable to natural gas.  Yes, this would help make T.Boone richer, but it would also help us stop importing so much.

Snootyclause
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Iron
Disagree
Snootyclause   8/1/2011 9:18:20 AM
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Admittedly I didn't read the entire article, but would like to mentione I had a 1990 Geo Metro that commonly acheived 52/mpg.  This was a comfortable (I am 6'6") and reliable car, although it is understood that comfort and reliability are arbitrary terms.

honorandlife
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Iron
Re: Disagree
honorandlife   8/1/2011 9:30:38 AM
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And a $12.5K Smart fourtwo is rated at 41 MPG but I've spoken with several owners that regularly get 50+ MPG simply by driving conservatively.

Improved MPG is as much a lifestyle change as it is a technology change; plan ahead to make fewer trips. Build in more time for traveling to reduce the pressure to get there so fast, etc.

I bike.

dspmike
User Rank
Iron
mpg in Europe,and only sold there!!!
dspmike   8/1/2011 9:24:03 AM
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You should check out the ford minivans in Europe!

They get 59 MPG , there are a lot of cars made my american car companies that get great gas milage and are only sold in Europe , Why is this!!???

Battar
User Rank
Platinum
Re: mpg in Europe,and only sold there!!!
Battar   8/1/2011 9:27:35 AM
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Diesel. Thats why. Compression ignition engines are the shortest route to increasing fuel economy.

Regulus
User Rank
Iron
Re: mpg in Europe,and only sold there!!!
Regulus   8/1/2011 9:38:03 AM
I believe there are plenty of 50 MPG plus cars being built already. They are in accross the sea in Europe right now. When I was in Germany tow years ago, one of the things I noticed first was that most vehicles were diesel powered.

In Europe diesel is priced consistantly lower than gasoline . Or course it still cost 4.50 Euros a gallon. I rented a car you cannot buy in America. An Audi A4 station wagon TDI. This vehicle impressed me. It had lots of power as it was able to cruise down the Autobahns at 120 miles per hour. (The Mercury Grand Marqui taxis cabs which were also diesels passed me like I was standing still)

While I was attaining this speed, this vehicle maintained 61 MPG. I am sure if you drove this vehicle at our meteroic highway  speeds the MPG would be much greater. I drove this vehicle from Frankfort to southern Germany spend a week and when I returned the car to the Frankfort airport it still had more than half a tank.

No. There are no engineering problems making cars that get excellent gas mileage. Its just having to deal with the politics of being able to buy them here.

dspmike
User Rank
Iron
Re: mpg in Europe,and only sold there!!!
dspmike   8/1/2011 9:45:20 AM
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Agreed!!!!

jemeils
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Iron
Re: mpg in Europe,and only sold there!!!
jemeils   8/1/2011 10:27:57 AM
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I agree.  I traveled to England last year and their cars consistantly get 50 plus MPG, gas or Diesel.  The problem here stems from the legalities of tampering with the EPA mandated pollution control system.  This goal can be attained simply by loosening the EPA requirements above, say, 40 MPG.  The greater efficiency will still reduce overall emissions.

When the Smart Car entered the US, the MPG went from 60+ MPG in Italy to 38 MPG average, and in my humble opinion, it was because of the EPA mandated Ford OBDII polution control system.

powersport
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Iron
Re: mpg in Europe,and only sold there!!!
powersport   8/1/2011 10:00:40 AM
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Gasoline or diesel, European cars get better mileage primarily because Europe uses the larger Imperial gallon, not the US gallon. Figure 1 Imperial gallon = 1.2 US gallons (approx.).

Of course there may be small differences in emissions equipment and fuel mapping, but these have a relatively small effect on overall mileage.

oldpumpguy
User Rank
Iron
Re: mpg in Europe,and only sold there!!!
oldpumpguy   8/1/2011 10:40:54 AM
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Okay, first of all, most of the World sells gasolene in liters, not gallons or Imperial gallons. The MPG figures from most European test cycles are converted to MPG from Liters per kM.

The Europeans get better fuel milage for many reasons, mostly, as suggested, lighter average weight of vehicles, different emission controls and the cost of fuel mandated driving styles. Also, of note, is the greater % of diesel vehicles using fuel that closer reflects the lower cost of manufacture when compared to no-lead regular.

The reason for the US higher diesel fuel costs is because mostly high milage commercial vehicles use diesel and the fuel tax is skewed to tax these vehicles fuel to pay for road systems, since these vehicles cause more wear to the roads and this is the way to make them pay their fair share. Is it fair to tax diesel vehicles into the relatively small proportion they hold? Probably not, but if you drive diesel cars (I had 3 VW diesels in the past) you know that even at the higher fuel cost, you are saving over the identical vehicle with a gas engine.

Are hybreds and plug-ins an answer? The higher cost and weight of battery packs make them less desireable. The limited range of pure plug-ins make another family vehicle necessary if long distance travel is in your plans. Also, even an average commute of 35 miles each way becomes questionable During winter with the dark requiring lights and heat or the summer requiring A/C. 

Regulus
User Rank
Iron
Re: mpg in Europe,and only sold there!!!
Regulus   8/1/2011 12:52:43 PM
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To keep my post small I did not state that I did the conversions to US gallons. I did do this. The vehicle got 61 miles to the US gallon. 

Justajo
User Rank
Gold
Re: mpg in Europe,and only sold there!!!
Justajo   8/1/2011 2:37:49 PM
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I believe you. Cars do get better mileage in Europe because the so-called emission control mandated equipment standards are different and in most cases not as rigid and outmoded as here in the U.S.

Also, it was asked if an all-electric will be included in the 55 mpg CAFE standard. Yes it will, I am sure. That's why the "fuel" usage in an electric has been calculated to arrive at a gasoline "equivalent" figure, so it can be included in the averaging. And that's why we'll likely soon be seeing a spate of all-electric models from these makers. They may buy them from companies already making them and putting on their own badge, but they'll do so in order to make as few changes as possible in their existing models.

solarsculptor
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Silver
Re: mpg in Europe,and only sold there!!!
solarsculptor   8/1/2011 3:32:17 PM
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The car companies have spent billions developing elaborate systems to keep over weight high center of gravity chunky slobering SUV's from tipping over when the brakes are applied. The energy efficiency of these vehicles is only about 12%, same as 1950. It's all about what they can sell in the show room. Cars are transportation appliances, but they are sold to the consumer as a way to express their personalities, and the dopes fall into line. It's kind of pathetic that so many individuals self esteem is based on the approval of a car salesman!

For years the car companies built trucks which were exempt from many of the car regulations such as bumper heights and emissions and the public paid a premium for them even though they had substandard low efficiency powertrains. The stupid exec's never cared about energy waste or the effect on our country (we in three wars right now connected to oil) or anybody except their own golden parachutes. They bankrupted as soon as the price of oil went up.

The government never should have released GM until it changed it's market focus. Kick all of the rest of the engineers educated at GM University out like they did with Rick Wagner, and bring in real engineers who do not know the "GM" way of doing things. Maybe some guy's from Apple or some other company that can inovate!

Gusman
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Iron
Re: mpg in Europe,and only sold there!!!
Gusman   1/24/2012 9:41:08 AM
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Oh really?  Last time I was there (June) fuel was sold by the liter.  In any case, my own calculations yielded 50+ MP(American) gallon every time with the various diesel cars I rented.

Gusman
User Rank
Iron
Re: mpg in Europe,and only sold there!!!
Gusman   3/15/2012 9:34:12 AM
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Un, not.  Fuel in Europe is sold by the liter.  I travel there regularly, know how to do the math, and can assure you that the actual MP(American) gallon is amazingly high, using current common-rail diesel engined cars.

rvguest
User Rank
Iron
High mpg from low performance.
rvguest   8/1/2011 9:28:23 AM
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How to get 50+ mpg?  It seems obvious, and has been discussed ad nauseum.  I get 80+ mpg, but the cost is do no better than 55 mph and having a carrying capacity of 50 lb more than I weigh.  On two wheels.  (Reasons: Light weight, lower rolling resistance, small frontal area [Smart car:  are you listening?], low speed, run most of the time in the effective power band, etc.  Possible improvements:  even smaller area, skin enclosure for better drag coefficient.)

mr88cet
User Rank
Silver
Heck, 55 is for Speed Limits!
mr88cet   8/1/2011 9:31:15 AM
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55?!  We're essentially there already.  My second-generation Prius already gets about 46-52MPG (and I mean real and sustained, not just under artificial or lucky circumstances), and the third-generation Prius tops that by about 5MPG.

I yawn at you, 55MPG;  100 is the next real target.

EdK
User Rank
Iron
Re: Heck, 55 is for Speed Limits!
EdK   8/1/2011 9:37:30 AM
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My third geneation prius (2010) is barely broken in at 2800 miles and the last two tankfuls have been at 54.5 and 56.9 mpg respectively. Pretty much says we are already there. I don't expect to be able to get that performance in winter driving when the gasoline blend is changed, but then fuel economy measuring is assumed to be in ideal conditions, no?

mr88cet
User Rank
Silver
Re: Heck, 55 is for Speed Limits!
mr88cet   8/1/2011 10:46:46 AM
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On my 2009 Prius, mileage depends most upon ambient temperatures (i.e., the weather), and highway speed. 

65MPH on the freeways within town has little detrimental effect, but 70MPH for hours does take a toll on it.  It goes down to about 42MPG or so.  That's only for a short time though, so it doesn't drag down the average much.  In those cases, the clever energy management of the hybrid system can't do much good.  It comes down to nothing more than converting gasoline into forward motion as losslessly as possible, which mostly means minimizing aerodynamic drag.  The 2010 Prius' drag coefficient is 0.25, which, among production cars, I think is second only to the EV1's, which I vaguely recall to have been 0.22.

Seasonally, I get best mileage in Spring and Autumn, since I can often get away with minimal AC and no heat.  Plus it isn't running the engine much just to keep it warm, as it does in the Winter.  Right now, when it's still 95-100 degrees at 9PM (really;  zero exaggeration), the AC brings it down to 46MPG.

Of course, an even bigger factor is keeping up with tire pressure.  Over the first 10 months or so after I bought my Prius, I watched the mileage gradually go down.  I was mystified as to why, until I got a low-tire-pressure warning.  "Oh, like, DUUUH!!"  I can't believe I totally forgot about that!  Needless to say, I've been hawkeyeing tire pressure since then.

wb8nbs
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Silver
You're missing a point
wb8nbs   8/1/2011 9:31:32 AM
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The quickest and best way to increase CAFE is to raise the price of gasoline through a tax/gallon increase of about a dollar per gallon.  Also personal vehicles over, say, 4500 pounds should pay an extra couple of hundred dollars at registration time. 

I do not understand why the conservationists and regulators bypass this obvious fact.

 

J_Pat_H
User Rank
Bronze
Re: You're missing a point
J_Pat_H   1/3/2012 5:05:55 PM
wb8nbs,

actually, YOU are the one missing the point. Many drivers who buy gas hogs already pay much more for the pleasure of their ego trip - driving the monster vehicle or sports car. While they would complain about paying more at registration, that tax is a small percentage of the price of their pleasure.

On the other hand, many independent "blue collar" people who drive trucks for their livelihood would be penalized by a "tax-them-into-submission" approach.

tutor
User Rank
Bronze
We already have?
tutor   8/1/2011 10:16:48 AM
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I drive both of my Honda Insights, model years 2000 & 2001 daily (with a rare exception when we get accumulations of snow greater than 6 inches in Michgan).

The 2000 has 145K miles on it, with a lifetime avg of 68.1 MPG.

This vehicle has had NO regular maintenance other than oil and filter regularly, and still is running with the ORIGINAL battery pack.

The 2001 has 64K miles on it, with a lifetime avg of 66.5 MPG.

This vehicle was rated by the EPA above 60+ miles to the gallon (both highway and city).

So, we've been designing these vehicles for 15+ years now and driving them for almost 12 years.

So what's the problem? If your automotive engineers can't figure this out, have them just buy one and tear it apart, then identify what patents need to be licensed.

Regards

Rob

Ann Arbor, MI

KOSteinke
User Rank
Silver
High Mileage
KOSteinke   8/1/2011 10:17:07 AM
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My friend had a three cylinger Dodge gizmo that he claimed got 55 to 60 mpg on the highway.  The Diesel Rabbit was reported to regularly get 60 mpg on the highway.  Winning vehicles in the Shell Eco Challenge regularly get thousands of miles per gallon (http://www.shell.com/home/content/ecomarathon/results/).  Volkswvagon made a tandem diesel demonstrator vehicle around 2000 that got more than 250 miles per gallon.  This has morphed into the current demonstrator (http://www.thedetroitbureau.com/2011/01/vw-tops-250-mpg-with-xl1-concept/) which still gets 250 mpg.  A modified 1959 Opel won the Eco Challeng with more than 350 mpg.  There were times on the freway in my old stock Chevy diesel Suburban that I exceeded 29 mpg at 55mph. I regularly got 25 to 27 mpg on the highway. 

The engines in our vehicles are most efficient at a particular rpm and horsepower output.  Having your 300 hp engine running at 10 to 20 hp most of the time is inherently inefficient (particularly running a Carnot cycle).  Having a small accumulator (electric, hydraulic, or pneumatic) to run off of for 15 to 20 minutes at a stretch and to allow for regenerative braking could be recharged by running the engine only at it's most efficient output to drastically improve efficiency.  The engine would cut in only to recharge the accumulator or when high output (climbing a long hill) is needed.  Diesel, turbocharging, and water injection are all proven technologies for improved fuel economy. 

We should all be getting 100 mpg or better. 

 

Nick Rouse
User Rank
Iron
European milage
Nick Rouse   8/1/2011 10:17:22 AM
The Smart for two was mentioned above, but the figures were for the gasoline version available in the USA. The diesel vesion available in Europe gets 71.3m/US gal combined cycle. If you insist on four seats the Volkswagon Bluemotion Polo does 67.2 m/US gal combined cycle and that is gasolene.

Note these are converted to US gallons, The difference in milage is real

You don't need engineering, you need the political will to raise fuel prices to European levels ($8.39 /US gal here in the UK) and the already existing solutions to the problem will be imported into the US.

engineered
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LoL....
engineered   8/1/2011 10:31:50 AM
The ability to meet the requirement of 55 mpg is not a hard goal to achieve, engineers did it in the 50's and 60's with carburetors. One of these carburetors is actually under glass at General Motors in Flint Michigan. Big V-8's were capable of 75+ mpg using this setup, so a small engine should easily be able to achieve mileage in excess of 100 mpg. It uses a rather simple method of pre-heating fuel in order to use it in a gaseous state, rather than a liquid state. The ideal air:fuel ratio changes from 14.7:1 to a much lower 6-7:1, which is where a big part of the efficiency comes from. Another important factor is the increased longivity of internal comonents due to better lubrication, or lack of cylinder wash caused by gasoline in a liquid state. This is why propane powered engines last so long, they are made with the same internal components, they just benefit from the gaseous state of the fuel. 

We pay the amount for gas that we are FORCED to pay, which is driven by the partnerships between the government and the oil companies. Collectively, they set the parameters that we live by. The technology to get 100 mpg was bought off and put away to prevent loss of income, as far back as the 1960's. The same goes for battery technology, endless patents locked away until certain parties have exhausted their need for oil.

The use of lighter materials, better tires, etc..., all have a part in achieving these figures, but the core technology hasn't been revisited since it was locked away 60 years ago. With today's technology, computer controlled engines and transmissions, coupled with the ability to use gasoline in it's most efficient form should easily satisfy consumers and CAFE standards. In the end, we will get mediocre fuel mileage, and pay a premium at the pump. Mark my words, if the average vehicle is getting 50 mpg, then the average price of a gallon of gas will be nearly $10 a gallon.... Wait and see. 

PSiegel
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Re: LoL....
PSiegel   8/1/2011 11:03:25 AM
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I hope you are not really serious.  There is no such thing as a "magic" carburator.  If there was, the auto manufacturer's would have introduced it decades ago instead of spending millins to slowly increase fuel mileage.

engineered
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Re: LoL....
engineered   8/1/2011 11:29:29 AM
Yes, sadly I am being 110% honest. Numerous people tried to bring the design into production, but were stopped by threats or bought out. It is very real, and extreme measures have been taken to keep it under the radar. It isn't magic my friend, it is science.

Staber Dearth
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The fable of nitrogen for tire fill for the masses!
Staber Dearth   8/1/2011 10:42:06 AM
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The Author sez: "...Low rolling resistance like we've never seen before, and nitrogen-fill mandatory. What else do we need to do here?..."

*******************************************************

You have been SNOOKERED by the nitrogen tire fill fable perpetuated by all industrial gas companies.  This is DEBATABLY a thin benefit for racing or maybe hard driven fleet vehicles.  For the average driver?  NO!

Just check out what the cost is of a four tire (plus fifth tire bonus!  oooow) fill deal.  It is ridiculous!  It comes out to roughly $30-$40 per 100 scf of nitrogen.  Nitrogen, for even the most modest of cylinder gas use costs under $3-$5 per 100 scf!   Free fill?  OK, maybe piece of mind and the placebo effect!

The benefits are dubious (79% of air is nitrogen and 21% is oxygen, ok a minor amount of argon which will act as inert nitrogen anyway!)

Show me how using 100% nitrogen for tire fill effects mileage as opposed to air? Miniscule at the absolute best best best!

Go here, my comments echoed by this more comprehensive response on this issue: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2694/is-it-better-to-fill-your-tires-with-nitrogen-instead-of-air

 The crack me up argument is that the nitrogen in the tire (absence of oxygen) helps with oxidation.  What about the outside surface of the tire?  DUH!

tinkerg
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Re: The fable of nitrogen for tire fill for the masses!
tinkerg   8/1/2011 1:13:45 PM
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No debate on the fact that it is nearly pointless - if people checked there tires more then twice a year and drove like it mattered it might have a little meaning. But the moisture in the air is the big problem for pressure changes. If you used dry air it would likely be fairly comparable to nitrogen.

It is not a thin benifit for racing - a 1 pound pressure difference on a slick will change the traction a noticable amount, tire temps can get much higher and vary from conditions (bright sun on the track vs overcast). Water vapor pressure at 175 degrees (6.8) to 212 degrees (14.5) is about a doubling of pressure (in psi)Fill your tires when the humidity is low:-)

 

AC Engineer
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Re: The fable of nitrogen for tire fill for the masses!
AC Engineer   8/6/2011 3:12:47 PM
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The motor home people claim that the rubber is formulated these days with UV resistant additives to stop external rotting and that Nitrogen fill reduces the internal deterioration caused by the oxygen. At $3,000 a pop for a set of tires, the cost of nitorgen is small plus they are filled to 110 psi which is easier with nitrogen than most small compressor can supply in adequate quantity. Signed: the other Staber Dearth.

cookie jar
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We've been there - done that.
cookie jar   8/1/2011 10:57:09 AM
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We've had the technology for achieving 54.5mpg for well over half a century.  I once owned a 1955 GM PDP4104, 36 foot long highway coach that I converted into a mobile home.  It came with its logbook for the 685,000 miles it had logged.  The coach had a GVW of 27,000 pounds.  The log book never showed a mileage of less than 10mpg.  That works out to 135mpg/ton!  Yes over 100mph per ton.
I attribute this mainly to 3 things.  1. It had a
diesel engine - a  6-71 Detroit , 426 cu. in., two cycle, supercharged - these were the most popular bus and coach engines of the day.  2.  The engine had less than 200 hp.  For some reason our cars these days are grossly overpowered.  You don't need 200, 300 or 400 hp for a car.  The European vehicles have much less hp and have no trouble bombing down their autobahns and up their mountain roads.  Today's highway coaches don't have any problem keeping up with traffic and they get better mileage/ton than my old 1955 coach. 3. While a highway coach seems as aerodynamic as a brick, it always has a full belly pan from bumper to bumper.  Maximum drag is between your vehicle's turbulent undercarriage and the road.  This is where maximum shear is.  Above the road there's lots of room for the air to get out of the way.  Underneath there isn't.  How many wind tunnels have you seen that have a rolling conveyor belt?  You cannot design a truly aerodynamic car without one. 
I think the main driving force for America's poor mileage is the cash flow desires of the oil industry.  Why else would they build cars that the average American simply cannot fit into, design their back seats for midgets and force us into SUVs and trucks where everyone can fit comfortably?


Justajo
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55 MPG not on every car
Justajo   8/1/2011 11:57:25 AM
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I've read all the posts looking for someone who knows what the regulation will actually say and require. Most people think the average talked about is the city/highway average of an individual car. It is not. It is an across the model line average. This is what the "C" stands for in the acronym CAFE: Corporate -- the makers entire fleet of car models. Yet it does not apply to all the cars that a manufacturer makes and never has. What it will be, as always, is a standard AVERAGE for all the models in a maker's lineup. Some models will even be exempt. Example: When the standard was around 27 mpg a maker could get away with selling a car that got, say, 18 mpg IF that maker had just one other car that got 37 mpg. Thus, the across the model line overall average was just over 27 mpg. If the maker also had an SUV, no prob. SUVs were classified as trucks (for a while at least if they were built on a truck chassis) and as such were in a different classification. Should the maker have had a number of models, as long as the average mpg taking ALL of them into consideration fell within the standard, then the maker was in compliance. This is why the auto makers fall into line with this standard so easily and quickly. They already have an out if they have one ultra high-mileage model on the road. Most of them do in the form of a hybrid or have one on the drawing board. If they've also brought their poorer-performing models up just a bit or intend to then et voila! The standard is already met. And it doesn't matter to the regulatory agency(s) if their high-miler is stylish or sells, the important thing is that its available. [My out: This is my understanding of the whole mess. If I'm wrong, then I apologize, but I think I got it right.] 

igor_don
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Time line for 54.5 MPG
igor_don   8/1/2011 2:20:11 PM
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If we can meet the goal of getting to the moon in 10 years - which we knew nothing about at the beginning and was not in our back yard , so to speak- why is the date so far in the future.  Come on 2025 !!!  This is on earth and literally not rocket science!!!!!

 

Cat-Man
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Come on did you really think about mandatory nitrogen filled tires
Cat-Man   8/1/2011 4:36:12 PM
"Air" is already 79% of atmosphere... what leaks from tires is not likely the nitrogen but the other gases. So you want to demand membrane filters at all air pumps for filling tires?

          Seems extravagant

Cat-Man
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Balancing width of drivetrain components is especially tough
Cat-Man   8/1/2011 4:49:18 PM
Bicycle tires have low drag but are murder going around turns. 1/2" wide gearbox gears offer low drag but all hell lets loose if you drop the clutch hard.

wankap
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The 55mpg solution and beyond has just been patented!
wankap   8/1/2011 5:39:05 PM
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I have been touting the invention of the FCHTMC engine, which in a car or truck size weights less than 40 lbs., requires no maintenance for 20 years except air filter changes if you use fuel, it is compatible with nine fuels and concentrated solar input technology. The system burns fuels lean in a matrix for maximum heat output then captures nearly 90% of that heat energy to utilize in the engine.

 

The engine has energy storage built into it. Patent # 7980080 issued 7/19/2011, has three embodiments, so far, a small four cylinder, and two larger six cylinder versions.

 

Patent application 11515501 Solar Tracking energy beam concentrator (portable) Solar beam receiver, application 11936761 a very low turn force dynamo, application  13087138 Energy Management. Several more in the process of filing. An electronics interface package with CAN/LIN and USB interfaces. Selectable output 48VDC 10 to 250A, 125VAC 20 to 125A, 250VAC 30 to 85A.

 

The whole system reduces the weight of the drive train which becomes electric.

 

There's also some new electric motor stuff in application 13087138.

 

With this package 70 to 90 mpg or better is a slam dunk!


Justajo
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Re: The 55mpg solution and beyond has just been patented!
Justajo   8/1/2011 6:39:09 PM
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Got any links or moovin pitchers?

wankap
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Re: The 55mpg solution and beyond has just been patented!
wankap   8/1/2011 7:01:35 PM
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All the parts have been modeled in Solid Works, the components use advanced ceramics, and ferrite. I'm negtiating with ceramic people in Austrailia to get first parts. I'm seeking money from VC's or DOE to get a demo vehicle built.

It would be like when I introduced the micro-computer in Las Vegas in 1971, there were a bunch of college guys there arguing with me that I could not have been educated in the USA, I wonder where those guys are now?

It'll probably happen again!

hstearnsjr
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Extreme Shortsightedness
hstearnsjr   8/1/2011 6:40:08 PM
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To think that by 2025 we'd still doing something so primitive as burning stuff to get energy is absurd!

Vehicles will be powered by "Mr. Fusion" long before that.  As soon as October 2011, Rossi E-Cat's will be demonstrated.  If not those, Steorn ORBO's, Focus Fusion reactors, and some of a dozen or more devices just waiting to come to the forefront, and they will, inspite of the efforts of suppression.

Historians will look back at the era of petroleum energy as a weird anomaly.

 

 

wankap
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Re: Extreme Shortsightedness
wankap   8/1/2011 7:04:17 PM
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Solar is better than fusion, and its free! All I have to figure out is how to store enough energy for night and bad weather. Batteries are too heavy and not energy dense enough, I have some concepts not yet worked out.

Thinking_J
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Re: Extreme Shortsightedness
Thinking_J   8/1/2011 7:19:47 PM
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Already done...

Mazda 2 2012.. 70+ mpg (reporting 72mpg in regular use in Japan - now)

available in US.. within year?..

Nearing 35% effiency! - approaching Diesel (40%?)

To bad we can only get 1/2 the diesel from a barrel of oil (compared to gas) .. and alternate diesel fuels haven't become cost effective / available as gas.

The new Mazdas have many of the suggested improvements mentioned in the comments.

Most under the "skytech" or "skyactiv" title.

Gas engine with 14.5 to 1 compression using regular gas!

I-stop tech (smart stop of engine - no idling at stops)

new / high effienciency drive train... etc... 

a old report on the subject:

http://green.autoblog.com/2010/10/22/report-next-mazda2-could-hit-70-mpg-and-be-worlds-most-efficie/

Last month's consumer's report on cars.. indicated the Mazda3 with similar tech will be available in US this fall ( not as good on mpg.. but much better than prior version)

Electric cars.. It would be nice if they could carry the 5-10 megawatts of storage (equal to a tank of gas).

Or if they could get their charge from a clean source/ be charged in a few minutes, etc....

It will be a few more years before they are ready to take the place of gas vechicles. Too big of difference in energy storage.

It should be noted .. electric cars - even if charge is derived from a "clean" source are NOT close to "polution free".

 

 

Jericho West
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Unlimited miles per gallon is possible
Jericho West   8/1/2011 7:37:50 PM
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I believe the environmental problem is actually problem of entropy. Any material created by man can be assimilated as fuel and broken down by Nature.

The issue is time:

Nature requires a few billion years to figure out how to do this. Humans are capable of introducing new entropy into the system faster than the system can absorb it.

As a contextual example of this, humans are capable of reducing oxygen. However, if plant life behaved like humans and thus was able to instantly reproduce 100% pure oxygen this oxygen would burn our lungs and we would not be able to accept it.

We must be wiser now. With fewer opportunities to make mistakes.

M R Baldwin
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Design and engineering for high MPG
M R Baldwin   8/1/2011 8:05:25 PM
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I'd like to mention something not on the six item list of suggested talking points.

We should not neglect the obvious need for sizing vehicles for their primary intended function.  Drivers don't need gigantic vehicles for their commute to work or for shopping - we shouldn't be marketing SUV's to every category of vehicle buyer. Auto makers are also addicted to the profits they make on each SUV but by offering more choice in the form of smaller niche vehicles they should be able to sell more new cars, gain more market share.

Smaller lighter vehicles will be the big factor in improving each automakers overall fleet efficiency.  Design and marketing will help make the change more palatable for people who are addicted to commanding their own personal tank. 

Smaller vehicles are a joy to drive.

William K.
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The demand for insanely high miles per gallon
William K.   8/1/2011 8:58:18 PM
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There is an inherent problem with the concept of mandating an arbitrary CAFE level, which is that nobody is forcing the public to purchase those vehicles. So by mandating that the car companies produce vehicles that people won't buy, the goal of forcing reliance on public transport comes closer.

Power requirements are set by both vehicle mass and vehicle drag. There are several problems with using lighter materials, the worst problem is that they get expensive, as strength increases and weight decreases. In addition, these materials also (usually) wind up being more suscepable to corrosion damage. So one winter with the Detroit area road salt and the magnesium honeycomb frame members will be a small pile of magnesium chloride salt. Thinner, high strength, steel has a similar, but somewhat slower, failure process. Having ones $35,000 car turn to dust would indeed be a problem.

Reducing drag offers more hope, but will it be possible to produce a car with low enough drag? The lowest drag finish is not that difficult, but the lowest drag shapes may not look anything like what folks wish to buy or drive. That can be a fatal problem. From the technical point of veiw, reducing drag can also get to be quite expensive, and add the weight so painfully removed.

Alexander Wolfe
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Re: The demand for insanely high miles per gallon
Alexander Wolfe   8/1/2011 9:52:55 PM
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Thanks to everyone for the thoughtful comments and spirited debate. I hadn't mentioned diesel because of the emissions issues, which I think disqualifies it. Separately, there does seem to be a buy-side gating (blocking) factor, which Charles Murray wrote about thoughtfully in his post, California Should Mandate the Purchase of EVs.  I can't help but wonder if another oil crisis, a la 1973 (or 79) would get things into gear far quicker than either legislative prodding or technical progress.

William K.
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The demand for insanely high miles per gallon
William K.   8/1/2011 10:25:38 PM
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In summary, I pointed out the challenges that will be in the way of meeting this new hurdle. The simple choices are to only require the companies to offer such a vehicle, not for it to be the majority of those sold. Economy and safety do not always attract the huge crowds of buyers. Perhaps that should serve as a reminder to the regulators.

ChrisP
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Re: The demand for insanely high miles per gallon
ChrisP   8/2/2011 12:36:00 AM
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William K wrote

"Economy and safety do not always attract the huge crowds of buyers. Perhaps that should serve as a reminder to the regulators."


That's exactly why the regulators are doing this. Many, if not most, of the people in the USA seem to be blithely unaware that fossil fuels are finite and are ignorant about the reality of global warming. Of course, there is a good percentage who just don't care if we run out and don't care that the planet will be permanently affected by reduction of species and crop yields.

Engineering magazines in Europe are ALL about global warming, reducing emissions by making everything more efficient and making cars more economical.

William K.
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Re: The demand for insanely high miles per gallon
William K.   8/2/2011 7:07:39 PM
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What has been very agressively ignored in the concern about global warming is the energy output of the sun. For starters, we know very well that there has been "a bit of a change" in the previously observed sunspot cycle, which should tell us that something is different from what it used to be. Now consider what would happen here if the output were to increase by 0.01%. Could we accurately measure this change? Do we have any previous measurements to compare it to? Has anybody bothered to look at any of this data? It certainly looks like the answer is no on all thre acounts. My point being that assuming that mankind, and the USA public in particular, are the sole cause of the quite small changes in the earths temperature.

So the only reason to artificially raise fuel prices would be to force another tax on all of us who use our own transportation means.

It would undoubtedly be possible to realize a large increase in fuel economy by using the same technology with smaller and lighter vehicles, however we have those in the EPA who keep adjusting the emissions. Presently the biggest enemy of really high mileage vehicles is our own EPA. WE all need to realize that.

ChrisP
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Re: The demand for insanely high miles per gallon
ChrisP   8/2/2011 8:00:08 PM
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The output of the sun has NOT been ignored.   The EPA does not keep adjusting emissions.  Please don't make stuff up. 

The enemy of high mileage vehicles is ignorant people who don't believe in global warming and don't understand that fossil fuels are finite.

Having used over half of their oil reserves Americans are still bent on accelerating the use of what remains.

 

 

William K.
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Re: The demand for insanely high miles per gallon
William K.   8/2/2011 9:59:22 PM
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You have verified my assertion, which is that most people equate the sole cause of global warming with the United States use of petroleum, never even considering that there could be a different mechanism causing the warming. You can defend the EPA if you wish, but the fact is that in order to keep existing they must keep demonstrating how much they are doing, which means creating all kinds of new rules. That is no different than any employee having to show that they are delivering value, in order to keep their jobs.

And about the sun: I have not heard or read any assertions that just possibly there is an increase in solar output causing the temperature rise. Have you heard or read any such statements?

utno1kc
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Reigning in the public
utno1kc   8/2/2011 9:31:44 AM
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The auto makers already possess  technology to make cars get this gas mileage, the problem is that they wouldn't be money makers. Most people would write them off as being too small, dangerous, and dorky. (Interesting the CR-Z is used above as an example: my '89 CRX with outdated technology got better than 40mpg)

I see the government's CAFE regulations as not just pushing scientists to develop game-changing technology, but as a way of forcing the public to do something they don't want to do; namely consume less fuel. If the government wants people to consume more fuel, then they're shooting themselves in the foot and punishing the auto-makers in the process.

So back to the author's original question: what areas will need to be pioneered to make the new CAFE regulations doable? Because it is clear from Auto sales that the majority of Americans would rather pay for more gas than decrease their energy use via a small car, the only way to enable them to have a heart change is for gas prices to take a huge hike. If gas was $8/gal like it is in Europe, Americans would be beating down the doors to buy a 55mpg car and the auto companies would gladly supply.

aturner
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It has existed for years
aturner   8/2/2011 11:50:38 AM
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I'm still driving my 1998 VW Jetta TDI (Turbo Diesel Injection) & achieving 50mpg city.  It was advertised at 42 city/48 highway.  At the time I bought it in 1998 diesel was $.90/gal.  I have never at a want of power out of its 90 HP motor.

There is a whole community of people driving these VW diesels (http://www.tdiclub.com/) who have been wondering for years why our diesels are never mentioned in articles regarding the best mpg vehicles on the road.

As many have pointed out, Europe knows the benefits of diesel over gas.  The problem in the US is perception.  People remember the diesels of the 70's, slow, no acceleration, dirty & noisy.  That isn't the diesel of today.  But no one has taken up the mantra of the diesel & made an effort to change its perception.

Some tweaks to the EPA regulations & some culture change & the 54.5mpg goal could easily be attained & surpassed in years not decades.

The real culture change needed is the size of US autos.  SUV's need to die a dinosaur’s death.  Cars need to get smaller, not Smart car small, but definitely a reduction in width & length.  Of course this won't be a change people of this country will commit to voluntarily, it needs to be forced on us & on the auto makers.  The auto makers will always make what sells & the demand is now for bigger, which always comes at a cost of mpg.

 

person12345
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efficiency - power or fuel economy?
person12345   8/2/2011 4:29:01 PM
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Looking back  specs of some long standing car/truck models over the last 20 years reveals that there have been remarkable gains in overall efficiency.  Most models have experienced huge weight gains, significant displacement increases (many have experienced nearly 50% increases in torque and horsepower) and yet they manage to get equal-to-or-better-than fuel economy.

It shouldn't be too dificult to turn the equations on their head and start applying these technologies to smaller, more fuel efficient engines that achieve the same level of performance as cars from decades gone by.  Can you get to 50+ MPG this way?  I don't know, but I have a feeling it would be a big leap toward that goal.  Of course, it will require discipline from us (consumers) to accept the resulting drop in performance...or perhaps $4-$5/gallon gas is making that decision easier to accept.

designnews4us
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50 mpg
designnews4us   8/2/2011 11:09:21 PM
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Who is choking over 54 mpg?  Nearly 20 years ago I had a 4 dr, 1.1 liter, stick shift GEO, built by Suzuki and marketed in US by GM that got 50-51 mpg day in and day out for 180,000 miles!!  I surveyed other owners that reported the same results.  I also checked the oddometer for accuracy and it was very close.  Other than radial tires it was just a plain old internal combustion engine without 14 computers on it.  I could even change the spark plugs on it.

It is obvious to me that they have been doing engineering in reverse.

Loved that car

Emory Kent

MIROX
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Be Honest about your MPG !!!
MIROX   8/3/2011 3:40:12 AM
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Seriously I have been in Automobile business in one way or another for over 32 years, and have seen the claims people make about 100 MPG +++ Carburettor, the Priuses that get 80 MPG or even 110 MPG, and so on.

But then I also test drive cars for major OEM's in Nevada near Las Vegas at 110 to 120 F heat with A/C on both on highway at 45 MPH and I-15 At 70 MPH.

The lattest biggest fuel economy disapointment was the FIAT 500 rated at
33
30
38

by EPA (combined/city/hwy).

My real MPG over more than 10,000 test miles was 30.2 with A/C on and 32.1 with A/C off (5 speed MT).

In the exactly same distance and road test in 1999 with EFI YUGO (no A/C) the MPG was 45.0 - no "latest technology" that the 500 FIAT claims for the multi air engine technology.

But there is one catch the YUGO emission levels were 5 to 7 times higher, so the "clean air" definitely costs MPG.

The only car I have ever driven over the same road course was the HONDA Insight that with A/C got 42 MPG and with A/C off 50.3 MPG

1990 GMC 3500 LWB Cargo Wan with 5,200 lbs in it (about 2,500 over GVWR) gets 14.4 MPG - driving it EMPTY gets 14.9 MPG

So at anything over 45 MPH the aerodynamics matters far more than the vehicle weight, which is only a factor during acceleration and out of 250 miles drive the 16 miles that is uphil (more or less compensated by another 16 miles that are downhill).

SMART and FIAT 500 are in effect TOO SHORT and terrible at 70 MPH in cross winds or when passed by a bus or semi traveling at close to 80 MPH.

Also have driven more than one GEO on the same course - none ever got 50 MPG !!  not even close......... (87 octane California Reformulated Gasoline with 10% oxygenates used in all test vehicles).

Prius gerts 42.0 MPG on the same drive, yet I know lot of "owners" that claim to be getting over 60 MPG - but claim is one thing and instrumented vehicle with $4,500 data acquisition another, and you just can not "overestimate" the MPG, the data gets recorded for every second of the test drive - a "lead" foot will make 40% MPG difference in short and fast city run, but not all that much on the highway - there the limitation is what Highway Patrol will tollerate (usually not much over 82 MPH).

 

 

 

designnews4us
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Re: Be Honest about your MPG !!!
designnews4us   8/3/2011 7:15:13 PM
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Yep, it is hard to match $4500 worth of instruments.  All I had was a certified gas pump, a dated log book with a pencil recorder, an $89 HP11c calculator and an analog eyeball to read the oddometer. 

By the way, I think, I can top you in that I've been driving vehicles for 60+ yrs.

Emory Kent

basjoos
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Streamline it!
basjoos   8/3/2011 9:33:30 AM
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There's no problem getting over 55mpg from a car provided you are willing to shape the body to minimize aerodynamic drag.  I've been driving a 92 Honda Civic that I converted into a streamliner in 2005 and have since put over 160,000 miles on it in the course of my daily driving.  The stock vehicle used to get gas mileage in the mid-40's, but since I streamlined it has maintained a lifetime average of 72mpg in mostly highway driving.  The engine is the stock Honda engine, all I did was reshape the body to lower the Cd from .31 to .16 (as calculated by coast down testing).  On 80mph interstate trips it averages over 60mpg and averages around 80mpg on trips at 60mph.  The car is called the Aerocivic (google it).

BruceM
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The French have us beaten?
BruceM   8/4/2011 1:39:07 PM
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 When I was in Scotland 2 years ago, I rented a Peugeot 308 diesel and it got 70MPG!! I thought the fuel gauge was broken at first but I did end up putting in 8 gallons of fuel after driving all over the country for a week. It can be done, we just have to convince the oil companies that sleeping with the auto makers of the world is not a "good thing".

 

Bruce M.

USA

basjoos
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Re: The French have us beaten?
basjoos   8/5/2011 8:53:57 PM
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In Scotland, this mpg would be in imperial gallons (1 imperial gallon = 1.2 US gallons), so 70mpg (imperial) = 58mpg (US), which still fairly good mileage.

Dave Kaylor
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Iron
Re: The French have us beaten?
Dave Kaylor   12/8/2011 9:27:05 AM
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With the US near equivilent of 58 MPG (compared to imperial gallons), the limited selecttion of diesels in the US already are coming close.  I've spoken to many VW diesel owners that get in the mid 50 MPG without even trying.  Diesel is a primary fuel in many countries because it is the more efficient between it and gasoline.  The US just has a problem supporting it due to a bad (and previously deserved) reputation.

Nugent_56
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Gold
corrupt computers?
Nugent_56   12/8/2011 9:31:25 AM
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In 1981 I bought a (carburated) Plymouth Horizon Mizer which easily got 50MPG and it had a catalytic converter. I think ever since converting cars to injection systems, the oil companies slipped a few bucks under the table to tweak the computers in their favor. Just sayin....

visualeyes
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Iron
go back to the pre-OEM past and then to the future
visualeyes   12/8/2011 10:18:49 AM
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1971 Honda 600, 52-26 MPG commuted between Seattle & BAY AREA. With no progress in THIRTY YEARS, something is fishy here. It resulted in another EV conversion in 2003- even lead acid is better than gasoline! Another 'fish' gets off the hook of big oil! Of course there are more efficient gas cars in the world..just try to import one! And now I am trying to avoid supporting the Chinese govt. with my 10K lithium battery dollars, but no US battery MAKER will sell them to me. Kill OEM Promote R&D

davegroe
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Silver
Re: go back to the pre-OEM past and then to the future
davegroe   12/8/2011 10:32:55 AM
I have a 2001 Honda Insight, and get over 60 MPG (CVT transmission, numerous stop lights). Honda did it right. The LRR tires are required or you take a major MPG hit. One good way to get significantly higher fuel efficiencies is not with the vehicles, but the roads. How about adding a lot more right turn lanes (for stop signs as well as stop lights) where you don't have to stop, they have a merge lane to get you into traffic. Stopping kills all of your kenetic energy, then uses lots of gas to get right back up to speed. Many of the hybrid systems sole point is to capture that lost energy and reuse it. How about timing of stop lights better? Where I live I don't recall any stop lights that are timed so that if you hit one light while going the speed limit you can continue through all of the rest of the lights. How about more roads, more lanes, etc? Anytine you hit stop and go traffic it kills your fuel efficiency. Drive a given route at 3 AM and then at 5:30 PM, your gas MPG may be twice as high at night. For now I would like to see money spent on the road system, and not more fuel efficient cars. Even if a new gar can get twice the fuel efficiency, it does not save me any time. Road improvements would save gas and time.

visualeyes
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Iron
Re: go back to the pre-OEM past and then to the future
visualeyes   12/8/2011 10:58:05 AM
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Exactly! Ask for a bit more cut and a bit more fill on new roads too! This will make it easier for alt tech vehicles to travel more efficiently and stay with the flow [85 mph in a 65mph zone]. You don't realize the drag poor surface costs in fuel efficiency until you drive electric. Remember, the out gas from catalytic converters really degrades the surface, rewuiring MORE frequent re-surfacing and more oil demand & CO2 dumping!

jemeils
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Iron
Re: go back to the pre-OEM past and then to the future
jemeils   1/24/2012 10:12:32 AM
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I agree with the idea of reducing the number of stops one has to make in any given driving situation.  Where I live the stop lights are designed to stop traffic for non-existant traffic.  And I don't mean 1 or 2 cars. I mean NO cars!  In England most intersections are round-abouts where noone stops and everyone gets where they are going. They also don't have the EPA emissions requirements we have and are already getting 50-60mpg(American) with both diesel and gas engines (most have manual transmissions). Take a car that gets better than 45 mpg and reduce the emissions requirements (slightly) due to the extreme efficiency of the vehicle. In environmental impact terms, an extremely efficient vehicle will put out less pollution than a regulated gas-guzzler.

JPW
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Silver
Driving style and Peak Oil
JPW   12/8/2011 10:34:24 AM
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In any rating of mpg driving style is a significant factor. Hypermillers get far better gas millage than pedal heavy drivers. In Mass. drivers are so aggressive their millage is horrible. I'm not a hypermiller, but I drive like a granny and am averaging (according to the display for whatever that's worth) 37.7 mpg in a Fiesta doing mostly city driving, where, again according to display my average speed is <29 mph. I understand that the new EPA ratings are geared more towards pedal-pushers than hypermillers.

There is good Wiki and YouTube info on peak oil, which for the world occurred, according to most scientists, in roughly 2008. Chris Martenson has a couple video's called Unfixable. The 70 minute video goes into detail about the relationships between population growth, efficiency, and oil usage as well as addressing issues regarding the "next" big thing whatever that may mean and the time it takes to bridge between a world running on liquid fuel to one not. Highly recommended.

William K.
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Platinum
How to get 55MPG autos?
William K.   12/8/2011 6:26:36 PM
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We can start by removing all of the excess accessories, including air conditioning. Next, an undebelly pan to cut air friction below the vehicle. Then, a much more slippery paint job. The finising touch would be 65PSI air in those tires.

The rest of the gain must be in thye raodways, with a removal of all those traffic controls primarily intended to impede the traffic flow. And the final step would be to take those speed demons off the road. Drag and friction are square-law functions, so dropping down to 65MPH would save quite a bit of fuel. But also get rid of those drivers who go slow in the fast lane. A 90 day license suspension for going 55 in the 65 lane might possibly convey a message with enough sincerity that it would not be ignored.

Tool_maker
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Re: How to get 55MPG autos?
Tool_maker   12/9/2011 12:14:03 PM
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@William K. I agree with the energy eating features of excess accessories, but good luck with getting anyone to give up their AC today. It ain't gonna happen.

wade
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Bronze
54 mpg
wade   1/24/2012 9:53:05 AM
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diesel needs to be part of the solution.  i'm not sure why we haven't embraced this technology in the US pass car market, but we are behind the rest of the world.  could have something to do with the current N/A refining capacity for diesel and the periodic gap between the gasoline and diesel pricing.

John
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Cars of the 19-teens
John   1/24/2012 10:01:05 AM
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Some automobiles in the 19-teens did it.  Wouldn't think it's impossible, but they didn't have many electric lights, A/C, power steering, may or may not have starter, water pump, alternator, or even an oil pump, wooden frame, minnimal glass and top speed is probably 45 mph.  Which that should be more than adequate for any in town driving.  Probably average 35mph in town anyhow when considering time at a stop.  I guess your new car won't be getting a tri-coat paint job any time soon though.  Too heavy.  Forget slicker paint job.  Too much time sanding. 

I seriously doubt we will be going back to the above, but be interesting to see how it's pulled off.  Honestly, I always thought it would be diesel, like the rest of the world.  There's way too much sitting in traffic for gasoline.  With that said, anyone doing anything to improve efficiency of the roadways other than add another lane to it.

William K.
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How to engineer 54.5MPG cars?
William K.   1/24/2012 10:39:45 AM
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Several things can be changed to increase the miles per gallon quite a bit. Changing the traffic controls and roadways is one area that would not need any engineering breakthroughs, although it will probably be by far the most difficult to implement.

REducing the drag and rolling resistance can certainly reduce fuel consumption, but while most of the ways to do this have been figured out by racing teams already, adding them to most passenger cars would be a challenge indeed.

The stop-restart engine scheme could certainly be a large contributor to urban driving efficiency, but it will require a major upgrade in engine cranking systems, since the current starter motor arrangement is neither quik enough nor durable enough to be suitable for that kind of driving. In addition, to gain the very most from the stop-start mode,  there would need to be a means to disengage the drive wheels so that coasting would have the minimum drag effect. Coasting would be a major contributor for the reason that almost half of urban driving involves deceleration. An effective de-clutch and shutoff system could allow a skilled driver to obtain a large reduction in fuel consumption. Providing a similar degree of reduction with an automated system is probably well beyond tha capabilities of any and all automotive software development teams. Probably a satisfactory control algorithm for adding the shutoff and coast-down mode will remain unavailable for the near and distant future, but providing a manual means for the skilled drivers would still be worth the effort. Yes, I am asserting that a large number of drivers lack the capability of anything more than driving a car down the road using other than an automatic transmission.

PatrickH.
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Re: How to engineer 54.5MPG cars?
PatrickH.   1/24/2012 11:42:46 AM
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Seems like somewhere along the way people lost focus on the topic.  Everyone seems to be discussing how to improve real world on the road fuel economy.  An important subject, but not the focus of the article which was asking how to improve CAFE.

1st - we should note that the CAFE numbers are not what we see on the window sticker of every car.  CAFE numbers (if I remember correctly) would be closer to the old consumer fuel economy numbers before the revamp that occurred several years ago.  So a Toyota Prius likely already meets 54.5MPG CAFE today.

Lighter weight, less drag, smaller engines.

More advanced engines (direct injection with very lean a/f ratios, direct control over valve timing & lift to reduce pumping losses through elimination of the throttle plate).

Hybridization (stop-start functionality at the very least with the ability to reclaim some energy through regen)

Any other novel ideas that can be packaged for mass-manufacturing.  What happened with BMW's turbosteamer?  Any advance with TEGs on the exhaust?  Exhaust driven generators to provide electricity for a hybrid system?  (I'd suspect that yes, financial and manufacturing complications keep these out of the vehicle).

Christian Jorde
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Cars with 58 mpg are quite realistic
Christian Jorde   1/24/2012 12:52:48 PM
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In Europe we do not understand your arguments.  We do have some cars with 4 liters per 100 km wich equals  58.8 miles per gallon.  This cars are available and the number is growing.  They are mostly running on diesel but this does not mean they are slow or tiny cars.  The key is to think on fuel consum for many parts and in all phases of design.
What is really consuming energy?  The accelaration (multiplied by weight) all kind of friction ( motor, gear, tires, bearings, etc) and the resistance of air for higher speed ( c - value).  If you recuperate then a part of kinetic enercy will be get back during braking.

To achieve a much higher efficency on engines is not possible but to save the waste seems a question of priority of design goals.

 

 

bob from maine
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Maximizing MPG
bob from maine   1/24/2012 1:06:19 PM
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First, everyone back to school. Knowing how to make a car move does not mean you can maximize fuel economy. Give an exise tax or other break for everyone who attends and passes an approved "drive safely and economically" school. Make the course meaningful and charge for big $$ for it.

Second: CVTs allow engines to run at optimum speed independent of wheel speed. Making engines capable of consuming enough fuel to accelerate yet using only enough fuel to maintain steady speed compromises economy. Design an engine to run at a steady speed when on the highway, then add energy storage to provide surge power for acceleration (sounds like a hybrid).

Third: Design and manufacture purpose-built vehicles. If you drive 80% highway, buy a highway vehicle that can achieve 60 or more MPG on the highway, understanding that in the city mileage will drop to 40 or less. If you drive 80% city, an electric with a charging motor of small (<10 or 15KW) capacity. When battery voltage drops below 40% reduce available power for acceleration to half or less. Electric range is largely a function of driver behavior, if you drive like it's a sports car, you will be parking early and often.

Fourth: Develope road-trains with electronic controls. When you are on the highway, understand you will be travelling at a fixed speed controlled by a highway smart-grid. Once part of the train, your only options will be to exit or stay in the train.

My 1000cc motorcycle routinely gets 53MPG with 2 people on it. The air-conditoner and heater work in the wrong seasons, the windshield wiper is a function of speed and I find it very hard to text or talk on my phone while driving. But, it does get 53mpg! It is obviously a compromise I consciously made to do without many "necessities" but it sure is fun to drive!  I am uncomfortable with the government setting a goal that demands I compromise things I don't want to. So part of the issue is whether I will accept a government mandated economy-mobile no matter how much research whent into its development or whether I will buy a 15mpg pick-up out of spite.

RobLewis
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Gold
Tragedy of the Commons
RobLewis   1/24/2012 1:27:30 PM
This is a classic Tragedy of the Commons, and it's disheartening how many people choose to view it through the lens of "personal liberty." 

You do not, repeat DO NOT, have the right to contribute to the destruction of my earth's climate because you insist on burning a ridiculous amount of gasoline to drag two tons of steel with you to the 7-11 to pick up beer and chips. 

I'm not sure there's any hope of saving the planet even with 54.5 mpg, or 60 mpg. But I KNOW there's no hope if we don't make big changes. 

ksaldutti
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Silver
Re: Not going to happen.
ksaldutti   3/15/2012 1:21:01 PM
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1 saves

The fallacy is just that. What they the governmant says today what happens by then will be very very different. There is no way this is plausible. It is a joke. And the industries all know it. The fact is this governmant knows it. It is totally political and that is the truth and you will have just live with that fact. If your earth is suffering because of burning fossil fuels well get use to the fact that when you die some day we will still be burning fossil fuels, and those pick up trucks that you deplore so much buying beer at those a dirty convenient stores will be still doing just that at maybe 18 mpg. Oh and by the way the far left greenies in Hollywood and in Washington, New York etc. will still be one of the most prevalent polluters as they are today. With private planes, jets etc, opulent homes in several places throughout the world large engine sport cars and larger engine SUVs movie making and wasteful travel. Our gallivanting President flying around with wife and kids in toe at the cost of millions per and carbon credits out the butt. But hay its ok if the left dirties your precious earth but not our ((red neck)) pick up trucks for beer. It just so happens the liberal media never, never reports on those facts. So there! Now if you are so smart the please conjure up the private business capitol (not tax dollars) to develop a plausible fully electric automotive product. See isn't that easy?


jlinstrom
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Re: Not going to happen.
jlinstrom   3/15/2012 2:30:10 PM
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well, haters gotta hate.

OK if fatcat righties guzzle it up cuz they aren't hypocritical, right? Take  it personal and let it blind your thinking - the problem will still be there. Good engineering analysis.

benmlee2
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Re: Not going to happen.
benmlee2   4/12/2012 10:14:50 AM
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"Oh and by the way the far left greenies in Hollywood and in Washington, New York etc. will still be one of the most prevalent polluters as they are today. With private planes, jets etc, opulent homes in several places throughout the world

... Our gallivanting President flying around with wife and kids in toe at the cost of millions per and carbon credits out the butt. But hay its ok if the left dirties your precious earth but not our ((red neck)) pick up trucks for beer. 

Very political with little reasoning. People with money consume more and pollute more whether liberal or not. That was the theory of trickle down economics remember. Wealthy consume more and trickle down to the rest.

One pick up truck is not the problem 50 years ago in the rual farm. Times that by billions today around the world, and you got major issues. Everyone need to sacrafice to save fuel. That is the cost of large population.

StuDent
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Gas Mileage
StuDent   1/24/2012 2:00:54 PM
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"True" gas mileage is meaningless in this discussion.  The mileage being discussed is really an index obtained by driving the vehicle on a dynamometer over the well-defined speed, load, acceleration and deceleration cycles used by the EPA. The key advantage is that these cycles are repeatable.  They were originally designed to mimic real city and highway driving patterns, but time and technology change, so they are really an approximation. 

I measure my "true" mileage every time I fill the tank—how far I have driven divided by how many gallons it took to fill up.  For my 2006 Honda Civic Si, it ranges from a worst of 21 mpg for consistent short drives to a best of 36 mph for a round trip for the weekend from Sacramento to north Lake Tahoe.

One of the great variables is the driver. Some drivers constantly accelerate and decelerate, others keep reasonably close to a constant speed. This driving difference can make a subcompact have the "true" mpg of an SUV and almost vice versa.

Alexander Wolfe
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Blogger
Re: Gas Mileage
Alexander Wolfe   1/29/2012 1:26:27 PM
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This is indeed true. I get my true gas mileage the same way, recording the odometer at each fill and dividing the mileage difference by the number of gallons I need to fill the tank. (Which gives you a close but not 100% exact reading, since your "full" fill point will be slightly different each time.  I think we all know that the EPA estimates will always be higher than real-world experiences. It's like stereo amp power figures in the old days, where manufacturers would rate their amps according to a std that made their max outputs seem way higher than RMS. Well, that was worse numbers-wise than the car mileage difference, but the car stuff is more important.

M_S
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Iron
Re: Gas Mileage
M_S   2/6/2012 10:43:09 AM
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I also calculate my gas mileage this way.  My Toyota Corolla (2002) gets from approximately 32 mpg (winter driving with the "oxygenated" fuels) to 38 mpg.  This depends to some extent on the type of driving I've done and much more on the temperature, use of heater or AC.  When I've done mainly highway driving, I have obtained as much as 41 mpg.

I have to comment on the article indicating mandatory nitrogen fill for tires.  That will make it impossible for automobile owners to fill up their tires on their own - unacceptable!

StuDent
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How Do We Engineer Autos for 54.5 MPG?
StuDent   1/24/2012 5:55:54 PM
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Along with all the strong suggestions that have been offered, I remember that the Saabs of the 1950's were free-wheeling. I'll bet with computer controls to cover the safety issues (like perhaps braking to temporarily stop free-wheeling) there could be a lot of additional fuel saving. Idle RPM as opposed to 3000 or 4000 rpm seems to me to have potential.

nitchvideo
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Iron
partial power problem
nitchvideo   1/28/2012 3:40:26 PM
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Ten pages of comments and not one direct mention of the "partial power problem".  I would ask you all please spend the few mins reading these materials so you can have a better understanding of the problem.

Brake Specific Fuel Consumption (BSFC)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brake_specific_fuel_consumption



A little on the partial power problem plus lots more related info

http://prius.ecrostech.com/original/PriusFrames.htm

Patrick Harris
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Iron
Nitrogen
Patrick Harris   3/15/2012 9:46:46 AM
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Nitrogen filled tires is the latest scam. Air is already 78% nitrogen. You'd get better results, if any, using helium.

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2694/is-it-better-to-fill-your-tires-with-nitrogen-instead-of-air

Thanks MIROX, I forgot about the joke Shell commercials.

MIROX
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Platinum
Re: Nitrogen
MIROX   3/15/2012 1:21:30 PM
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YES a totally "insane" idea but people that have no real technical education can be sold on the $20 extra charge idea for "Nitrogen fill" in the name of "fuel saving" and longer tire life (no internal tire rubber oxidation !!!) and SHELL even advertises "extra" Nitrogen molecules in their Gasoline !

WOW just take the oxygen out of the air the engine breathes and all the world problems would be solved !!! (the cars would not run).

Frankh
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Iron
54.4 MPG
Frankh   3/15/2012 10:48:14 AM
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Just a thought: 

If we want to cut fuel use, why not establish a "Hook-Up" facility at all "Truck Stops"?

 Allow me to dream a bit with this thought.-----At each "Truck Stop" you would sign up for coupling your vehicle to a truck, that is heading to the city, to which you want to travel. 

 The Truckers would look at the sign up list and then "Hook-up" your car to their tow bar system, at the rear of their cargo trailer.  You would pay the truck driver $xx.xx for the tow. 

You can then set back in your car, as its being towed to your destination and enjoy the ride. 

The Semi will likely not feel much difference in fuel economy (?). 

The Truck Driver makes some extra bucks--the car being towed uses no fuel--etc;. 

Now, I realize that changes to highway rules and the way towing can be physically acomplished will need to happen, but these changes are only a "one Time Event", with no further major adaptations required. 

Heck, it could spur a whole new business structure for Trucking Companies and Truck Stops and yield a new direction to saving fuel -- Its sort of a self imposed fuel rationing system, by your own personal choice (Never to be mandated, of course). 

 OK, now it is your turn to throw some rocks at this thought process--go for it!

MIROX
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Platinum
Re: 54.4 MPG
MIROX   3/15/2012 1:11:41 PM
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Hook up a car to a truck !

Great idea, and I actually tried it once with Maserati hooked up to GM Panel van, the GM van got basically the same MPG (about 12) and the Maserati which normally got 7 to 9 MPG got "infinity". And at 70 MPH I forgot few times the car was behind the van (could not see it in the mirrors except when going through turns.

As far as the rest of the comments; nowhere I have seen anyone mentioning COST PER MILE (or per hour of use).

 

Basically if COTS do NOT matter you can get great fuel economy, or use no liquid fuel at all.

However in real life people can not afford to change $40,000 battery packs every now and then so they can use 3 cents of electric coal generated power per mile.

And almost all MPG improvements are either not practical or not cost effective until the cost of the fuel itself increases dramatically.

Fuels saving tires on HD trucks that cost $1,500 more do not save enough fuel (1.5%) to pay for themselves over the useful life, so such fuel saving technologies have to be mandated as they are in California, thus cost of everything related has to be increased just to pay for the "saving" in fuel reduction and cleaner air.

Engineering cars that KEEP all the luxuries, AC heater and 12 air bags just in case and getting 54.5MPG - will cost MORE per mile of use of the car, so while we may save fuel we will spend more money to drive.

If the price of fuel would be doubled - people would do it automatically by driving less or more efficiently and NO NEW technology would be needed !

Proper driving techniques can reduce improve fuel economy by 40% and reducing the vehicle size from what we think we need to actually match the true needs increases it by over 300% (but to replace all vehicles can take 20 years).

So dramatic increase in cost of fuel is the ONLY way any real life fuel saving and money savings can be accomplished IMMEDIATELLY !

 

sysdesign
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Iron
MPG/P instead of MPG
sysdesign   3/15/2012 2:49:43 PM
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Wouldn't be nice if we can develop a car that can change its size?  That way most of us will not driving a car that is capable of transporting four when we only need to transport one.  If we need more transporting capacity, attach another powered module that will have its own motive power but will be controlled by driver module.  We should measure MPG per person and just MPG.  We already do it with motocycles and side cars though it not a good example because of the lack of streamling and the side car affects the performance.

ksaldutti
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Silver
Re: MPG/P instead of MPG
ksaldutti   3/15/2012 3:08:02 PM
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1 saves
I relish outside of the box thinking. Anything is worth throwing into the mix. I always said I would absolutely love to drive a fully electric truck but we are also far away from that technology. It just sounds right and good but not practical, YET. Modular transportation may be an application at some point in the design of future transportation. I hope sooner then later we come up with power sources for electric or other engines. For right now and for the foreseeable future it is fossil fuel and we need to go after it, process it and remember that as a citizen of the United Sates it does belongs to all of us. Public and private lands are being leased for doing the business of oil producing. Let's not punish our citizens because we haven't devised the technology yet for alternative energy.

jts4545
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Iron
54.5 mpg achieved
jts4545   3/15/2012 2:56:50 PM
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Already achieved years ago by Buckminster Fuller (geodesic dome inventor) Dymaxion car. Used 3 wheels instead of 4, aluminum chassis and body, vastly improved aerodynamic styling. Condemned as a "freak car". Attitudes have not changed much over the years. Look it up on the internet.  Many great design ideas ahead of their time then, but very important now. Worth a look.

 

A poor reflection on car manufacturers then, and today to reject his design. Everyone is paying dearly now for this mistake in attitudes.

mdefonce
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Re: 54.5 mpg achieved
mdefonce   3/20/2012 2:18:42 PM
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What ever happened to the volkswagen rabbit deisel?  It would get 50 or more miles per gallon back in the 70s.

The rabbit went to europe and we the golf came to the states.

Volkswagen should bring back the rabbit.

jts4545
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Iron
Re: 54.5 mpg achieved
jts4545   3/21/2012 1:22:11 AM
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The diesel rabbit fell victim to bad attitude of U.S. car industry. When a car performs better, it makes U.S. makers "look bad" for not achieving similar results. Send that car "somewhere else" until Detroit "catches up" technologically. Which can take a long time. Similar thing happened to the Dymaxion car. The documentary films, "Who Killed The Electric Car?" and "Revenge Of The Electric Car" shows a similar thing happening. Superior performance from "new" technology gets attacked by  U.S. automakers made to "look bad".

TOP
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Re: 54.5 mpg achieved
TOP   4/12/2012 10:42:49 AM
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Cars I have owned:

VW Rabbit Diesel 1985  48mpg (It was never as good as my brother's car; 55mpg)

Honda Insight 2005 60/65mpg 63.4mpg over 34,000 miles when I got rid of it.This car was so highly optimized that a passenger, rain or open windows would drop the milage 2-3mpg. Low temperatures <60F killed the milage (45mpg) due to loss of auto engine shutdown and thicker oil in bearings and gearbox. Because of the low rolling resistance tires it was lousy on gravel roads or any slippery surface. Ground clearance was extremely low so it was unusable in winter. But it was quite roomy for my 6ft frame. The perfect commuter car.

Beetle 1958 28mpg/35mpg

Mercedes Turbo Diesel Wagon 1985 26/30mpg

Subaru Forester 2010 24/30mpg 26mpg over 34,000 miles in a northern climate. This is a full time 4wd car with the Cd of a brick. The CVT version does even better.

monster69
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Iron
Vehicle mileage
monster69   3/15/2012 5:16:08 PM
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The whole idea of 1 size fits all is the problem.  My driving is local less than 50 miles per week unless traveling 4 to 5 times a year for 1000 mi R/t.  Highway mileage applies to ong distance trips.  But the main problem with fuel efficiency is local travel.   Do w eneed to look at causes for traffic congestion?  absolutely.  Should we investigate engineering for in town driving?  A must.  do we need to improve the use of LNG to power vehicles at an affordable price?  yes.  Do we need to put more cross country freight on railroads?  it is more effiicient.  Do we need a world carbon tax?  Not unless everyone is taxed equally,  Third world and industrialied world.  Shipping of third world goods.  and world polution, wood fires, coal fires, trsh burning.

Nugent_56
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Gold
50MPG is not elusive by any means
Nugent_56   4/12/2012 9:20:34 AM
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I don't know what the huge difficulty is here. In 1981, I bought a Plymouth Horizon Miser. It had a 2L VW gasoline engine with a specially designed chrysler carb that allowed the vehicle to get 51MPG. It had a catalytic converter as well!

Cars are like computers. We make more complex programs that require more speed, more memory, and so new computers have to be designed. Why can't we just build simple, lightweight cars that don't need miles of wiring, 20 computers, auto-everything and don't need expensive specialty parts to repair? Cars are appearing on the roads at expoential rates and gas prices are rising at the same alarming rates. We need radical changes in the auto industry - this is not 1970 anymore.  I don't want to sound like some freaky conspiracist, but it's too easy to program the fuel injector computer to lean on the rich side by a few percent and put billions of dollars in the oil cat's pockets.  Can't do that with a carb. My $.02

kleetus
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Silver
Re: 50MPG is not elusive by any means
kleetus   4/12/2012 12:01:30 PM
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I'm sure that 2 liter VW engine in the car did great for merging on highways, moving more than 4 adults, assuming they fit in the car, and climbing hills. I suppose if you live in Arizona where there are no hills, but in western PA, and other locations, that car would be passed by an overweight amateur cyclist on nearly every hill.

There's a reason those cars were rejected by consumers: they SUCK.

They still do, but when you have an energy policy who's stated goal is to have gas at 8-9 bucks a gallon to force people into this crap, the peon masses (read everyone but the liberal elites) have no choice but to buy the SUCKY car...

Wow... kinda reminds me of communist Russia. Bottoms up, comrade!

Thinking_J
User Rank
Platinum
Re: 50MPG is not elusive by any means
Thinking_J   4/16/2012 10:01:24 PM
NO RATINGS
"Arizona where they have no hills"...

Really?

Half of Arizona is above 5,000 ft elevation.. Flagstaff is at ~8,000ft. Prescott ~5300ft. Arizona's highest mountain.. over 12,000 ft.

Some of the biggest (steepest/longest) road inclines in the entire US are in Arizona.

Western PA highest point- Mount Davis less than 3500ft.. nice hill, not real mountain.

If you have been to AZ.. it was apparently only in the southern part of the state (Phoenix less than 1500 ft, Tuscon at less than 2500 ft)

Hope you spend a bit more time researching your other "observations"...

I have friends with cars that get 40mpg @ 80mph while going up 5 percent inclines. It is done on regular basis... yea , the same "hills" that slow SEMIs to 25mph.

 

kleetus
User Rank
Silver
Re: 50MPG is not elusive by any means
kleetus   4/17/2012 9:33:36 AM
NO RATINGS
Yes really...

 

One thing you kind of neglect to mention is the fact that our on ramps in many places around western PA are less than 500ft, so 0-x speed before getting rammed by traffic or causing a major pile up can be a lot of fun.

Your roads out there have honestly had a lot more forethought to their design than most of what's located here, and that even goes for our new rebuilt goat paths.You guys weren't afraid to move some dirt, which is good, here it's either into a river or stream or into the side of a hill. True, ours may not be miles long, but there are so many undulations that setting cruise is bad joke at best. You're never on one long enough to get to a steady state before you're back to closed throttle and on the brakes.

One thing about arguing with liberals I always forget, they are never wrong. Sooner or later, I'll learn to just let you go on in your utopia world, and I'll go about my business happily elsewhere. Sorry for the inconvenience.

richontheroad
User Rank
Iron
Dont need to. Just follow Europe
richontheroad   4/12/2012 9:31:35 AM
I worked for a manufacturer of nitrogen inflation systems. We were laughing all the way to the bank at the knuckleheads who thought it had any impact on anything other than our sales numbers.

A Toyota Prius is offered in low emissions diesel in the UK and gets 50% better gas mileage than in the US. The lowest emmision combustion engine in the world is an Audi diesel.

My 1987 Honda Accord got 33 mpg. a 2012 Honda Accord gets 33 mpg and is now referred to as fuel efficient 25 years later.

This whole CAFE standards thing is an absolute farce used only to promote auto sales and union votes.  

benmlee2
User Rank
Gold
Re: Dont need to. Just follow Europe
benmlee2   4/12/2012 10:41:59 AM
NO RATINGS
When European cars get imported here, we always get the biggest engine. Is always the V6 or turbo 4. We never get the 1 or 1.4 liter. That is an easy low hanging fruit. So you don't win at the drag race, but is fine 99% of the time sitting in traffic.  

wade
User Rank
Bronze
fuel
wade   4/12/2012 10:16:34 AM
as to the fuel comment in the article.  diesel has the same btu's as gasoline, BUT the conversion to power/work is more efficient for diesel.  europe has taken a different approach to the overall efficiency issue and gets a lot larger/faster car for a similar fuel economy car here.  yes, small diesel/diesel hybrid production cars already acheive the 50+ mpg targets. 

the calculation that is needed is btu unit cost for each fuel vs the distance per unit mass. i.e CSX advertises 1 gal of diesel will move one ton of freight 100 miles.

note: i really wish the govt would stay away from dictating MPG in favor of adding a tax to the fuel or adding a tax to the engine sizes.  this seems to work well in other countries by helping to finance public transportation options AND allowing the auto market to work with supply and demand priciples.

RNDDUDE
User Rank
Platinum
Re: fuel
RNDDUDE   4/12/2012 10:33:48 AM
The basic engineering of ICE's has improved tremendiously, right up to the point of ignition. The reason that some high-mileage vehicle models haven't seemed to vastly improve in the last twenty years is due to the triple effect of the following....

stringent emission requirements (a good thing for overall air quality), probably the biggest factor in offsetting mpg potential.

crashworthiness requirements (another good thing that requires more materials and thus more weight to achieve),

consumer demand for more of everything....electric everything from seats, media, lighting, which means more parasitic drag and more electronic weight due to motors and copper.

There is no way I would trade my 2011 Jetta Sportwagen Diesel that gets 45 mpg and a wonderful driving experience for a car like the old VW Rabbit diesel just to get and additional 5-8 mpg, and neither would the vast majority of buyers.

kleetus
User Rank
Silver
Re: fuel
kleetus   4/12/2012 11:54:03 AM
NO RATINGS
Gasoline does not have the same BTU value as gasoline... not even close. If that were the case, you could use it in a diesel assuming you could get the detonation issue under control. Diesels will run on almost anything that burn... even molasses... ask Alis Chalmers (or was it Case back in the early 20's-30's)... they had an ad campaign that capitalized on that. Except for the one farmer that literally ran molasses in it, their reps changed filters nearly weekly, but it did in fact work and did the job.

We do NOT need another tax on the consumer for anything. One has to ask the question again, what is the point of these ridiculous numbers for MPG? Is it to save the environment, consume less oil, or control the masses? I would wager my life on choice #3.

I can't wait to see the tractor trailer that gets 56MPG, and can haul more than just the operator. Why aren't those big truck manufactures being harassed about their numbers too?  All the new emissions standards have cut the MPGs of those trucks in half or worse, and reliability is a thing of the past.

So I ask you again, what exactly IS the purpose of this anyway?

TOP
User Rank
Gold
Technologies that will improve today's cars
TOP   4/12/2012 11:09:19 AM
NO RATINGS
I have been interested in obtaining the best milage possible from every car I have owned. Most of the burden for optimizing milage has been placed on the automakers. This is just not right. I am all for the automakers using every drop of fuel efficiently but there are other 800 pound gorillas in the room.

Drivers. I always get a kick out of the guys that blow past me in town only to catch up with them at the next light and perhaps even pass them because I didn't have to stop, just slow down for the light to change. It's the same on the open highway. I frequently observe others who fly past me several times on a trip.

One of my biggest bugaboos with drivers is the lack of attention at lights. While many people seem reticent to stop at red lights these days, it is even worse when people wait an inordinate amount of time at a green light to even begin moving. This increases the number of cars idling at a light.

Drivers also can control the amount of fuel they use by simply planning trips to minimize the use of fuel. They can also plan the use of vehicles so the compact car and not the pickup/SUV is used for commuting.

Highways: You can talk about intelligent highways, but in truth much could be done with current technology by requiring cities to time lights and create variable speed limits so cars don't have to stop down. Round abouts also prevent idling and unnecessary stop/start cycles. Cities should have to show some kind of optimization of fuel milage in their road planning including drastic plans to prevent freeway traffic speed from dropping below 30mph.

One technology you didn't mention for vehicles is maintaining constant drive train temperatures. Automatic transmissions do this now. Extend this to final drives and perhaps even wheel bearings and less viscous lubricants can be used meaning big improvements in milage for the 2 mile trip to the grocery store in colder climates.

Oscar Larson
User Rank
Iron
54.5 MPG Too hard? Ha! Go back to the future.
Oscar Larson   4/12/2012 11:38:44 AM
NO RATINGS
Back in the 60's, Austin did a promotional tour of the USA, with the original Mini, and averaged 50 MPG.  You know the one, 10 foot long box with no thought to areodynamics, 850cc, bathtub shaped combustion chamber, drooling SU carb.  Lucas, the prince of darkness made the ignition, charging system, and the fuel pump, I don't know which was less reliable, all three required frequent attention.  Voted second most important car of all time, after the Ford Model T.

Talk about your conspiracy theories, try Googling " 1973 opel 376.59 mpg".  I am wondering how come I never heard of that back in the day?

I have gotten 64.6 MPG from my '81 VW Rabbit Diesel, and hope to get it to 75 MPG.  VW has substantially improved the engine by going to TDI, and the Aerodynamics Design, and used the improvements to allow a much larger car, like the beloved VW Jetta Diesel Sportwagon to be far more comfortable, safer, and get 50 MPG, even though it is much bigger and heavier.  VW's two seat tandem prototype from a couple of years age was doing 240 MPG.

I am not worried about the auto makers hitting the CAFE targets, but I agree with the previous suggestion, that it should be a fuel tax, and the free market, that gets us there.



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