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Bernard
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Davemart, "the 50% of people with nowhere to plug a car in" I'm not convinced that 50% of car owners live off the grid. The lack of charging stations is a short-term problem. It can easily be remedied if there is sufficient demand.
Peterww, How exactly are you going to use full throttle for more than a few seconds? 10 seconds at wide-open throttle will likely have you driving over 160 km/h. Maintaining that speed only requires a fraction of the available power. Being a German car, it is voluntarily limited to a 250 km/h top speed, which again only requires a fraction of the total available power to maintain. I don't believe that there's much incidence of people towing heavy trailers on endless hills at 250 km/h, and I've driven on three continents in the past year. The fact is that this engine will behave like any other large 4 cylinder engine 99% of the time, while having the ability to provide an occasional "overboost." Conceptually, it's not dissimilar to a V8 engine with cylinder deactivation. The way to tell for sure is to look at the cooling system. If it's built to provide 500 hp continuously, it will have huge radiators (like inter-city transport trucks). If it has normal-sized radiators, then it's using the engine as a heat sink to absorb momentary full-power demand, and radiating that heat over time. Modern engine management software and sensors will prevent it from providing more power (and heat) than it can dissipate.
Peterww, The difference between this and a racecar engine is that this engine will only use full power for a few seconds at a time. 10 seconds of full throttle will make the car go faster than any legal speed limit, and even unrestricted top speed on the Autobahn will only require a fraction of the engine's total output: aerodynamic cars can reach 250 km/h using 150 kW or less. How does it promote green transport? Engine downsizing. You can get supercar performance using an engine that's the same size as that in a 4 cylinder Toyota Camry. There's no need to drag a huge V8 around all day and only use its full capacity for a few seconds while merging onto the freeway.
Treehugger, The Miller cycle is essentially an Atkinson cycle with supercharging. Supercharging reduces pumping losses (turbocharging is a type of supercharging), as does throttling using valve timing instead of a conventional throttle. The reason why Audi (and others) do this now is that variable valve technology has improved. Previous systems didn't have the flexibility to switch between Otto and Miller cycles. Both the Miller and Atkinson cycles work by cutting-off air intake early. This gives the engine the effective displacement of a smaller engine, while recovering more expansion energy using a disproportionally longer stroke. The problem with that (as any Prius owner will know) is that it creates a very weak, low-rev engine that needs some form of augmentation in automotive applications (battery-electric power in the case of the Prius). These new multi-cycle VVT engines allow you to retain maximum power by using the Otto cycle when you need it, and still have the efficiency of the Atkinson/Miller cycle during the 95% of the time that you don't.
Moving schools won't help. School buses are some of the worst offenders in terms of air pollution.
Harvey, The time stamp on my comment says 2015, not 2025! You mentioned "a recent Fuel Cell," which I took to mean recent past, not recent future.
A good part of the appeal of the C4 cactus is its low price. Adding a fuel cell that costs more than a house (in many parts of the world) would cancel that out. Selling tens of thousands of cheaper hybrids surely has more environmental benefit than building a hydrogen concept car and jetting it around the world to various car shows.
re: why wasn't this done already Long-haul trucks have had aerodynamic devices over their cabs for decades now, so this is a refinement of an existing concept. Most trailers that I see also have side skirts now, and aero skirts between the tractor and trailer. I'm surprised that some of the fine people on this site are unaware of these things. Compare a modern big rig to one from the 1970s and the differences will jump out at you. If anything, the trucking industry has been very welcoming of technological improvements. This includes things that are not so visible, like satellite fleet management, advanced transmissions, optimized cooling and efficient APUs. Every dollar saved in fuel costs improves competitiveness and profitability.
Davemart, By definition, half the drivers are worse than average (and the average isn't very high in the first place). It seems like a distraction to have to monitor and control these safety systems when you should be paying attention to the road. I presume that you live in an area that is infested with photo radars? If you do, then most drivers are already too busy staring at their speedometers to look at the road.
I can see this system becoming a safety liability because it prevents drivers from adjusting to road and traffic conditions. You may theoretically get fewer speeding tickets (I haven't been issued one since the last millennium, so it's not a big concern), but you can no longer place your vehicle in the safest position within the flow of traffic.
Isn't NCAP basically a "pay to play" cartel? I can see why many emerging markets don't want to get caught in that trap. That doesn't mean that they don't care about safety, or that they don't love their children.
EP: 60*60 is 3600 miles, not 360. However, your point stands: it's a very small number. A gasoline station serving so few customers would go bankrupt quickly.
The real reason for the demise of the local transmission shop is that modern transmissions are so reliable. The old 3-speed Hydramatic/Torqueflite automatics needed regular band adjustments, and were more susceptible to failure from overheating and rough handling. Modern computer-controlled transmissions avoid these issue by design. They can not be made to shift inadvisedly (over-revs, that sort of thing), and they constantly monitor fluid temps and pressures. The only maintenance left is fluid changes, which can be handled by non-specialists. There's very little money left in specializing in car transmissions, and that's why the occasional repair is done through replacement.
LAD, This transmission is compatible with hybrid drive lines (as the article states), so I'm not sure what your point is. Should ZF close-up shop just because you are enamored with electric drive? Should they ignore the 10s of millions of cars that are sold every year and concentrate on a market that is a thousand times smaller? Harvey, This transmission is designed for cars with longitudinal engines, such as the BMW 3 series mentioned in the article. The "Fiat-Chrysler 10 speed" is actually a ZF 9 speed and is designed for transversal engines. Both are very advanced transmission, but they are designed for different cars/trucks.
gor, I'm disappointed. I thought that this was finally the hybrid car that would get you to open your wallet! I don't see how asking everyone to drive old rustbuckets would help the environment, even if they promise to "drive slow." If anything, this solution would make urban air quality even worse.
Henrik, Don't worry, GM already collects all of your personal info, location, and driving habits through OnStar. They know if you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness' sake... Why charge a monthly fee for an internet connection? Because consumers don't want to pay up front for 12 years of internet in a car that they will only keep for 4 years. Given previous OnStar history, the built-in connection will probably be inoperable in 10 years, and definitely be outdated. Why pay for this when you get a choice of cheaper better services through your phone?
E-P, what are you talking about? According to the EPA, the 2015 Turbo Mustang averages 5 mpg more with an automatic and 6 mpg more with a manual. The Focus ST and Fiesta ST (which are also mentioned in the article) do even better. Obviously, there's no comparison in terms of safety, features, emissions, reliability or durability. Nothing wrong with nostalgia, but it should not prevent us from understanding facts.
To those who are pretending not to understand: it's not the fact of traffic pollution that's at issue, it's the amount and the type. Remember that Canada has publicly funded health care, so questions such as "would it make sense to divert heavy trucks during rush hour in order to prevent cancers?" make economic sense. The only way to answer this type of question is with hard data, and this study is part of that process. Ask yourselves "would you save more lives/money by tightening diesel emission controls, or by extending regional train service?" or "should heavy trucks be allowed on toll/express roads?" It's really hard to answer either question without hard data.
Harvey, FYI, the Quebec City "Écolobus" electric bus experiment has been cancelled due to high running costs (supposedly six times that of conventional buses). You have until the end of the month to take one last ride.
Harvey, Perhaps you are on the roads when the kids are in school?
Harvey, It's a school bus, metaphorically, in that it will spend most of it's (on-road) time shuttling children back and forth to school, and to the innumerable after-school activities that today's children get signed-up for. You should compare it to three-row SUVs and minivans (or to the "full size" station wagons of our youth), rather than to a normal PHEV such as a Volt or Prius.
Harvey, It may be the most efficient if you need 7-seater capacity and ground clearance. These things are used to shuttle children around, and it's hard to get more than two children in a Prius, especially if one is in a car seat. This Volvo should be wide enough to carry 3 children in the middle row, and up to two more in the back row. Of course, the video in the linked press release shows a single adult carelessly driving along the Mediterranean coast. If that's your planed usage, then the new Volvo is possibly the worse PHEV you can buy (short of a city bus).
Henrik, Automatic charging probably won't cost that much. There are lots of self-parking cars on the market right now, getting them to park near a charger is a minor software tweak. The rest of the system could be prototyped in a few days by a class of 1st year engineering students: you just need to get a known plug into a known socket. Most of the safety systems are already part of the charging interface.
I think they are on the right path targeting this at scooters and mopeds. You can't get much more mainstream than that for most inhabitants of this planet. The big question will be durability, especially as regards the apex seals. You either need to make them last the full life of the bike (at least a decade), or you need to sell them for pennies and make them easy to change with basic tools.
the first three-cylinder gasoline engine in the history of Audi Except if you consider that the first Audi was also the last DKW, a brand known for its 3 cylinder engines.