Print 41 comment(s) - last by m51.. on Nov 3 at 11:07 PM

You're doing it wrong.
Turbos are on 75% of new cars sold in Europe

You don't have to be a scientist or an automotive engineer to look at the fuel economy that major automakers are squeezing out of their vehicles with normal combustion engines today and wonder if we really need EVs and hybrids. More than one diesel car in Europe is able to provide fuel economy as good or better than the hybrids people generally think are so fuel thrifty.
The catch is that we rarely see diesel engines in the US inside a car, that will be changing, but the diesel car isn't common today for American drivers. One thing that is becoming very common for fuel efficiency sake is the addition of a turbocharger to allow a smaller displacement engine to produce acceptable power to provide the performance drivers expect.
The turbocharger is something that was often thought of for performance cars like the Grand National Buick in the mid to late 1980's. Today the turbo is used in a number of engines including the very popular EcoBoost line from Ford. Ford's EcoBoost engine inside the F-150 truck is selling very well and has a towing capacity on par with normal engines with larger displacement. The turbocharger is even more widely used in Europe where Reuters reports that 75% of all new cars come with one.
Craig Balis from Honeywell Turbo Technologies told Reuters in an interview, "The turbocharger is a green technology in the sense that it's helping cut emissions and raise fuel economy. It's a critical component to get more fuel efficiency out of the engine."
"Emissions regulations in Europe, the United States and worldwide are a driving force for cleaner, greener vehicles and that's a great landscape for turbocharging," said Balis. "We're confident about the continued evolution of combustion engines and the growing role turbocharging has."
Reuters reports that a diesel engine that has a turbocharger can get 40% more mileage than one without a turbo and a gas engine can go 20% further per liter of fuel than one without a turbo. With the impressive economy that normal engines with turbochargers achieve there are many that wonder if we even need EVs and hybrids.
Pierre Gaudillat, policy officer at the Transport and Environment lobby group in Brussels, was asked if we need EVs from a CO2 point of view. He said, "That's a valid question. The answer is: maybe not. Turbos are a no-brainer for cutting CO2 because the efficiency gains are really quite significant. In the near term, we don't really need and can't count on electric vehicles to deliver the CO2 savings. Maybe not until about 2030 or 2050."

Source: Reuters

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Stop spreading misconceptions about Turbos
By EricMartello on 10/18/2011 1:52:02 AM , Rating: 2
First of all:
"Do We Need EVs with Turbo Engines Becoming so Fuel Efficient?"

Would make more sense if it were written:

With Turbo Engines Becoming more Fuel Efficient, do we need EVs?

The it is written now implies that there are EVs with turbo engines becoming more fuel efficient, and the rhetorical question is asking if we need such "turbo EVs".

That aside, turbo charging does not increase efficiency; it increases the EFFECTIVE DISPLACEMENT of an engine. Yes, a turbo engine's torque and power curve would differ from the NA version of the same engine, but turbos increasing efficiency is a logical fallacy in the best case. The perceived increase in efficiency could be attributed to the fact that the vehicle was underpowered without the turbo (or a larger engine) and required said engine to work harder to provide the desired level of performance.

Take for example a V8 engine on the highway - it can get 30 MPG or better since it has enough torque to allow for a better overdrive ratio. The V8 can move the vehicle 80 MPH while spinning at 1,500 RPM. A typical 4-cyl engine would be spinning 3,000 RPM plus in the same scenario, burning more fuel than the V8 in the process.

If your turbo is producing 14.7 PSI of boost on a 2.0L engine, it is effectively increasing the engine to 4.0L of displacement. The additional air being forced into the engine will require additional fuel. There is no getting around that fact, but the additional power being produced means the engine can deliver higher performance at lower revs and therefore an apparent boost to efficiency thanks to taller gearing.

That all being said, if the ads want to market turbo engines as "green tech" fine by me. I love turbo engines from a performance perspective, but a site like this should not be perpetuating B.S. that turbos are some new and previously unknown efficiency booster.

As for EVs and Hybrids - neither of these cars should exist as they solve nothing and are only being purchased by morons who buy into the whole "green is good" scam - at taxpayers' expense. EVs still rely on inefficient (and chemically toxic) batteries so they have sh1tty range; while hybrids do not get substantially better fuel economy than "normal" fuel-sipping vehicles and also rely on the same problematic batteries.

RE: Stop spreading misconceptions about Turbos
By Black1969ta on 10/18/2011 3:04:07 AM , Rating: 5
You forget one aspect of a Blown engine (especially Turbocharged). The increase in Volumetric Efficiency, a boosted engine can have better than 100% Volumetric Efficiency, while an N.A. engine is rarely over 60-70%. Which means that the that the Turbocharged 2.0 @ 14.7 psi, will less air and fuel than an N.A. 4.0L engine. Further a Turbocharger actually converts some of the energy that would otherwise be lost out the tailpipe in the form of heat, Also the turbo'ed engine will have better scavenging than a N.A. engine.

As to the comment about the Grand National and only adding turbo's due to EV's. while it may be linked, EV's are only a small link to the popularity of Turbo's, even as recently as the 90's the Turbo car had a reputation of low longevity, and high maintenance, also the developments lately in speedy, powerful ECU's have allowed Turbo cars more longevity and to be tuned for efficiency instead of fuel rich to compensate for the poor controls.

RE: Stop spreading misconceptions about Turbos
By EricMartello on 10/18/2011 12:37:49 PM , Rating: 1
You forget one aspect of a Blown engine (especially Turbocharged). The increase in Volumetric Efficiency, a boosted engine can have better than 100% Volumetric Efficiency, while an N.A. engine is rarely over 60-70%. Which means that the that the Turbocharged 2.0 @ 14.7 psi, will less air and fuel than an N.A. 4.0L engine. Further a Turbocharger actually converts some of the energy that would otherwise be lost out the tailpipe in the form of heat, Also the turbo'ed engine will have better scavenging than a N.A. engine.

Volumetric efficiency is simply a fancy way of saying "air intake" - I didn't forget any aspect, you're just using the technical term to rephrase what I originally said.

From a FUEL efficiency standpoint the bottom line is that the more air you force into an engine, the more fuel you will need to add as well. If your volumetric efficiency is above 100%, which means forced induction (i.e. nitrous, turbo or supercharger), you are adding MORE air and therefore will need to add more fuel to maintain the ideal air/fuel ratio.

To say this simplistically - your turbo 2.0L will consume the same amount of fuel as a 4.0L V8 on average assuming both the turbo engine and the V8 have similar power ratings and are driven in similar conditions by the same driver.

I am not saying that turbos do not improve engine performance - they do and they do very effectively, but they DO NOT improve fuel efficiency.

By ELGold on 10/19/2011 2:12:25 PM , Rating: 2
Right you are -- turbo mode is not efficient for fuel economy (that is, the fraction of heat content turned into mechanical work.)

The reason it is proposed as a fuel economy mod is that it allows the car to be designed with a smaller ICE yet be able to (albeit inefficiently) reach max power levels the non-turbo engine cannot. Since cars are usually operated in low power conditions, the improvement in partial power losses is thought to be an overall gain in fuel economy.

While true in theory, in practice many drivers engage turbo where it is not needed, and end up with fuel economy no better and sometimes worse than a non-turbo car. Turbo is a boon for car manufacturers, since it allows them to post fuel economy results much higher than before. Rare buyers realize the results are with turbo OFF. Once the first manufacturer gamed the fuel economy ratings with turbo, it was inevitable that everybody else would follow for marketing purposes. The ubiquity of turbo is as much for its marketing advantages as its technical merit.

RE: Stop spreading misconceptions about Turbos
By e36Jeff on 10/19/2011 10:35:41 PM , Rating: 2
Not exactly. If were to follow your example, and have a 2.0L turbo vs a 4.0L NA engine, with both engines having identical power curves, and drove them exactly the same, the turbo will come out with higher mpg. Granted, it would be a small difference, but it would still be there. The Turbo engine is almost always going to be lighter than the NA engine. Less mass requires less fuel to move it.

RE: Stop spreading misconceptions about Turbos
By EricMartello on 10/20/2011 2:17:41 PM , Rating: 2
Not exactly. If were to follow your example, and have a 2.0L turbo vs a 4.0L NA engine, with both engines having identical power curves, and drove them exactly the same, the turbo will come out with higher mpg. Granted, it would be a small difference, but it would still be there. The Turbo engine is almost always going to be lighter than the NA engine. Less mass requires less fuel to move it.

That's not an issue of engine efficiency. The mass of the vehicle is a completely separate aspect.

Not only that, but a reliable turbo engine is going to have an iron block with forged pistons so the weight savings over a typical aluminum V8 is not going to be as substantial as you think...if at all. A turbo engine also gains weight from the turbo itself, plus the intercooler and additional plumbing. On top of this, turbo engines are tuned to run rich. They must run rich to avoid detonation on pump gas, and this increases their fuel consumption.

I've had my share of cars, both turbo and NA. It never fails; once you match the power levels of the NA and Turbo engines, the fuel consumption of the turbo engine is always equal to or slightly greater than the NA engine across the board.

By Mint on 10/23/2011 3:53:03 AM , Rating: 2
This may have been true a decade ago, but now? I doubt it, or we wouldn't see so many manufacturers going to low displacement turbos.

The lower mass of smaller displacement engines help, but even 100kg (a high estimate of the savings) only gets you ~1-2% efficiency gain in rolling resistance. The main reason that they are more efficient because they have less frictional losses than bigger engines. The losses from a good turbo aren't enough to cancel that out for typical driving.

By Black1969ta on 10/25/2011 3:47:06 AM , Rating: 2
On top of this, turbo engines are tuned to run rich. They must run rich to avoid detonation on pump gas, and this increases their fuel consumption.

Hence my statement about new ECUs and better controls, such as wideband O2 sensors. Turbo engines don't have to run outside the perfect fuel ratio anymore, and a rich fuel ratio does not prevent detonation with any fuel; However, a lean ratio will ping, the rich ratios were due to the poor controls and running rich was an insurance policy to prevent a lean situation.

By McScoot on 10/31/2011 10:59:33 PM , Rating: 2
It's not at all true that reliable turbo engines have iron blocks. WRX is all alloy, even the Evo nowadays. Ford Ecoboost 4s and V6s are alloy blocks, as is the 2.5L 5 in my Ford. It's true that there are still a reasonable number of turbos using iron blocks, even ones that aren't especially extreme applications such as VW's 2L in the Golf GTI/R and the one in the Renaultsport Megane. It's just not necessary for making a reliable engine nowadays though.

Turbo engines often require higher octane fuel, it's true. There are a lot of things in a modern engine to combat the issue though, even just knock sensors and the ability to adjust valve timing, or the exhaust gas recirculation and precise combustion control possible with direct injection. You could avoid turbo and aim instead for a very high compression ratio using the same technology. Mazda is doing that with Skyactiv (though they've needed other technology for their intake manifold and things too). Knocking is not a big problem for modern turbo cars though.

Compare Ford's 1.6L Ecoboost to the 1.6L NA and the 2.0L NA available in the same car, you won't get a better comparison than that and the 2.0L NA engine isn't poor for what it is. The 1.6L is more powerful and has more torque than either (much more when you look at how it's spread over the rev range). It also gives better fuel economy than either of the others. Which would you prefer if you were buying a car in that class?

RE: Stop spreading misconceptions about Turbos
By jRaskell on 10/27/2011 8:07:21 PM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately, I simply fail to see how real world data supports such a claim. While finding separate vehicles with all other factors being equal is virtually impossible, the data is still quite revealing when looking at many of the current turbo performance vehicles vs NA performance vehicles out there:

Subaru STI: 305hp, 17/23 mileage
Subaru WRX: 265hp, 18/25 mileage
Mitsu Evo: 291hp, 17/22 mileage

Mustang V6: 305hp, 19/31 mileage (auto)
Mustang GT: 412hp, 17/26 mileage (manual)

Camaro V6: 323hp, 19/30 mileage
Camaro SS: 426hp, 16/24 mileage

In all cases, the NA cars with similar HP have significantly better fuel mileage, and the NA cars with significant HP advantages have very similar fuel mileage ratings. In the case of the Camaro, it even has a significant weight disadvantage going against it as well.

When you're comparing underpowered NA 2.0L engines to more powerful smaller displacement turbo engines, then there's compelling data that the turbos have an advantage. But when talking about amply (or even overpowered) large displacement engines, the current real world data clearly gives the fuel mileage to large displacement NA engines. Turbos may be a replacement for displacement in the power department, but that clearly doesn't carry over to fuel economy.

By McScoot on 10/31/2011 10:32:10 PM , Rating: 2
Such a comparison is not really instructive because there are too many other factors. Mainly:
1. The Japanese turbos you specify are all permanent four wheel drive, which impacts on fuel economy. Gearing and things also affect the highway economy in particular, they're not what-so-ever targeted at highway cruising.
2. There's a massive difference between a high-boost turbocharged car like the Evo and the low pressure turbos in most of those 75% of cars sold in Europe (a lot of which are probably even diesels). The Evo idles at 1500rpm. I read that the newer twin-scroll BMWs hold max torque from 1250rpm.
3. Comparing the maximum power outputs can be very inadequate. From first-hand experience, my previous car was a 4.0L inline 6, my current car a 2.5L turbocharged inline 5. The max power and torque figures are almost the same for both cars, but the 2.5L engine feels so much more powerful because that max torque is almost all available from 2000rpm below to 2500rpm above where the other engine hit that peak.

What the turbo gives you is the ability to use a smaller capacity, so you do without having the extra weight of a large engine (both in terms of components in reciprocating motion and just the block, head, etc), the extra friction, the extra pumping loss pumping a larger capacity, etc. Things like cylinder deactivation, direct injection, continuously variable valve lift, etc, are not as good as reducing the capacity and they can be applied to smaller engines anyway. With the turbo, you still have the ability to effectively scale up the engine displacement to get more power as needed. With low pressure turbos there's basically no perceptible lag, and you get the sort of low-end torque and drivability that means you don't need to rev high (which would generate a lot of friction and negate a lot of the benefits of smaller capacity). In terms of economy for petrol engines, it is quite effective at the moment. I don't really see what it has to do with hybrids though, if a turbo would be of benefit to the hybrid's ICE then they should use one, it'd still be less CO2 emissions than the non-hybrid.

If you want to see a better comparison, compare the 1.6L Ecoboost Focus engine to the 2.0L naturally aspirated petrol, both new engines from the same manufacturer in the same car. The 1.6L Ecoboost is noticeably better from a drivability perspective (270Nm torque@1900-5000rpm and 134kw versus 202Nm torque@4450rpm and 125kw@6600rpm). Even with that massive difference (looks like you really need to ring the neck of that 2L), the 1.6L is more economical (139g vs. 154g C02/km). There's also a NA version of the 1.6L to compare to if you wanted.
Make a similar comparison with the engine choices across VW's Golf, and look at their twincharge engines.
It's quite obvious that these low pressure turbos provide very substantial benefits for drivability, and for the economy you can achieve when you're targetting a specific level of performance.

By Black1969ta on 10/25/2011 4:02:25 AM , Rating: 2
Volumetric efficiency is simply a fancy way of saying "air intake" - I didn't forget any aspect, you're just using the technical term to rephrase what I originally said.

No the Volumetric efficiency effect that I was referring to does not mean that it is just a bigger air pump.

from Wiki...
Engines with higher volumetric efficiency will generally be able to run at higher speeds (commonly measured in RPM) and produce more overall power due to less parasitic power loss moving air in and out of the engine.

And I am not saying that any one benefit of a Turbo will drastically improve Fuel economy vs. a larger engine. I'm saying that the little thing add up.

By m51 on 11/3/2011 11:07:01 PM , Rating: 2
He is correct in that a properly designed turbocharged engine will be thermodynamically more efficient than the NA engine. This stems primarily from critical flow effects out of the exhaust ports that allow the turbocharger to recover additional energy from the exhaust gas stream. This energy is used to increase the intake manifold pressure which directly increases the engine torque. A quick reality check of this is the reduced exhaust temperature downstream of the Turbocharger which is evidence of the energy being recovered from the exhaust gasses and returned to the system.

This is a completely separate issue from the efficiency gains due to Volumetric efficiency, which is also real. Increase Volumetric efficiency reduces pumping losses (also called throttle losses). Pumping losses are the result of the engine pumping it's displacement every 2 revolutions from the low intake manifold pressure up to atmospheric pressure (exhaust manifold pressure). This is just wasted work. The less volume you pump and the smaller the pressure differential from input to output the lower your pumping losses will be. Although it seem non-intuitive, because of the fluid dynamics a properly designed turbocharged engine can actually achieve higher intake manifold pressures than exhaust manifold pressures (upstream of the turbo), which actually helps push the engine around.

Often though most car turbo designs are not designed for maximum efficiency but for maximum power and responsiveness. People buying a turbocharged car are looking for performance, not gas mileage, and the engine is designed accordingly.

A good place to look for Turbocharged engines designed for maximum efficiency are the huge turbo-diesels used in freighters and container ships. These can achieve thermodynamic efficiencies above 50%.

By 91TTZ on 10/18/2011 2:46:51 PM , Rating: 2
I'd also like to add that turbo engines run a lower compression ratio than NA engines which reduces efficiency.

The turbo is a tradeoff- you gain some power from a smaller engine but you lose some efficiency compared to having a higher compression NA engine with the same displacement. You need to work out the math to see what kind of tradeoffs you're willing to make.

For instance, pretend you're designing a car:

If you use a 1.5 liter naturally aspirated engine you'll get good gas mileage but your vehicle will lack power when you need it.

If you use a turbocharged 1.5 liter engine you'll get slightly poorer gas mileage than the NA engine due to the lower compression ratio but you'll have some extra power when you need it.

If you use a 2 liter naturally aspirated engine you'll get slightly poorer gas mileage than the NA 1.5 liter engine because of the added friction of having a larger motor, but it might be cheaper than the turbo engine and get similar gas mileage.

My 300ZX has a 3 liter engine with 2 turbos, and with my boost increased it makes as much power as a Corvette. The Corvette engine has a much higher displacement which hurts efficiency but it also has a higher compression ratio which helps efficiency. As a result of that and the Corvette's aerodynamics, it gets better gas mileage than my Z. And to top it all off the "giant" GM V8 is physically smaller and lighter than my Z's engine (since it's all aluminum and has internal cams/pushrods as opposed to my Z's cast iron block with big heads with dual overhead cams in them.)

That's what engineering is all about- understanding tradeoffs and designing the best gadget you can for the cost.

RE: Stop spreading misconceptions about Turbos
By Argon18 on 10/23/2011 4:38:18 PM , Rating: 4
none of you understand how fuel economy works in a turbocharged engine. a small turbo engine will use the same fuel as a large normally aspirated only at wide open throttle! at partial throttle, which is where you drive the vast majority of the time (and where you cruise on the highway) the small turbo engine will get small-engine fuel economy. so there is a significant fuel savings.

secondly, this only applies to gasoline engines. your comment of "if you add more air, you have to add more fuel" is not true of diesel engines. while gas engines are stuck working only within a narrow air/fuel mixture window, diesel engines will run on any mixture between 8:1 and 80:1. which is why most diesel engines don't even have a throttle plate - they don't need one. furthermore, diesel engines run cooler when the mixture is super lean (unlike gas engines which run hotter on a lean mixture) so overheating isn't much of an issue.

when it comes to mpg (and torque) diesel engines are king of the road. unfortunately, due to high fuel prices in europe, the domestic oil companies here are making a killing selling all their diesel fuel to europe. they want to keep us on gasoline. that's the reason we don't see more of the awesome euro turbo-diesels here. it's all politics and oil $$$.

By Mint on 10/25/2011 9:29:31 AM , Rating: 2
Widespread diesel use is impossible, and it has nothing to do with politics.

When you refine crude oil, you get different products, including diesel and gasoline. There are a couple of different ways of going about it, but the majority of the world's refineries already choose the method that maximizes diesel output.

If more people start choosing diesel, the price will go up to stop them from doing so ASAP, because we're pretty much out of room to increase our diesel:gasoline ratio.

As for turbos, you're right that a lot of the people above are missing the point. When a car needs 0-50 hp to maintain speed, a 2.0L engine will produce that power more efficiently than a 4.0L engine because there is less friction.

Yes, we need them.
By Totally on 10/17/2011 6:36:10 PM , Rating: 1
I'm not a fan of EV's. But if we were to neglect EV's, alt. fuels, and associated R&D, we'd just be delaying the inevitable. However many years down the line, we'd come full circle when turbocharged IC engines don't cut it anymore. I for one would like to have a fully developed backup-plan in place now when we don't need it, instead of a band aid fix, and promises.

RE: Yes, we need them.
By aguilpa1 on 10/17/2011 6:46:12 PM , Rating: 2
exactly, it sounds like just another corporate excuse to keep milking the public with high fuel costs and stagnate solutions that could potentially end our dependence on fossil fuels.

If it weren't for the push of public's push for EV's and hybrids would the automotive industry even have moved to make their engines more efficient and turbocharge their fleets. It's not like the technology hasn't been around for decades? How is it their holy cow all the sudden?

RE: Yes, we need them.
By MrTeal on 10/18/2011 10:42:12 AM , Rating: 2
What public push? The big push for EVs is coming from the government, not from the buying public.

People ultimately vote with their wallet. They're fine with saying they support electric vehicles right up until the point where they have to stop spending other people's money and have to give up their own to get one.

Electric cars may be the future, but it definitely isn't the majority of consumers pushing it forward. They just want something reliable, cheap to own and operate, good looking, and a little fun.

RE: Yes, we need them.
By Reclaimer77 on 10/19/2011 10:29:01 AM , Rating: 2
People ultimately vote with their wallet. They're fine with saying they support electric vehicles right up until the point where they have to stop spending other people's money and have to give up their own to get one.

True but that's the "progressive's" M.O. They're real good at telling everyone else what they should buy and support. They, however, will just do whatever is best for them while demonizing those who do the same.

Sorry but there's not some corporate conspiracy to keep EV's down. It's us, those who refuse to buy one.

RE: Yes, we need them.
By topkill on 10/31/2011 3:30:46 PM , Rating: 2
The John Birch Society has spoken! LOL

RE: Yes, we need them.
By Dr of crap on 10/25/2011 1:04:23 PM , Rating: 2
Do you know the number of EVs and hybrid sold?

The public doesn't want them. Now I'm all for alternative fuel sources. Why we didn't do it in the 70s when gas prices quadrupled I don't know. Maybe the tech wasn't there, but we might be that much farther along anyway.

Cars are heavier than years ago. The 40mpg of today would be 50-60mpg back then. But I don't know if turbo is the way to go. I still remember the troubles that turbo cars had in the not to distant past. I'd rather go with the smaller, lighter car/engine that will last, then to put my trust in a turbo, IMHO.

CNG cars are not being pushed. Yes I know the energy in natural gas isn't as good as gas, but I could fill up in my garage, big plus for me, and teh engine is suspose to last longer, and gain less CO2 all in the same engine.

Biodiesel engines can burn french fry grease, or diesel made from grass growing on the side of the interstate. This is where we sould be heading. But cash rules and the ones behind the cash don't want us to go in that direction.

So we have hybrid and EVs that will satifiy the CAFE standards, but the public doesn't want. We have the ecoboost with turbo that seems to be selling.
We have turbo cars - not sure on these yet.

RE: Yes, we need them.
By FreeTard on 10/17/2011 8:56:44 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with that. One thing that will keep me from EV is the lack of range. I want to drive to work and be able to run errands without having to worry about charging it. Or what happens if I drive my 40mi to work and then have to rush to an emergency while it's charging... I want to be able to get into my car and go if I want to.

Keep going on the R&D and when the tech has been perfected to something stable that I don't have to keep charging constantly then I'll jump on board. If you can turbo a vehicle and get me 50-80mpg, I'll jump on that.

Top Gear did a good (if over the top) episode in this past season on EVs. I'd recommend finding it because it brings up the current concerns with full electric vehicles.

RE: Yes, we need them.
By Mint on 10/25/2011 9:36:03 AM , Rating: 2
PHEV is the solution.

We have the gasoline infrastructure in place, so no need for new stations for charging, battery swapping, hydrogen, etc. You get 80% of the benefits and the only downside is that you lose a little interior room compared to EV-only or ICE-only cars.

RE: Yes, we need them.
By Ringold on 10/18/2011 2:31:57 PM , Rating: 2
But if we were to neglect EV's, alt. fuels, and associated R&D, we'd just be delaying the inevitable.

Seems like a false dichotomy to me. What are EV's? Electric motors energized by batteries. Both of those technologies have vast use outside of the automotive field. Ditching EV's, or keeping them a niche market, I don't believe in any way would impede battery research. We're always going to want longer-lasting laptops, communication equipment, off-grid reserves, etc. Car batteries, as I understand it, just combine scores of those same little cells in to larger packages.

Besides, EV's currently dont mean zero emissions. Most power comes from dirty, uranium and mercury spewing coal-fired plants. Not to mention, could the grid handle mass adoption? In places like California, with already stretched grids, thats an open question.

RE: Yes, we need them.
By tonylee5566 on 10/22/2011 3:04:00 AM , Rating: 2
thanks the great information , i will share to my blogs

RE: Yes, we need them.
By topkill on 10/31/2011 4:21:32 PM , Rating: 2

Two things you might want to consider:
1) according to the DOE, it takes 6kWh of electricity to refine each gallon of gasoline. So that electricity from "dirty, uranium and mercury spewing coal-fired plants." is being spewed anyway to make gasoline. Of course, this is just to refine it and speaks nothing to drilling for it, transporting it, creating all the other chemicals needed at the refinery, transporting it to gas stations all over the US and even pumping it out of the ground (another electric pump by the way).

2) As of April 2011 (latest available figures from DOE), coal use for the US grid has dropped to 41% which is way down from the 50-60% it used to be and it's dropping dramatically in the last 2 years as Natural Gas plants are coming online and the older, dirtier coal plants are being retired.

As for your other point on batteries progressing for laptops and cell phones...not so much. The battery companies have made a fortune selling you batteries every time your current ones run out. Their only incentive to improve at all was to be *slightly* better than competition or at least to have some case where they could claim it for marketing.

They made all their money selling the damn things and didn't want them to last longer than was needed. EVs have forced them to come up with truly new technologies because they are simply not viable for most people today with the range limitations and short cycle/shelf life.

So EVs are definitely driving improvements in batteries that were not there before.

turbo's efficient bahahahaha
By macca007 on 10/18/2011 5:21:39 AM , Rating: 2
turbo's efficient heh
Put your foot down in one and see how efficient it really is, And of course being a turbo most people WILL put their foot down to hear the stupid after market blow off valve they have added afterwards.
Also am not a fan of trying to pump out so much from a small engine, I don't see that many 4 cylinder turbo's on the road that are over 10 years old, Yet I see thousands of old V8's over 20+ years old still chugging away. Money saved on little engine soon wears off when you have to replace the damn engine or worse later on. If you do any long drives at all 4 cylinders are no go, Has to work twice as hard and wears out twice as fast as a V8. V6-V8 is the sweet spot best of everything so to speak, They should just keep developing better versions of these. it's all great having an ev car that runs for 50km but what good is it if you plan on going away with family on a weekend trip. Need a balance, I quite like Holdens new V6 210kw, Get's just under 1000km out of a tank of juice using spark ignition direct injection(SIDI). Think I might downgrade from my 235kw V8 and get one, Only a bit less power but roughly 3 times the fuel economy so who needs a 4 cylinder turbo or EV/Hybrid.

RE: turbo's efficient bahahahaha
By BZDTemp on 10/18/2011 1:30:25 PM , Rating: 2
Enough with the prejudice already.

Diesel's have been in use for decades and not just on sports cars. Almost anything with a Diesel in Europe comes with one or more Turbos and that includes cab's and big trucks as well. I've seen cars with turbos happily drive the distance of the moon and back with no major work done on them. Plus it's not like a turbo is a super expensive high tech gizmo the patent goes back to 1905 and it has been widely used since about 1920.

A big V8 can be fun but why drag all that weight around for normal driving. You may get decent mileage while cruising but in town with all the starting and stopping something light is better.

RE: turbo's efficient bahahahaha
By darkhawk1980 on 10/20/2011 11:42:16 AM , Rating: 2
What about your prejudice? It's apparent right away....

It depends where you live. Maybe he lives out in the country and has a 30 minute highway commute (like I do). My BMW 545i with it's 4.4L V8 is great. I get 27 to 28 MPG on my work commute. That's really all the driving I do, and I'm usually doing 80 MPH. I know of little 4 cylinder cars that can't get much better than 22 MPG. In fact, I had a VW R32 that was a NA 3.2L V6 and it was only getting 22 MPG. The big BMW was an upgrade looking at it from that view....

I really don't think I'll enjoy EV's at all, given where I live and the fact that I enjoy the larger cars.

RE: turbo's efficient bahahahaha
By thelostjs on 10/20/2011 6:27:02 PM , Rating: 2
sorry to let you know your vw r32 was a heavy car, the bmw is a barge. You sounded uninformed when you said, ("I know of little 4 cylinder cars that can't get much better than 22 MPG".) Often a car will develop problems that ruin fuel economy, no matter what amount of cylinders. I hope you will do more research before buying your next vehicle.

By jang_clangle on 10/23/2011 12:08:46 PM , Rating: 2
I think you're missing the real point here, which is that different people have different needs. Someone who's happy with their V8 isn't going to be interested in a buzzy, high-strung turbo 4 cyl or a slow-revving, heavy diesel.

The fact is, V8 engines remain available because many of us consider them ideal for our needs. And big car technology has also come a long way. Check out Chrysler's hemi-powered 300 with the 8 speed ZF trans that manages 29 mpg highway. To those of us who live in rural areas and must endure long commutes, that's a very attractive proposition.

RE: turbo's efficient bahahahaha
By Mint on 10/25/2011 9:57:52 AM , Rating: 2
Everyone has a different braking/accelerations/hills in their route, but if you want to compare apples to apples, the 545i can only get 23MPG on the EPA highway test.

It's a 333hp engine, so a close comparison would be BMW's 3.0L twin turbo (300hp) found in the 535i. It gets 26 MPG in the same test.

By Rzp on 10/18/2011 12:20:23 PM , Rating: 3
Turbo engines looks like a band-aid to me, nothing can stop the EV wave now. Put an EV with 200 miles range and a decent price in the market, like $20K (hard to see that in 4-5 years? don't think so), and the combustion cars are done, literally.

RE: band-aid
By EricMartello on 10/18/2011 12:43:06 PM , Rating: 2
The viability of EVs is tied to the efficiency of batteries. Our battery tech is lagging behind electric motor and electronics tech substantially. Ideally we'd have batteries that are roughly the same size as a 15-gallon fuel tank (weigh about the same as a tank full of gas) and able to charge and discharge like a capacitor while providing enough stored energy to equate to at least 7 gallons of gas. At that point, EVs would be a lot more appealing.

RE: band-aid
By mindless1 on 10/20/2011 2:58:06 AM , Rating: 2
We should leverage the infrastructure to benefit the massed. Put power rails in one lane on the expressway. Most people traveling further than their EV's range would use the expressway a large portion of the time to do so anyway, so we might as well have them recharging on the fly on the expressway instead of draining the battery.

RE: band-aid
By EricMartello on 10/20/2011 2:09:06 PM , Rating: 2
Ground level power rails? OK, ignoring the safety issues that presents...who is going to pay for the electricity that flows through these rails? Tax payers? Tolls? Not only that but it's hard enough to get municipalities to repair pot holes and perform needed maintenance on existing roads - what makes you think they're going to deploy and maintain something like this?

I would support EVs if battery tech and reliability under harsh conditions was improved substantially...that's pretty much the only viable option for EVs.

diesel and petrol
By AnnihilatorX on 10/26/2011 9:36:24 AM , Rating: 2
Well it's common sense that diesel is more 'fuel efficient' due to higher energy content inflating MPG values. However, MPG is not the point. All these green talk is about CO2. Please educate me. As there seems to never be any talk about which is more efficient in terms of CO2 emmision per mile, an efficient diesel engine or an efficient petrol engine.

RE: diesel and petrol
By Fritzr on 10/26/2011 10:26:20 PM , Rating: 2
The efficiency variance between designs buries the efficiency difference between the fuels in noise. A better question is which of the fuels generates more CO2 per liter of fuel. Once you know that you can make a good guesstimate of CO2 per km or mile by looking at the mpg or kmpl numbers

EVs are driving efficiency improvements in conventional ICES, new designs of alt fuel vehicles and vehicle specific battery designs.

There was a similar battle beginning around 1900 when there were electric, steam, gasoline & diesel engins. In the end gas won the war for low power applications and deisel for high power. Both due to dollars per mile to operate & infrastructure supporting refueling. Steam & electric both found lucrative niches in stationary applications and railroads.

In my situation a current generation EV is usable, but would require an ICE car to be in the garage beside it.

Round trip to work: 30 miles.
A long shopping day: 50 miles.
Even together, these numbers are withing the daily range of many EVs.

Trip to the nearest big city: 280 miles.
Driving while there: 40 miles
Return to home: 280 miles
Call it 600 miles for a nice round number.
The EV requires approx 8hrs charging per 100 miles.
This trip to the city requires 8hrs charging before leaving & 8hrs after return, covering 200 miles of the trip. So it only requires 4 layovers during the trip, totalling 32hrs, for recharging. (Note for those who will pick these numbers apart: These are NOT accurate depictions of a real world vehicle, they are generalizations based on existing tech)

EVs are not a danger to the other classes of vehicle yet. However when battery swapping or less than 30 minute recharge (including waiting in line for an available socket) become available, EVs will be relegated to short haul operation, with a second vehicle required for the occasional long haul trip or additional driving on a busy day.

Hybrids currently show the most promise. They can run in pure electric mode for commuter operations and switch to moderate efficiency ICE mode for long haul. Some can also use the ICE to supplement the electric's own regenerative braking, adding to overall efficiency by allowing each to take the load where they are most efficient.

ICEs turboed or not are a technology that is nearing the limits of efficiency using a fuel that is cheaply available due to mining (okay pumping) of reserves that will be exhausted. At that point bio-petrol will take over and no matter what the feed stock is, the supply will be limited. In this scenario, methane, wood & bio-petrol will work together to fuel many vehicles and the remainder will be electrics of one form or another. Most likely with a heavy dose of dual fuel&electric hybrids of various designs.

For those who choose to be picky I include things like flywheel, steam & molten salt power storage in whichever category spins the flywheel or heats the fluid/salt and hydrogen in the methane/wood/bio-petrol group.

Confusion about turbo engines
By Dorkyman on 10/23/2011 12:48:26 PM , Rating: 2
There seems to be a lot of confusion about turbo engines and how they differ.

In my view, a turbo engine offers several advantages and drawbacks:

(1) For a given maximum output, the engine assembly can be made somewhat lighter than the non-turbo equivalent.

(2) Under low-power or idle conditions, it is MUCH more fuel-efficient. Remember, an ICE is basically a vacuum pump, and when there is a high manifold vacuum the engine is extremely inefficient. Much of this benefit could be offset by the non-turbo engine if that engine automatically shut down under idle or low-speed conditions. But that's part of the rationale for a hybrid, yes?


(3) There is increased complexity and potential for failure.

(4) The throttle response can be delayed due to the required spool-up time.

Diesel = soot
By sleepeeg3 on 10/25/2011 3:52:06 AM , Rating: 2
Have you been to Europe? Ever wonder why their buildings (even new ones) are blackened and dirty looking? Diesel soot. The same can be seen in major metro areas of the US or areas where this is high truck travel.

Gasoline mostly burns upward to the atmosphere, diesel exhaust stays low. The minor increase in fuel efficiency by forcing everyone to drive a truck engine is not going to save anything. It will just drive the cost of diesel up, which is already higher than gas.

"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein
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