Do We Need EVs with Turbo Engines Becoming so Fuel Efficient?
October 17, 2011 1:15 PM
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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
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
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."
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."
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10/18/2011 12:43:06 PM
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.
10/20/2011 2:58:06 AM
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.
10/20/2011 2:09:06 PM
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.
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