Top 5 Car Technologies that Improve Fuel Economy

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Fuel economy has now become the most significant concern of consumers as well as automakers across the globe. This can be attributed primarily to the increasing gas prices in international markets. In addition to this, governments are also pushing automakers to develop ‘green’ technologies to save the environment, which can only be achieved by producing vehicles with low carbon emissions.

Compact cars have always been than larger vehicles, but this is not always true. In fact, mid-sized cars may offer the same fuel economy as small cars if they use efficient fuel-saving technologies. Given below are the top five technologies which have really helped improve the fuel economy of modern cars.

Hybrid Powertrains

Hybrid engine technology is a breakthrough in reducing fuel consumption. Since its introduction, the automakers have been refining and fine-tuning this technology. It is not only being deployed by , but is also helping high performance sports cars to achieve superior fuel economy. The latest sports cars equipped with hybrid powertrains include McLaren P1, Ferrari LaFerrari and BMW i8. So, how does this work?

Hybrid powertrain is based on a gasoline engine, paired with an electric motor and lithium-ion batteries. When a car is traveling at a low pace in urban areas, it is completely driven by the electric motor that draws its power from the batteries, while the gasoline engine is only engaged when  a defined speed limit is reached. Even beyond this speed, the electric motor and engine collectively provide power to the car, hence dividing load and cutting down on fuel consumption considerably.

Turbocharged Engines

Most automakers are now employing turbocharged engines in their latest cars to increase engine output and reduce fuel consumption simultaneously. When a turbocharger is coupled with an engine, it recovers the waste energy in the exhaust and feeds it back to the engine intake. This ensures full utilization of fuel to draw maximum energy out of it.

Dual-Clutch Transmissions

A (DCT) serves many purposes when mated to a car’s engine; quick gearshift and dynamic acceleration being the most significant ones. Therefore, DCT technology offers significantly improved fuel economy. It is a type of automatic transmission that allows the driver to manually change the gear at will. It has two separate clutches for odd and even gear sets, enclosed within a single housing and working as one unit. The question is how this technology helps enhance fuel efficiency of an engine?

DCT ensures an uninterrupted flow of power from a car’s engine to its transmission. In fact, many experts claim that a six-speed DCT is 10 percent more fuel efficient than a regular five-speed manual transmission.

Idle Stop Feature

Idle stop or start-stop feature is an intelligent system installed in a car to shut down its internal combustion engine when the car is stationary, regardless of the ignition being on. The engine is restarted as soon as you lift your foot from the brake pedal. This mechanism helps reduce fuel consumption in situations where you are stuck in a traffic jam, or hit a lot of red lights en route.

Electric powered Steering and Air Conditioning

Hydraulic steering systems and conventional air conditioners create a drag on the engine to build pressure, which in turn causes the engine to consume more fuel. Automakers have addressed this issue by introducing electric powered steering and air conditioning system to shift this burden more towards the electric motor. Not only does this increase fuel economy, but it also ensures smoother steering and better air conditioning.

Technologists have developed several other automotive technologies to enhance fuel economy in modern automobiles. Moreover, all major automakers have their R&Ds working towards achieving further milestones in this regard. In fact, a report explains how certain automakers, threatened by the advent of these technologies, the mileage of some of their small cars.

Thanks to all these advancements, a car’s smaller size has become almost irrelevant in determining its fuel efficiency; and to suggest otherwise is naïve at best.

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