There is a new viewing pervading much of the automotive sector and that involves the continuing development of electric cars. Most people are under the impression that this is the new standard in driving and that it is just a matter of time before the road is filled with these types of vehicles. Major car manufacturers are putting a lot of their eggs in this basket.
But there are still those thinkers who feel that with some different ideas, the electric car would not be necessary at all. While at first glance this would appear to be radical thinking, undoing much of the manufacturing methods that have become standard would have to be done with the newer electric models. The Federal Government has mandated that fuel economy has to be improved in today’s models, so improving these existing autos can actually save both time and money if applied in the right areas.
A new investigation initiated by the NRC (National Research Council) found that fuel consumption could be radically reduced by combining some of the readily available technology methods right now. There would also be no detrimental effects on safety or performance.
Rough estimates indicate that savings of up to 29% can be accomplished in larger cars with the conventional methods of ignition. Consumers could only expect to pay a little more than two thousand dollars for this type of improvement. Another avenue involves using diesel engines instead of the standard spark plug models. This could realize a 37% increase in fuel economy while boosting the cost by almost six thousand dollars. Since the conventional spark ignition type engines will be around for at least fifteen years in the United States, engineers are looking at ways to reduce the amount of fuel that is being consumed.
Some of the modifications already in the works include smaller motors, improvements in engine design, reduction in friction and more efficient cooling methods.
Some engineers are looking at the deactivation of cylinders in larger models with overhead valve motors. This method can be extremely effective in 6 and 8 cylinder models, reducing fuel consumption up to ten percent. Some technologies have been borrowed from the racing circuit; including the use of turbo chargers and stoichiometric direct injection of fuel. Combined, these not only will reduce fuel consumption, but actually increase engine performance.
Savings can also be realized by using advanced level compression ignition diesel engines which will be available in models as early as the 2011 model year. This could means as much as thirteen percent better fuel economy in a larger vehicle.
Hybrids are also thought to be one of the most useful ways to improve engine performance and improve fuel savings. Depending on how much new technology is implemented and the vehicle’s size, the benefit can be around fifty percent in gasoline efficiency. Most of the hybrid vehicles have been designed with different body styles intended to drastically reduce wind drag and reduce resistance to inertia.
As hybrid vehicles move forward, the improvements are expected to come from the areas of battery and power train components.
There are critics on both sides of the aisle who will argue the merits of the electric car. It has been thought that their time is at hand and that the market will be flooded in less than 15 years. But that is still one half of a generation and since improvements still have to be made in battery performance, the electric car is still far from a sure thing.
This makes improving the internal combustion engine all the more vital. This can also make it easier to let the technology of the electric vehicle advance at a more gradual pace, allowing price to drop further.
This isn’t just about one particular car, but the overall general health of an entire market segment.
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