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Old 12-11-2007, 09:15 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Blackfly - '98 Geo Metro
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Canada's ecoAuto feebate program leads auto makers to tweak models for better MPG

It seems we finally have the answer (or part of it) as to what Honda Canada did to the Fit to improve its efficiency enough to squeak it past the rebate threshold.

Answer: "smart" alternator control.

We see other vehicles being modified with everything from LRR tires, to lighter alloy rims, to aerodynamic tweaks such as roof rack deletes and deck lip spoilers, and software upgrades that remap automatic transmission shift points.


Big Auto's race to get green

This summer, Honda Motor Co. Ltd. [HMC-N] had some fuel consumption changes to test on its best-selling car in Canada. Success would mean qualifying for Ottawa's new $1,000 feebate scheme and higher sales. The trouble was the changes needed to be put to a winter test.

So Honda's engineers went to find winter, in New Zealand, with new models in tow. The 1.8-litre Civic with a five-speed manual transmission had low-rolling-resistance tires, new panels under the chassis to improve airflow, new alloy wheels and a spoiler. The goal was to get to 6.5 litres of gas or less for every 100 kilometres travelled. They made it.

The Civic is one of 28 gasoline-powered 2008 model-year vehicles eligible for the credit. That's a significant increase from the 17 vehicles that generated rebates in the 2007 model year in a program that all auto makers but one have criticized as distorting the market and giving preference to buyers of vehicles from Toyota Canada Inc. [TM-N]

But even as they were blasting Transport Canada's ecoAuto rebate scheme and lobbying to have it overturned, vehicle companies were working feverishly on changes that got some vehicles on the rebate list, or eliminated levies of up to $4,000 on the penalty side of the federal program.
And specifically regarding the Fit:

The subcompact Honda Fit will also make the list after missing the rebate for the 2007 model year by a 10th of a litre at 6.6 litres per 100 kilometres travelled. In the case of the Fit, the alternator is on continuously in Canada to recharge the battery and power daytime running lights, using more gas than if the alternator were to run intermittently. Honda Canada will install an alternator for the U.S. market in its Canadian Fit models. It doesn't run constantly, thus saving the tiny amount of fuel needed.
read more:

Latest mods: 3-cylinder Mitsubishi Mirage. EcoMods now in progress...
Ecodriving test:
Manual vs. automatic transmission MPG showdown

has launched a forum for the efficient new Mitsubishi Mirage - fuel efficiency info for Geo Metro owners - electric car conversion on a beer budget
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