Thursday 8 October 2015

Five things that could make cleaner, greener cars

Published 20/08/2014 | 02:30

There is relentless pressure to make cars more fuel-efficient
There is relentless pressure to make cars more fuel-efficient

IT is hardly rocket science that we are going to get more efficient cars. But it will take something like rocket science to make them.

Autocar has produced an interesting report that picks out the five key developments that it reckons will make the cars of the next 20 years so much more efficient.

Considering the pace of technological advances, and the continuous lowering of emission levels by regulatory authorities over the past 20 years, that is hardly a surprise.

It is claimed these five new technologies will help knock the average emissions on your everyday car to below 90g/km.

New EU emissions laws come into force in 2020. Here's what Autocar reckons will lead the way to help meet them.

• Coasting: We have this on some models fitted with dual-clutch automatic gearboxes. The next step is for a car travelling under 64kmh. The dream would be to decouple the transmission and shut down the engine when going downhill, cruising at speed, or coming up to traffic lights on the verge of going red.

• Electric turbochargers: They use a powerful fan to blow air through the turbo when the engine is decelerating to spin the turbo fan so there is a full boost when the accelerator is pressed again.

• Flywheels: A flywheel system to drive the rear wheels of a front-wheel-drive car is currently in testing. They could catch on because they can store waste energy and then release it, like an electric motor and battery. And they cost a lot less than hybrid set-ups.

• Variable Compression Ratio Engines: Basically an engine's compression ratio changes in line with the level of demand.

• Enclosed Wheel Wells: These would reduce air resistance or 'drag'.

It's all a bit 'wait-and-see' but one thing is sure: emissions regulations will NOT go away.

Irish Independent

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