Fuel-saving ideas are all around

What a change from the accursed days of the Powerglide http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Powerglide
Fuel-saving ideas are all around http://tinyurl.com/2d9j7o2
The first modern mass-market electric cars will cause a sensation when the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf go on sale later this year, but a quiet revolution in engines and transmissions promises to save vast amounts of oil in the decades before electric vehicles rule the road.
Even electric vehicles' ardent supporters concede EVs will only be a tiny slice of the total vehicle fleet for years to come, but Chrysler, Ford, GM and Volkswagen are poised to deploy fuel-saving systems in millions of vehicles. Some are already on the road. Many more will be within a year.
Here are a few of the technologies to watch for:
Turbocharging
Direct gasoline injection
Diesel engines
Automatic transmissions with eight speeds and more
Dual-clutch transmissions
None of those gizmos provides the surreal EPA ratings Chevrolet and Nissan expect when the Volt and Leaf electric cars go on sale later this year -- 230 m.p.g. and 367 m.p.g., respectively.
The technologies are here today, though. Vehicles that offer them now or will by the end of this year include the Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Fiesta and Taurus and VW Jetta. Others that will hit the road shortly include the Buick Regal, Cadillac XTS and ATS, Chevrolet Aveo and Spark, Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, Fiat 500 and Ford Edge, Explorer and F-150.
Before 2015, you can reasonably expect that every new car and truck will feature some of these technologies.
The result will be fuel economy no one dreamt of as little as a decade ago, including midsize sedans that achieve better than 40 m.p.g. and compacts to reach 50 m.p.g.
Even Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn -- electric vehicles' most outspoken and optimistic booster -- predicts EVs will account for no more than one in 10 new cars by 2020. By that time, smarter, more-efficient engines and transmissions will be common.
Here's a primer on where they'll show up first.
Eight-speed transmissions. Already available on BMW and Jaguar luxury cars, they'll go mainstream next year when Audi starts installing them in nearly every vehicle it builds. In 2013, Chrysler is to begin building them in Indiana. Look for them in Ram trucks and the 300 and Charger sedans.
Dual-clutch transmissions. Already available in the Fiesta, coming soon to Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep. A six-speed dual-clutch gearbox helps the subcompact Fiesta get 40 m.p.g. on the highway. They use computer controls to change the gears of a transmission that has most of the same parts as a manual gearbox. There's no clutch pedal, however. The driver can leave the selector in drive while the computer handles the shifting.
Turbocharging and direct injection. Already available in the Ford Taurus SHO, Lincoln MKS and a wide range of Audis and VWs, this combination boosts the power of small engines. That lets automakers use smaller and more fuel-efficient engines without sacrificing performance. A DI turbo engine will lift the roomy Chevy Cruze's EPA rating to 40 m.p.g. Ford already uses the system with V6s and will add it to four-cylinder engines to reduce fuel consumption in the new 2011 Explorer. Look for it to become common in all sizes of vehicles.
Diesel. European automakers lead in this technology, which combines good acceleration with excellent fuel economy. Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and VW will promote their diesels heavily. American and Asian companies have bet more heavily on electric vehicles and improving gasoline engines' fuel efficiency. If electric vehicles do account for 10% of the market by 2020, it's a safe bet that they'll outsell diesel cars here by a wide margin.
The future may belong to electric vehicles, but there's plenty of improvement yet to come from internal combustion engines.
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Anything less than 100 mpg or even 200 mpg is not very interesting. The real way to go is to go all electric. In a real electric you do not need any transmission nor any other of the thousand moving parts.
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On 27/06/2010 11:22 AM, Bjorn wrote:

I have no doubt someday electric, 100% electric vehicles will be the mainstay of transportation. No doubt at all.
But to do so we need a storage battery that can hold more than 40 miles at top speed. And one that isn't going to cost an arm and a leg or need a Rockerfeller type budget to buy.
Makes sense, no transmission, 4 wheel electric drive and if one moter burns, have it replaced t Walmart for $100.
But until that battery arives, doubtful.
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Once again our goofy friend Canuck57 is telling us the sky is falling LOL
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One tends to forget the cost of gasoline goes up in proportion to the average fuel economy ratings. After CAFE the price went from 25C a gallon in the seventies, to $1.85 in ten years.
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In the UK, Just about every diesel is turbocharged and most are also intercooled.

Common on all VW and related makes, also used in many Japanese cars.

Already about a third of the car market, and everything else on the roads.

Only in vehicles like Mercedes, otherwise all autoboxes are very rare here

Just about all VW and related makes have this as an option for many years, now getting increasingly common on other makes. Really though, the dual multi-plate wet clutch is dying out in favour of the single dry plate clutch but still the same dual gearbox which is what counts.
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