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PurdueGuy

Here's a thought...

6 posts in this topic

This isn't exactly an alternative fuel item, but a high mpg vehicle related thread.

In the pursuit of highly efficient cars, the focus is on electronics. Motors, actuators, batteries, fuel cells, generators... on and on. What might pay off on a broader scale, however, is simply materials. Materials like carbon fiber, among others, can be made to be strong and rigid, comparable if not better than traditional materials used in structural, body, and trim parts, and at a much lower weight. The downside of course is cost, but many of these materials do not yet benefit from economies of scale.

So, how about a car such as the following:

+Cobalt-sized car, 4-door, 4-5 passenger, decent trunk space.

+Extensive focus on weight reduction, including some use of high-strength/low-weight materials. Weight around 2,200lbs

+Small, direct injected, VVT 4-cylinder engine, 110hp (puts car's power/weight ratio in line with 2.2L Cobalt)

+Design focus on simplicity, ease of maintenance and repair.

+Throw in a few high tech toys (audio/nav/etc) to help justify the price over small entry sedan (cobalt)

I would think such a car could get into the 40 mpg's for the EPA, into the 50's in real life, be priced below the hybrids, and have a vastly different appeal than the hybrids (very little to break/replace).

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other than the power output...isn't that basically an old civic? a HS teacher i had just had to junk his 80's civic wagon and bought a new civic. I bet he's dissapointed at the MPG, but prolly likes the quietness/power/general comfort of his new one.

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This tech is being applied to GM's two-mode vehicles as we speak to offset the weight of the hybrid powertrains. I imagine that use of these materials will expand going forward.

It would be nice to see "factory lightweights" again.

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:drool: mmm factory lightweight

not as exciting as the swiss cheese framed, aluminum fendered Super Duty pontiac lghtweights, but cool nonetheless

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other than the power output...isn't that basically an old civic?

Similar concept, except hopefully more roomy, meeting modern safety standards, and hopefully better mpgs. Heck, maybe they could get the weight lower than 2,200. I would think they could get mpgs into the 50's with a modern drivetrain in a lightweight vehicle. Add the benefit of low cost of repair/maintenance (no huge battery pack to worry about whether you'd need to replace within the life of the vehicle at a huge cost), and I think it would have a lot of appeal.

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