Author Topic: Meeting the New Mileage Standards: Will the Automakers Make the Cut?  (Read 897 times)

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Offline Keith

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As the deadline for fuel efficiency standards continues to shine in the headlights of many different car manufacturers, companies are trying a variety of different innovations to try and meet future standards. Engines are being updated and hybridized. Turbodiesels are becoming more common. And most manufacturers are leaving the world of big steel bodies and trying to help their fleet lose weight.

The basic physics of car acceleration is simple. Force equals mass times distance. A lighter mass of car requires less force, and therefore less fuel, to speed up and to keep in motion. So car manufacturers are looking for places to help their cars lose weight without compromising the safety standards that come with large, dent proof steel frames and bodies.

One solution has been to keep a stable chassis, but to coat it with a skin of lightweight aircraft aluminum. This allows for much of the strength to remain, but much of the weight to drop off. Others are working with companies like to find alternate strategies on the makeup of the chassis to make it stronger and lighter. Alternate body materials like carbon fiber and plastic are also being integrated into some body designs.

As the new designs roll out, the most successful new cars with customers will be those who manage to find the balance between fuel efficiency and sticker price. A lowered cost at the gas pump that is not realized because it's too expensive on the lot will likely not be very successful. However, those who hit the sweet spot will likely find new loyal customers.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2014, 07:28:39 PM by Keith »

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