EcoModder.com

EcoModder.com (https://ecomodder.com/forum/)
-   General Efficiency Discussion (https://ecomodder.com/forum/general-efficiency-discussion.html)
-   -   Article: Want cars to eat less? Put 'em on a diet (https://ecomodder.com/forum/showthread.php/article-want-cars-eat-less-put-em-diet-401.html)

MetroMPG 12-24-2007 03:54 PM

Article: Want cars to eat less? Put 'em on a diet
 
"American cars have gained weight every year. A study released by Mega Associates, reported in October in Ward's AutoWorld magazine, said the average weight of vehicles produced in the United States in 2005 was 1,823 kg, up 39 per cent from the 1990 average of 1,314 kg. "

---

This article's writer moved to Rome (from Canada), and found that even though fuel there is $2 per litre (about $7.50 / US gallon), his fuel costs haven't risen, because his new, European family car is now much more efficient.

Quote:

ROME — I am a big guy. My car, a Fiat Grande Punto, is smaller than a Volkswagen Golf. But it has a clever design. It has more than adequate interior space for the family, sporty performance thanks to a turbo engine and a sleek, undorky shape.
(^ I have to wonder if that's a Prius jab...)

Here's the Fiat Grande Punto:


Quote:

Technologically speaking, the Fiat's admirable fuel economy (by North American standards) has almost nothing to do with technology and almost everything to do with weight. It is light. At 1,170 kilograms, it is about 20 per cent lighter than a Golf and 50 per cent lighter than a Chrysler 300C, to name two popular cars sold on both sides of the Atlantic. Less weight, smaller engine; smaller engine, less fuel consumption. It doesn't get any simpler.

Car designers everywhere risk brain aneurysms trying to figure out how to meet tighter fuel economy and carbon dioxide emission standards. They're fussing and fiddling with new types of batteries, hybrid gas-electric technology, fancy fuel injection systems, fuel cells and the like. They needn't. All they have to do is put cars on a swift, brutal diet. Fiat and a couple of other European auto companies have proved that small cars can be profitable, too.

The Americans are in a panic because they don't know how to make small, light cars profitable. Since the 1980s, the bulk of their profits have come from SUVs, those technological dinosaurs that could be laden with high-profit-margin frills such as leather seats, entertainment systems and air conditioning powerful enough to cool an industrial meat locker.

The Europeans are proving that small cars don't have to be econo-boxes with the design features of a loaf of bread. They are on the verge of turning small cars into status symbols.

The bigger-is-better philosophy is dying in Europe and it has to die in North America. Small cars are better for the planet and easier on the wallet.
Read it all: Want cars to eat less?

SVOboy 12-24-2007 03:56 PM

That is indeed a sharp looking car, :thumbup:

I guess what we need is higher fuel prices, then, eh?

Silveredwings 12-24-2007 06:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SVOboy (Post 3017)
That is indeed a sharp looking car, :thumbup:

I guess what we need is higher fuel prices, then, eh?

As always (assuming they're higher at the pump).

trebuchet03 12-24-2007 11:31 PM

My father (and mother too :D) recently had a job in France -- their rental car was some form of Fiat... The people he was working with/for made fun of him for driving a "Fix it again Tony" car.... I don't know, but does Fiat have the same stigma as Ford cars + reliability?

MetroMPG 12-25-2007 09:35 PM

It definitely used to. Don't know if they've had a Hyundai-like transformation or not.

When I was really little, my family owned a Fiat for a few years, back when they used to sell them in North America. My dad ran it out of oil and seized the motor on the highway. Not sure how reliable it was before or after though (sold it to my uncle, who rebuilt it).

mohr84 06-05-2008 11:51 AM

That is a great article you have linked. The article points out that the Honda Accord has gained 590Kg over the past 28 years. That is 1300 lbs!!!! an old VW bug only weighs about 1700lbs. No wonder why fuel economy fuel economy has never improved. You are almost driving two cars! To move the massive hunk of metal down the road, Honda has increased HP from 68hp in the original Accord to a whopping 268hp in the 2008 edition.

johnpr 06-05-2008 01:30 PM

i think part of the hp increase is because that is what americans want, i would rather have a 90 hp (or 68 hp for that matter) motor in my civic than the 120 hp brute i have now

NeilBlanchard 06-05-2008 01:38 PM

Hello,

1170kg = ~2580lbs That's hardly what I would call a "lightweight" car! That's about 70kg/200lbs more than the Scion xA...

ebacherville 06-05-2008 02:04 PM

as for small cars being status symbols.. yeah look at the new MINIs .. gret mpg and small.. being eco freindly is cool now with the prius etc.. hopefully we start to see this and little cars become the norm again..

ttoyoda 06-05-2008 02:46 PM

Crash tests on it look good too..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ex8nZ...eature=related

cfg83 06-05-2008 07:55 PM

MetroMPG -

Thanks for posting a picture of the Fiat Grande Punto. That's one of my favorite "I Can't Have" European cars right now.

Fiat is on an upswing these days. They have been getting a lot of "good for the environment" press because they have been designing cars for FE. They have returned to traditional "lower tech" mods like weight reduction, taller gearing, and ECU/PCM tweaks to create the kinds of cars that Ecomodder's want.

I think the Fiat Panda is ranked among the best MPG/Eco Diesels in Europe :

Fiat Panda 1.3 Multijet Dynamic 5d
http://www.greencarsite.co.uk/GREENC...-panda-1.3.htm
http://www.greencarsite.co.uk/GREENC...nda-diesel.jpg
Quote:

The popular UK Fiat Panda range has been boosted by the arrival of tthe state-of-the-art turbodiesel featuring Fiat Auto’s widely acclaimed, Euro 4-compatible, 1.3 litre 16-valve MultiJet engine – the smallest and most advanced common rail direct injection turbodiesel in the world.

This resulta in not only the most powerful and quickest Panda in the range, but also the one with the lowest fuel consumption (65.7 mpg [Imperial?!?!?] combined official figure), lowest emissions and lowest running costs.

PS - The Grande Punto also comes in double-shot-espresso ABARTH livery too :

http://img79.imageshack.us/img79/970...s200sw1.th.jpg

CarloSW2

MetroMPG 06-05-2008 10:52 PM

One of the presenters on the British car show "5th Gear" owns a Panda, and likes to say how good it is.

cfg83 06-05-2008 11:01 PM

MetroMPG -

Quote:

Originally Posted by MetroMPG (Post 31970)
One of the presenters on the British car show "5th Gear" owns a Panda, and likes to say how good it is.

Don't you mean "Top Gear"? Is it the little guy or the long haired guy? I'm betting it's the long haired guy.

CarloSW2

MetroMPG 06-05-2008 11:08 PM

Oh, maybe you're right. I thought Tom Ford from 5th had one as well... But the long haired guy.. James May has one. I forget. One of them, anyway! How's that for useful info!

Bror Jace 06-06-2008 12:06 AM

Yep, when I saw FIAT mentioned above, I assumed it was a Panda.

And yes, it is James May of Topgear that owns one. :)

adam728 06-06-2008 02:24 PM

Cars getting bigger? No

1st gen VW Rabbit
49-110 hp
1750-2145 lb curb weight

2009 Rabbit
170 hp
2975-3138 lb curb weight

Look at almost any VW and you'll see around a 1000 lb gain in mass over the last 20-25 years. People want more space, and governement mandates higher safety standards and tighter emissions. It all takes more stuff!

I myself would love a <2000 lb, 80-100 hp fun box.

metroschultz 06-08-2008 01:32 AM

Down the street from me is a 1981 Scirocco, 1.8L for sale, asking $800, i bet he would take $600.It weighs in @ 1940#
I already have too many cars, not enough money.
I like sleeping in my house, if I get another car I would sleep outside.
Any Takers?
S.

Arminius 06-08-2008 01:48 AM

Exotic materials had better get less expensive, or the average car will have to be 30% more expensive to meet government FE standards and safety standards.

getnpsi 06-08-2008 02:46 AM

ford festiva...under 2000 pounds and every mazda engine is an easy swap. ditch the 53hp for a 128-108-90-88 hp engine. so many options.

zjrog 06-08-2008 03:12 AM

I'd still like an early 80s Subaru hatchback. Friend of mine had one and it got a little better mileage than my 82 Plymouth Champ (same as the Dodge Colt). Then again, I was trying to wring horsepower from the Champ, and was more than capable of squashing Rabbit GTIs...

Yep, an old Subie 4x4, with a Brat low range transmission, on the desert trails might be kind of fun...

roflwaffle 06-08-2008 03:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by metroschultz (Post 32559)
Down the street from me is a 1981 Scirocco, 1.8L for sale, asking $800, i bet he would take $600.It weighs in @ 1940#
I already have too many cars, not enough money.
I like sleeping in my house, if I get another car I would sleep outside.
Any Takers?
S.

Wrong coast... :(

Yaristock 06-08-2008 11:42 AM

I I remember correctly didn't the Fiats sold her in the past come with insta rust paint??? I'd kill for the new 500 though awesome little car I think its shorter than the Mini but I don't remember

NoCO2 06-08-2008 04:19 PM

*check*

That's just yet another tick on the sheet of reasons why I want to move out of this country.

rmay635703 10-09-2008 09:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Yaristock (Post 32612)
I I remember correctly didn't the Fiats sold her in the past come with insta rust paint??? I'd kill for the new 500 though awesome little car I think its shorter than the Mini but I don't remember

My folks had a 70's Fiat. The car ran great and had no issues at about 60000 miles the bottom of the body was rusting quickly (only the bottom edge was rusted) then shortly after being inspected by a Fiat dealer who said it looked fine the wheels fell off in my aunts gravel driveway.

TELVM 10-10-2008 08:58 AM

99% of today's cars are ridiculously heavy because they keep building them with XIX century materials (iron/steel) and complete disregard for weight reduction.

Look at the aircraft industry. Since the ~1930s they are built in aluminium, with a growing percentage of composite materials since the ~1980s.


It's perfectly possible to make lightweight cars without sacrifising safety/creature comfort. Examples:

'92 McLaren F1: 1132 kg (2493 lbs), in spite of its huge 6-litre V12 engine. All carbon fibre composite monocoque & body.


http://www.carlustblog.com/images/20...3/mclaren2.jpg http://www.autozine.org/technical_sc...sis_carbon.jpg


'96 Lotus Elise: 755 kg (1663 lbs). Extruded aluminium spaceframe bonded with epoxi + GRP body. The chassis weights just an incredible 65 kg (143 lbs).

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...-Elise111S.jpg http://www.autozine.org/technical_sc...ssis_elise.jpg


'99 Honda Insight: 820 kg (1806 lbs). All aluminium monocoque & body.

http://blog.wired.com/cars/images/honda_insight.jpg http://www.autozine.org/technical_sc...ht_chassis.jpg


But instead they keep brainwashing us with the 'safety' of the ridiculously huge, heavy, inefficient and dangerous Suddenly Upside-down Vehicles.

http://www.buhnici.ro/wp-content/upl...vs_fiat600.jpg

Daox 10-10-2008 09:07 AM

To be fair, steel and iron are a little cheaper than aluminum, carbon fiber, and many composits materials. Thats no excuse for poor design where some of these more expensive materials can be put to good use. But, there is some reasoning going on here.

TELVM 10-10-2008 09:43 AM

Even with traditional & cheap steel there could be a lot of room for improvement:

Ultra Light Steel Auto Body (ULSAB) Project

http://www.bluescopesteel.com.au/ima...508BA5461F.jpg

The real problem is the vast majority of automakers and consumers couldn't care less about car weight reduction. As a matter of fact lots of people is convinced 'light cars are coffins' and 'heavy cars are safer', poor devils.


In the inmortal words of Sir Colin Chapman: "Simplify, then add lightness" .

Big Dave 10-10-2008 07:41 PM

I used to have a 2300 lb Cosworth Vega. Got fine mileage when I pulled my foot out of it. It would never pass todays crash safety regs.

Before everybody gets wrapped around the axle, I said safety regs not safety. The regs are truly mindless and require a M1A2 to comply.

bhazard 10-10-2008 10:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by getnpsi (Post 32577)
ford festiva...under 2000 pounds and every mazda engine is an easy swap. ditch the 53hp for a 128-108-90-88 hp engine. so many options.

word yo! :turtle:

NeilBlanchard 10-10-2008 10:55 PM

Hi,

What do you folks know about the method of molding carbon fiber that Amory Lovins talks about in this video?

Amory Lovins on winning the oil endgame | Video on TED.com

It gets sprayed on (mixed with nylon) and then heated. The parts snap together, and each piece is easy for one person to lift.

The prototype Toyota 1/X has a curb weight of 926 pounds. The Aptera Typ-1 is ~1400 pounds, and the prototype VW 1 Liter car was just 330kg.

Bicycle Bob 10-11-2008 11:38 AM

Things may have moved on a bit, but carbon fiber used to have a huge energy cost to produce. Aluminum costs much more to refine than steel, but carbon fiber was an order of magnitude worse. It is usually used as unidirectional cloth, to get the maximum benefit by aligning the fibers with the load and minimizing the resin content, which is dead weight to the overall structure. Spray-up is the lowest grade in fiberglass. If it is compacted with a vacuum bag, it gets better, but overall, roboticized precision fiber placement seems to be the way the industry is going.

Racing bicycles can carry ten times their own weight. My 1st car, a Morris Minor, was about 1,650 lbs, and my Metros are also well under a ton, but I'd rather have something that weighs less than the payload.

NeilBlanchard 10-11-2008 05:39 PM

Hi Bob,

In the TED video, Amory Lovins says that the process uses a kind of digital "inkjet printer", then thermo-form it into whatever complex shapes you want. The auro body can have say only 14 parts instead of 100-150 parts; each one is formed using one cheap die set, instead of four expensive ones for stamping steel. The carbon parts can be lifted w/o a hoist, and snapped together, and you can lay color in the mold and get rid of the paint shop, as well. You end up with a process that is ~2/5 the "capital intensity" as the most efficient steel plant. And the plant doesn't need to be a large.

Bicycle Bob 10-12-2008 01:44 AM

OK, I've seen that one, and he makes some good points, but does not counter the ones i made. I made a velomobile frame, seat, and full suspension from six moldings, myself, and read trade magazines on composites, so I know the potential, as well as the problems. Sheet Molding Compound is replacing more metal every year.

Interestingly, the automotive industry has a slow and expensive way to adopt plastics, because they insist that everything must survive an old-style paint oven. You'd think that the resin formulators would get together and knock down the temperature needed for a quick bake of the finish.

NeilBlanchard 10-12-2008 08:54 AM

Hello,

Quote:

Originally Posted by TELVM (Post 66395)
Even with traditional & cheap steel there could be a lot of room for improvement:

Ultra Light Steel Auto Body (ULSAB) Project

http://www.bluescopesteel.com.au/ima...508BA5461F.jpg

The real problem is the vast majority of automakers and consumers couldn't care less about car weight reduction. As a matter of fact lots of people is convinced 'light cars are coffins' and 'heavy cars are safer', poor devils.


In the inmortal words of Sir Colin Chapman: "Simplify, then add lightness" .

I'm glad you posted this -- it shows the potential of the material we use now. I notice that the strength of this lighter weight frame is almost 2X the standard methods -- and that would make it seem like it could be made even lighter?

I'll also throw out there that we should take the principle of "cradle to cradle" to our cars: can the materials be fully recycled, and not just "downcycled"? Because of paints, etc. the steel from cars must be used where lower purity steel can be used -- and then after that...?

William McDonough on cradle to cradle design | Video on TED.com

cRiPpLe_rOoStEr 07-14-2013 02:38 AM

Some vegetable fibers can be used to replace fiberglass as a reinforcement for plastic parts in general, and body panels, increasing the energy-savings in the overall manufacturing processes of a vehicle. And regarding traditional materials such as steel, their use can be more rationalized to use a lesser amount while still retaining a good safety.


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 07:13 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.5.2
All content copyright EcoModder.com