Innovations in conventional combustion engine technology can offer dramatic improvements in fuel economy.
There is a large and growing demand for these highly efficient combustion engine technologies. These technologies include downsized engines that use turbochargers to add horsepower and 6 or 7 speed automatic transmissions.
Novel innovations are also coming to market to help improve the performance of this new generation of cars. One example of a simple novel technology is what is known as active grille shutters. The shutters open to allow engine cooling, but close when not needed to improve aerodynamic air flow. Such shutters are expected to appear on the 2013 Malibu Eco.
American automakers should have been producing these types of vehicles decades ago. The truth is, even as the Japanese began to eat into America’s automotive market in the 70s, Detroit’s Big Three did not react. It took bankruptcies, higher gas prices and pending new regulations to get the American automotive industry to start producing fuel efficient engines.
This is a case of too little too late as the combustion engine is approaching the beginning of the end of its life cycle.
Internal combustion engines spew emissions into the atmosphere and make us dependent on foreign oil. These cars burn gasoline at an average rate of one gallon every 20 miles. Even if they were to average 30 mpg, this is not comparable to the superior fuel efficiency and lower emissions profile of hybrid electric vehicles’.
Even though smaller, more fuel efficient cars are selling well, these vehicles are bridge technologies that are leading to cars that have little or no emissions at all.
© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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