- Alfa Romeo
- Aston Martin
- Land Rover
Every car, whether it has a big V8 engine or an electric motor powering the wheels, is being equipped with fuel saving technologies.
Recall variable-valve timing. Introduced on the Acura NSX, and at one time a revolutionary technology, now practically all cars have some form of VVT. Now more technologies are being introduced as innovations for saving fuel. Let’s take a look at some of the more important and popular features being introduced on new models; many of which will soon be as prevalent as variable valve timing.
Fuel economy numbers are more important now than ever before, as gas prices continue to rise in North America.
An impressively high number, even a class-leading car like the Hyundai Elantra, which gets 40 mpg highway, only achieves an average of 33 mpg. While the exact fuel economy figures have yet to be released and a 40 mpg highway rating is still in sight, when the Dart (above) goes on sale later this year it most certainly will not get 40 mpg average; not in real world driving and not even on the window sticker.
Dodge wasn’t wrong. They’re not even entirely to blame. If fact, they were just using a different testing method to get their fuel economy numbers. Or to put it more accurately, they weren’t even doing the testing. So why would a different testing method be used? It’s a long and complex story, but the gist of it is that according to a government mandate, in order for Fiat to take control of Chrysler it needed achieve three goals, the final one being building a 40 mpg car on American soil. Being government related, that number is a CAFE number, not an EPA number. What’s the difference? Read on.
As part of Ford‘s “One World” plan, a single platform will be used across all markets worldwide. While we reap the benefits with the all-new Focus and C-Max, there can be trade-offs when different markets require different attributes in a vehicle. With the Ford Vertrek Concept, unveiled today at the Detroit Auto Show, the Blue Oval is hoping to synchronize the very American Escape SUV, and the equally European Kuga compact crossover.
Already popular in Europe, start-stop technology is about to become more common-place in North America – especially if you drive a Ford.
Common in hybrids, start-stop systems shut off the engine when the vehicle comes to a rest and immediately fires it up again the second the brakes are released so there’s no delay in power deliver when the driver reaches for the gas. Those few seconds when the engine is off add up, especially when you combine all the stop-signs, red lights and stop-and-go traffic. Some automakers claim the resulting fuel economy savings is as much as 10 percent – although it’s certain to vary depending on the type of driving you do.
Ford has announced it will expand its use of start-stop technology into its non-hybrid cars and crossovers, starting in 2012. It’s not year clear, however, which vehicles will be the first to receive the upgrade or if it will be limited to higher-dollar EcoBoost models – which is certainly a possibility.
Until changes are made to the U.S. government’s EPA testing procedures the use of start-stop technology won’t improve fuel economy numbers on paper, but real world improvements will be noted. And with Ford making this push, it will only be time before other automakers follow suit and the EPA tests begin to take start-stop technology into account.
Official release after the jump:
Hyundai and its subsidiary Kia will both look to bring start-stop technology to its model lineup in North America in 2012. Start-stop technology is already popular in Europe, allowing the engine to shut off at stop lights or wen in traffic. It’s also part of most modern hybrid setups, allowing the green-machines to get the impressive fuel economy they do. The improvement in fuel economy is said to be roughly 3 percent – which isn’t much, but ever little bit counts.
To help make its goal of a 20 percent reduction in fuel consumption by 2012, Audi has just released some new technologies for its vehicles, while expanding some existing fuel-efficiency features across its product rage.
Audi’s three systems, (some new and some not-so-new) include a Start-Stop manual transmission, an Energy Recovery System and what Audi calls an “Efficiency Program.”
The Start-Stop system will first appear in 1.4-liter A3 models in Europe and will soon expand to A4 and A5 models equipped with the 2.0 TFSI engine. The system works for manual transmission cars, shutting off the engine when the car comes to a stop – thus saving gas instead of having the car sit idle at a light or in traffic. The Start-Stop system is activated by the clutch pedal, stopping the engine when the clutch is disengaged and restarting the engine as soon as the driver touches the pedal again. Audi will also offer a button to turn the system off.
This system should make its way into other manual transmission cars soon and it’s likely a similar setup for automatic transmission models will arrive shortly as well.
Secondly, Audi will offer an Energy Recovery System in more of its models. Currently it is standard on the 1.4 TFSI A3, A6, Q5, Q7, as well as the A4 and A5 Coupe/Cabriolet equipped with the 2.0 TFSI with the manual transmission.
This system works by temporarily storing the energy generated under deceleration and then feeding it back into the electric system. This added electricity therefore means less energy has to be generated by the alternator, which means it doesn’t have to draw as much from the engine.
The final new item is Audi’s Efficiency Program, which works though a series of displays on the dash to inform the driver how to improve fuel economy. It will provide different fuel-saving tips, including telling the driver what gear it is best to be in and at what point shifts should be made.
Audi believes this system might be one of the most beneficial as is claims 30 percent of fuel consumption is based on driving style.
Official release after the jump: