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Infiniti will turn to turbocharged 4- and 6-cylinder engines, hybrids, full electrics

"And another one gone, and another one gone / Another one bites the dust"
 
Well, it looks as though the recently approved CAFE standards that aim to increase automobile fuel economy to 54.5mpg by 2025 have claimed another victim. Infiniti currently has V8 engine options available in its M luxury sedan, FX crossover, and QX sport utility vehicles, but that likely won't be the case in future iterations of those vehicles.
 
According to a report by AutoGuide, increasingly stringent fuel economy and emissions regulations mean that V8 engines are no longer on the table for Infiniti vehicles. V8 engines have traditionally been available in luxury vehicles as a symbol of prestige and power, but Infiniti will look to new ways to bring powerful engines to its lineup while still keeping fuel economy in check.
 
“I don’t think any car that is on Infiniti drawing boards from here onwards we should expect a V8 to be included in that plan,” Johan de Nysschen, Infiniti's global president.
 
Infiniti's 5.0-liter V8 produces 385hp, its 5.5-liter V8 produces 420hp, and its 5.6-liter V8 (truck-based) produces 400hp.


Infiniti to say good-bye to V8 engines
 
There are numerous directions that Infiniti can take with the absence of a V8 engine. Automakers like Ford already have twin-turbocharged V6 engines that develop 365hp while still delivering respectable fuel economy. Even Hyundai is rumored to be getting in on the action with a twin-turbocharged 3.3-liter V6 which generates 395hp.
 
For entry-level and mid-range models will also see a shift in available engines as well. Infiniti's current workhorse engine is the 3.7-liter “VQ” V6, but Nissan is also working on a turbocharged four-cylinder engine to deliver comparable power and vastly improved fuel economy.
 
Other options for Infiniti include fully electric vehicles (like the LE Concept) and additional hybrid models (we’re hoping that Infiniti delivers a production version of the Emerg-E).
 
Infiniti isn't the only luxury maker to drop a V8 engine from its lineup. When Lexus redesigned its mid-range GS sedan, it dropped the 4.6-liter V8 engine option and instead launched the vehicle with a 3.5-liter V6 and a 3.5-liter V6/performance hybrid model for those that want the power of a V8.

Source: AutoGuide



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By Solandri on 9/4/2012 5:34:49 AM , Rating: 3
Agreed hybrids are the way of the future. Regenerative braking and running the engine only when needed is just too good energy savings to pass up. Disagreed on EVs. I just don't see them becoming effective enough to supplant liquid chemical fuels. Unless there are some major, major breakthroughs in battery storage capacity and recharge rate, I'm betting on biofuels (plant/algae-based alcohols) being the long-term winner.

quote:
Car makers have plenty of research and development. The 54.5 MPG may seem far, but soon they will reach it.

The issue I have with raising the CAFE standard for cars is that it's mostly spinning our wheels. 54.5 sounds like a big number but it's not. Current CAFE standard for cars is 30.2 MPG. So 54.5 is an increase of a whopping 24.3 MPG! Sounds impressive, right? It isn't. Going from 18 MPG to 30.2 MPG is only a 12.2 MPG increase, yet will save you over 1.5x as much fuel.

How is that possible? The problem is we measure fuel efficiency in MPG. That's actually the inverse of fuel consumption. So the bigger the MPG gets, the smaller your incremental savings. e.g. Say we had a hypothetical trip of 200 miles. Your different cars will burn:

100 MPG = 2 gallons
54.5 MPG = 3.7 gallons
30.2 MPG = 6.7 gallons
18 MPG = 11.3 gallons

Meaning the fuel savings for the different jumps are:

54.5 MPG -> 100 MPG = 1.7 gallons saved
30.2 MPG -> 54.5 MPG = 3.0 gallons saved
18 MPG -> 30.2 MPG = 4.6 gallons saved

Your biggest fuel savings come from improving the mileage of your low-mileage vehicles. The higher the mileage, the smaller the savings. So CAFE tackles the wrong end of the problem. Instead of trying to raise the mileage of cars, we should be (1) trying to raise the mileage of light trucks, and (2) encouraging people to switch from trucks and SUVs to cars.

Instead, CAFE appears to be doing the exact opposite - causing people to give up their cars in favor of trucks and SUVs.
http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=22470...

Basically, every 2 people who switch from a sedan to an SUV cancels out 3 people who switch from a sedan to a Prius. And we're forcing the car companies to waste billions of research dollars on trying to make cars more Prius-like for minor fuel savings, when the bigger fuel savings would come from discouraging truck use.

I'm thinking of buying a boat right now (sailboat - I'm environmentally conscientious). I've been looking at tow vehicles. The boat + trailer will come out to about 2700 pounds, which 30 years ago wasn't unreasonable for a sedan to tow. Sure it would've gotten mileage in the low to mid 20s, but it could tow it. But CAFE has driven those sedans out of existence. I really don't want to have two cars - a regular driving vehicle and a tow vehicle. But due to CAFE attacking the wrong end of the problem, my choices are either to get two vehicles, or sell my sedan and buy an 18 MPG SUV.


RE: A corrupt U.S. government dictates the impossible
By Paj on 9/4/2012 8:19:48 AM , Rating: 1
A lot of good points. While I've said on here many times that the MPG mentioned in CAFE is certainly achievable, the jury is still out on its effectiveness, and other countries go about the problem in different ways.

The UK implement an annual road tax based on how efficient the car is, and on how much pollution it generates. This doesn't cause highly inefficient vehicles to go away - they're still there if people want them, but for many it makes more sense to get an efficient vehicle due to the saving they make on both road tax and fuel. I think this system probably makes more sense.


By Schrag4 on 9/4/2012 12:08:10 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The UK implement an annual road tax based on how efficient the car is, and on how much pollution it generates. This doesn't cause highly inefficient vehicles to go away - they're still there if people want them, but for many it makes more sense to get an efficient vehicle due to the saving they make on both road tax and fuel.


To me, this is overly-complicated and therefore idiotic. A per-gallon tax like we have in the US is ultra-simple and the fairest way to go. If you drive the same number of miles as me but use more fuel, you're paying a higher tax - that's fair, since your vehicle probably wears the road more than mine. In the UK, if you drive 1/10th as much as me but have a car that uses twice as much fuel per mile, you may have used 1/5th as much fuel as I did but you'll pay a higher road tax - that doesn't make sense. This is, of course, assuming the tax structure is as you describe (I'm taking your word for it).


By JPForums on 9/4/2012 2:09:29 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The UK implement an annual road tax based on how efficient the car is, and on how much pollution it generates.
To figure out how efficient a car is, they need to know how many MPG you get. Since fuel economy can be significantly worse, especially in an efficient car, due to driving habits, they'll need to monitor your driving habits to get an accurate reading. To figure out how much pollution it generates, they need a way of monitoring the CO2 output of the car. The separation of efficiency and pollution generation as a metric dictates this needs to be a separate piece of equipment. Since any of these pieces of equipment can be temporarily modified, the only sure way to get the right number is to put a GPS in every vehicle so that the government can monitor how many miles you are actually driving as you drive them. Interestingly, this has already been suggested as the method for applying a CO2 based tax to vehicles.

Now they could just assume a certain efficiency out of certain vehicles. Lets ignore the eventual rush to make vehicles that pass whatever test they are subjected to, regardless of how the perform in the real world. This is a simplification that makes the metric less accurate and open to abusing (I.E. Company A that donates to your campaign gets more favorable ratings and/or tests are designed with their vehicles in mind). They could also assume that 1 gallon of gas will produce the same amount of pollution regardless of how much of it is burned at once. However, if you do that, then you remove the need for more monitoring equipment.

Err, .. wait. In the end, a gallon of gasoline will release the same amount of pollution whether it carries you 1 mile or 100 miles and regardless of whether it burned by a motorcycle or a truck. This suggests a very accurate simplification to system can be made. Charge the tax based on how much gas is consumed. As an added benefit, it can be charged at the pump, with no need to worry about people modifying equipment to dodge the tax, and without costly new equipment that may or may not violate privacy rights. Such a system would also save tax payer money as it would require far less government administration. If only someone had thought of this sooner ... oh, wait, we already pay tax at the pump. I guess if we really want to push efficient vehicles, we could just raise the gas tax.


By Jeffk464 on 9/4/2012 2:26:04 PM , Rating: 2
yeah, that sucks


By 91TTZ on 9/4/2012 5:42:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
In the end, a gallon of gasoline will release the same amount of pollution whether it carries you 1 mile or 100 miles and regardless of whether it burned by a motorcycle or a truck.


This isn't true. The emission control systems on cars can vary the amount of pollution that the car emits. What kinds of pollution are you looking to curb?


RE: A corrupt U.S. government dictates the impossible
By Paj on 9/5/2012 7:59:30 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, a clarification. I did a bit of research and UK road tax is based on the size of the engine, and the amount of C02 released per km.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicle_Excise_Duty

I thought it was based on MPG, but I was wrong. I agree with you about the problems in monitoring MPG (seeing how variable it can be in relation to driving habits).

quote:
Err, .. wait. In the end, a gallon of gasoline will release the same amount of pollution whether it carries you 1 mile or 100 miles and regardless of whether it burned by a motorcycle or a truck.


Thats not true at all. It can vary depending on the octane level, impurities, engine design, age of catalytic converter, etc. In controlled lab conditions you might be right, but out on the road there would be many variables that affect the final figure.

quote:
Charge the tax based on how much gas is consumed.


Some have suggested modifying the road tax system to incorporate a tax based on miles travelled per year, based on odometer readings. Higher odometer reading = more tax.
Cars in the UK already have to pass an annual roadworthiness test known as an MOT - this system could easily be incorporated into that without a massive increase in bureaucracy.

Such a system would also encourage greater use of public transport, car pooling, use of bikes and maybe even things like teleconferencing and flexible working hours.


By Schrag4 on 9/5/2012 8:40:54 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Some have suggested modifying the road tax system to incorporate a tax based on miles travelled per year, based on odometer readings. Higher odometer reading = more tax.


Again, this is completely idiotic, and seems to me to suggest a tendency to try to over-legislate everything. You want to tax not only miles driven but fuel efficiency? Don't rate vehicles on efficiency (open to corruption) and force people to give odometer readings (just another small hassle among many others), simply tax each gallon of fuel and be done with it. People that drive more will pay more. People with less efficient vehicles that drive the same number of miles will pay more. People with less efficient vehicles that drive more will pay through the nose. It's elegant in its simplicity, and it's fair, something Big Govt's don't like (less to enforce means fewer govt jobs).


By Colin1497 on 9/4/2012 1:45:01 PM , Rating: 2
The original CAFE law had a large part in creating the SUV market by forcing people to move from cars to trucks in order to get powerful engines. The current CAFE law is a shell game with bonus points based on specific technologies and a sliding scale based on the size of the vehicle. It's all horribly conceived and a huge mess.


By Jeffk464 on 9/4/2012 2:24:19 PM , Rating: 2
Uhm, because we try to raise the mileage of light trucks (Heavy trucks to by the way) we cant raise the mileage of smaller cars?


By tecknurd on 9/4/2012 8:22:03 PM , Rating: 2
You may think that EV are not the second option because the time it takes to recharge batteries. EV can also run on fuel cells. EV can be recharged by hydrogen fuel stations.

The CAFE tackles one problem is currency. The cost of fuel keeps increasing while MPG stays the same. For me to drive 200 miles, it now costs $50 to $60 per week compared to several years ago which was half the cost.

If there are two cars. Car A with a MPG of 18 and car B with a MPG of 54. Both cars holds the same volume of fuel at 14 gallons. Send both cars on a infinite trip until they can not go any further. Car A will have a distance of 252 miles. Car B will have a distance of 756 miles. If I drive at an average of 260 miles per week, I will choose car B. It will give me close to three weeks until I have to go to the gas station. When it costs me up to $60 fill up the tank, that is a big savings. I can put $120 towards my savings account or something else every month. At the end of the year I would have $1440. That is a lot of money to me, but other people will think that is not much. Sure there is no such thing a car with a MPG of 54.


"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997














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