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Old 11-29-2009, 08:32 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Lowest aero CD.

Lowest rolling resistance tires.

These are obvious.

The power train is where the best improvements can be made.

Capacitive storage of engine produced energy, regardless of the primary fuel consuming source.

Battery electric

Infinitely Variable Transmissions.
Allow precise applications of energy to compensate for overall losses. Storage of energy and IVT's allow application and recovery of energy to be highly efficient as well as very effective at regeneration.

Electrical regeneration is very poor efficiency wise, generally recognized as in the range of 30%. Hydraulic regeneration is currently approaching 80%.

If hydraulic drives can get to 85+% then you are matching the efficiency of conventional drive trains while having the capability to apply and recover energy to the vehicle without compromising maximum engine efficiency. This is a proven technique for separating engine efficiency from vehicle efficiency.

Consumable fuel should only be used to restore capacitive energy reserves, regardless of the consumable energy source.

Capacitive storage allows the vehicle to pulse&glide itself automatically without any driver input. Make the vehicle P&G itself.

Capacitive storage using hydraulic accumulators is currently at 99% (not a misprint) efficiency. You can not get better than that, and batteries will never do the job.

Step one is launch assist, using the undriven wheels and a small accumulator that has just enough capacity to store the energy from a single 60-0 stop. The stored energy, reapplied to the vehicle at 85% efficiency means that portion of the next acceleration event will require no fuel to be used. This applies even to electrically driven vehicles and could be the range extending solution to the electric car. This is especially true in urban stop and go scenarios where electric cars will be utilized, while battery technology is advancing to the point where it eventually will replace IC primary power sources.

While current electric vehicle advocates think there is no necessity for a power train, most researchers realize that some form of transmission will be necessary to allow downsizing of the primary electric motor drive.

The problem is any transmission has to be extremely efficient or the benefits will not outweigh the losses involved.

This is why I advocate accumulators, or flywheels for capacitive energy storage. Long term storage in vehicles is an unnecessary capacity. The key is to be able to apply and recover inertial losses in a very short period of time, at an extremely high rate of efficiency.

Accumulators and flywheels have life expectancies measured in decades, while batteries are measured in thousands of cycles. Bladder type accumulators are easily rebuild able.
Batteries are very expensive to replace, and when that is considered as offsetting the fuel saved the payback period is a very long time, if ever.

My in-wheel IVT design is the result of knowledge dating back to 1970, when I first read about an Opel Kadett wagon that got 124 MPG while averaging 26 MPH, very close to the current EPA city cycle average speed. To achieve that mileage in a car that would probably get 35MPG if driven normally, makes it obvious that the dramatic increase in mileage was due to more than increasing the engines efficiency, by close to 100%.

Argonne labs is currently working on engine designs, with a goal of achieving 60% efficiency, This will require some form of energy conversion from wasted heat energy losses from the engine, as well as operational tactics that eliminate any inefficient operation of the engine.

Cars should be made simple, with plug in accessory capabilities. The basic platform would be the most basic transportation, with all accessories being plug & play. This allows the purchaser to chose exactly the accessory packages they desire, and upgrading to more accessories is a very simple job.

The next generations will consider vehicles as just another appliance. I see fuel economies in 2200 pound 4 passenger cars approaching 150 MPG in 20 years. If battery technology ever replaces oil based fuels then the changeover to all electric will be complete within 20 years of that event.

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