Saturday, May 14, 2011

Car manufacturers put their cars on a diet

Fuel consumption is with gas prices the $4 per gallon threshold pushing a big problem for car buyers and automakers alike become. Many U.S. drivers still hesitate seem to embrace the kind of pint-sized vehicles, the in markets such as Europe and Japan common.

"People don't want small cars, drive", stresses George Peterson, automotive analyst at AutoPacific. "they want bigger, more fuel-efficient cars drive."

With American driver taste, some experts suggest that the challenge for automakers is today not the 50 miles per gallon come with a small car,. Instead the challenge is a medium-sized model to create, which can deliver 40 mpg.

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Until recently, this objective seemed a fantasy, at least without a costly hybrid drive. But automakers have come to discover a variety of other tools in their Toolbox, can improve the mileage substantially without downsizing, Peterson said.

They are for example vehicles on a diet at Ford set.

"Medium-term from now until 2017 or 2018, we will remove anywhere from 250 to 700 pounds, depending on the vehicle,", said Derrick Kuzak, Ford's global product Chief.

According to an industry rule of thumb has each 100 pounds added or subtracted from the mass of a vehicle a mpg impact on fuel consumption, so Ford's weight should result strategy anywhere from about two to seven miles a gallon in extra fuel, everything else is equal.

Ford is by no means the only manufacturer to folder. Hyundai moved about 150 pounds of the weight of his new accent subcompact, who it a highway reaching review of more than 40 mpg helped.

And Honda has similar steps. John Mendel, Chief Executive of the automakers of US subsidiary, has with reference to the improvement of fuel, the economy that "There of only so many levers you can pull and are two of the largest weight or size." said.

How shed a few pounds for a wedding or a reunion anyone who has ever tried white, is not easy diet. And it's especially hard for automotive engineers. Every year seems to new safety regulations require new equipment for cars, such as stability control, or rigid bodies that survive the latest roof can crush standards.

Add all the integrated features, consumers demand of heated and cooled leather seats, twin headrest mounted rear seat video monitors, and the challenge of slimming down is even more difficult.

"That is why, despite all our efforts in the industry cut weight in the last decade, the weight of most vehicles have actually increased," lamented Carlos Tavares, President and CEO of Nissan Americas.

Concerned business, steel makers have that come with a variety of super strong alloys, actually reduce the amount of metal needed in a car, losing even with the tougher roof crush standards.

But the industry is also migrate, as far as possible, to newer, lighter alternatives. For example, she used latest Jaguar XJ, an aluminium housing and housing, while the new Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0 lightweight carpets.

The Porsche Cayenne redesign has a full 408 kg with the use of lighter materials and a revised drive shed. The line across it gets at least a 10 percent increase in mileage, even with the Twin-Turbo V8 model of the car accelerate from 0-60 times drop from 4.9 to 4.4 seconds.

Aluminium can shave hundreds of pounds of the weight of a body of conventional steel car. And the metal is mounted in steadily increasing demand, such as magnesium, which is used for applications such as the cross-beams behind many modern instrument panels.

Plastic, in all their material of choice for bumpers, instrument panels, Interior trims and even some body panels many forms, has become - although the discontinued Saturn brand was over the material for doors and fenders because of a nasty tendency to the shrinking and swelling, depending on the ambient temperature.

The material of the future, many are betting, is carbon fiber. Seemingly so easily such as air, the material has become extremely popular with manufacturers of high-priced sports car, such as Lamborghini, the carbon fiber for a large part of the new 200 mph Aventador used sports car.

The problem is cost. Traditionally has a price tag in the range of $200,000 required with carbon fiber in a car, but the changes can be. The Geneva Motor Show earlier this year would mini showed concept Rocketman, the carbon fiber on a car priced at just under one-fifth as much as use of Lamborghini Aventador. Mini's parent, BMW, invested in carbon fiber research, such as some other manufacturers have.

"Carbon fiber has come potential, if we can with possibilities for improving the manufacturability and lower costs," said Ford Kuzak.

The Detroit automaker of engineering Czar stressed that it is difficult, an existing vehicle set on a diet. Instead, it is better to start with a new car platform. One of the advantages with this approach is that if you cut a few hundred pounds of total weight of the vehicle you can save even more then a smaller engine adoption, "Downsizing" of the brakes and other components.

While Ford was driving has to trim mass even faster than before, Nissan's Tavares warned that "you should concentrate not only on weight loss."

There are many other ways, fuel consumption, aerodynamics, improved tyres and reduces friction drives, including impact, he said. By investing in all these areas, car manufacturers have many ways to improve the mileage enough to reduce buyer bigger cars abandon their fuel economy without that that they like.

© 2011 

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