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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diesel and petrol
10/26/2011 9:36:24 AM
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
10/26/2011 10:26:20 PM
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.
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