Okay. I know that a majority of the users on this forum are successful members of society, who contribute, have jobs, families (maybe), and a decent enough standing. My question to you, first, is this: What is your opinion on the rising price of crude, and the effect it is having on the global economy? i.e Food, clothing, transportation of goods?
The second opinion I'd like to ask of you is this: We all need cars to get to and fro. However, with gas the way it is, how are we supposed to effectivley get to work, without spending half the check on gas? Which leads me to the third question: Fuel Economic cars. They're ugly. They're not fun, with a few exceptions. In a moment, I will update my post with said vehicles, and post the fourth question (Amusing electric storm is ocuring, please hold.)
Along with the vehicles mentioned, there, I have also found several other innovations. Among these, are as follows: Direct Injection, Active Fuel Management, and Lithium Ion batteries.
I want to show you all my next vehicle:
Now, many of you are probably going "What? Is he insane? That is a muscle car with a huge gas sucking V8!" Which, is true. Except for 'gas sucking' part. This highlights the first part of my point. Even though V8's are quickly becoming unpopular for gas reasons, many automotive companies are implementing some version of controlled cylinder deactivation. Such as the 5.7 HEMI found in the Challenger. When at cruising speeds, such as on the highway, four cylinders shut down, allowing less gas to be consumed, while retaining power on demand. Another vehicle this is in use in, which I drive daily at the moment, is my 2007 Monte Carlo SS. It's a FWD V8, which sounds silly. But. I achieve 22 miles per gallon, which is decent for me.
Now, while 22 mpg doesn't sound exactly wonderful, for a 3800 pound vehicle, with a large V8, it's not that bad. And considering many people I know won't buy anything BUT a V8, I see this as a useful solution for those of us who want performance AND gas mileage. Which brings me to question 3 -
For you Euro-people, how do you view the large American engines, if there are any of you here? Below is my compilation of the most recent fuel-savers, from various companies
Alternative Fuel, and Us
I will plainly state the main idea for this thread\paper, here and now. It is to review, define, and generally create a writeup of the new fuel types, different technologies coming in to play, and various ways in which we can improve mileage, keep power, and be kinder to the enviroment, without losing performance. I will start out with a small guide to the new forms of fuel, and types of power plants for vehicles
E85: E-85 ethanol is used in engines modified to accept higher concentrations of ethanol. Such flexible-fuel engines are designed to run on any mixture of gasoline or ethanol with up to 85% ethanol by volume. The primary differences from non-FFVs is the elimination of bare magnesium, aluminum, and rubber parts in the fuel system, the use of fuel pumps capable of operating with electrically conductive (ethanol) instead of non-conducting dielectric (gasoline) fuel, specially-coated wear-resistant engine parts, fuel injection control systems having a wider range of pulse widths (for injecting approximately 40% more fuel), the selection of stainless steel fuel lines (sometimes lined with plastic), the selection of stainless steel fuel tanks in place of terne fuel tanks, and, in some cases, the use of acid-neutralizing motor oil. For vehicles with fuel-tank mounted fuel pumps, additional differences to prevent arcing, as well as flame arrestors positioned in the tank's fill pipe, are also sometimes used.
Flex Fuel: A flexible-fuel vehicle (FFV) or dual-fuel vehicle (also sometimes called only flex-fuel) is an automobile that can typically use different sources of fuel, either mixed in the same tank or with separate tanks and fuel systems for each fuel. A common example is a vehicle that can accept gasoline mixed with varying levels of bioethanol (gasohol). Some cars carry a natural gas tank making it possible switch back and forth from regular gasoline to natural gas.
Fuel Cell: A fuel cell is an electrochemical energy conversion device. It produces electricity from various external quantities of fuel (on the anode side) and oxidant (on the cathode side). These react in the presence of an electrolyte. Generally, the reactants flow in and reaction products flow out while the electrolyte remains in the cell. Fuel cells can operate virtually continuously as long as the necessary flows are maintained.
Electric Car: Electric cars, such as the Chevrolet Volt, and the Tesla Roadster, are vehicles which can be plugged in to a standard 120v house outlet, to allow a small battery to charge. These vehicles can run various distances with just the electricity (For the Volt; about 40-45 miles on just electricity), while also running on gas when required (Some highway travel).
What this means to us? Well..
What does all this mean to the up and coming enviroment friendly car industry? It means smaller engines, better emissions ratings, and over-all, more fuel efficient vehicles. I've found a few examples of each company making a move to take advantage of this newest trend in vehicle technology. Let us start, with Ford.
Ford has recently released news on a new type of engine it is currently working on, The Ford Eco-Boost, which features factory turbocharging
, and direct-fuel-injection
. The first public example of this type of technology being implemented can be seen in the 2008 MKZ. It is a six cylinder, sporting a twin-turbocharged engine, with direct-injection, making roughly 320 horses. For a smaller emissions foot print, this is amazing. A V6 making the power of a V8, with better fuel mileage! However.. This claimed toating of 'better milleage' has yet to be seen, and it is estimated only a one or two MPG gain will be seen with this new technology. However, over time, all things improve, and so, I expect, will this. ||Link to article where information was taken - TheMustangNews.com - Ford's New EcoBoost Direct Injection Engines
And then, we have Chevrolet. Chevrolet, while promoting fuel cells, has developed the widely popular Chevrolet Volt. This is one of the industries first "Electric Cars" available to the common person, and it can travel up to 45 miles on just it's battery. While it does run on gas, it is capable of running on both E85, and normal fuel, making it worthy of a "Flex Fuel" title. What is most interesting about this vehicle, is the fact that it only takes 6.5 hours to charge, and will serve you on battery alone, for those 40-miles, easily making your daily commute if you work close by. It is powered by a 3-cylinder, 1 litre engine, with a small turbocharger allowing it to reach speeds of 120mph for limited periods of time. On the highway, it boasts between 120-200 miles per gallon, running on E85 and it's small battery. After passing the 40-mile mark on the battery, It uses the combustion engine to generate electricity for the electric motors propelling the car when needed. On a personal note, I have to say that Chevrolet has made the single most appealing "Alternative Fuel" vehicle I have seen.
Following with Dodge (Including Mercedes and Chrsyler) we have a few different things. First off, we have the new Mercedes BluTec, which will be offered both as diesel, and later on, as pure-electric. Specific to Dodge, we have the cylinder de-activation, akin to what Chevrolet and Ford also have.
The GL320 shown to the left (Or above), will be one of the first vehicles outfitted with the Bluetec system.
Moving right along to Japan and the Asian Market, we have seen quite a few of these highly-efficient designs.
Starting with Mitsubishi: It seems that in the asian market, small, electric cars are the thing. This brings me to the Mitsubishi iMiEV Electric Car. Featuring a fully electric setup, this car has no combustion engine. As is common, the foreign market has taken an interesting look at this new type of vehicle. The iMiEV features two very interesting things: Two small wind turbines in the front grill, along with two small solar panels to charge the Ion-Lithium batteries. Each front wheel has a motor specific to it, creating 26hp a piece, and the rear wheels have a single motor between them making 36 horsepower. This gives the vehicle the AWD classification, which seems to be a one-of-a-kind from Mitsubishi. Originally, using a 100 volt charger, you could charge the vehicle in roughly 17 hours to a full charge. But, as the vehicle developed, so too did the charging capabilities. With a 200 volt charger, an 85% charge can be obtained in just under 40 minutes.