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Posts Tagged ‘high mileage’

Ford Unveils 40-MPG Gas Engine for 2012 Focus

Who needs hybrids?

by on Mar.24, 2011

So much from so little? The new Ford 2.0 I4.

The 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine has been a staple of automotive propulsion around the world for decades — in places like Asia and Europe and Australia and Africa, anyway, but not so much here in the States.  Americans have tended to shy away from little 122 cubic-inch engines, but with gasoline at $3.50 and rising, that reluctance is wearing away.

Or so Ford hopes.  With the introduction of the 2012 Ford Focus, there’s a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that promises 160 horsepower, 147 foot-pounds of torque, and, in the specially equipped Focus SFE model, with a 6-speed automatic transmission, 28 miles per gallon in city driving and 40 miles per gallon on the highway (the 5-speed manual transmission gets a rating of 28 city, 36 highway).

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Ford just showed the guts of this new engine, designed for use in a range of small and smaller Ford products well into the future.  The maker is betting that powerplants like the new 2.0 I4 could provide a viable alternative for more costly hybrids and even the more sophisticated — but expensive — Ford EcoBoost for many customers.


Finding America’s Most Fuel-Efficient Automobiles

No, they aren’t all hybrids.

by on Mar.11, 2011

America's most fuel-efficient vehicle, the Toyota Prius.

The following story has been revised to include the Ford Fusion Hybrid in the Top 10 list.

If recent weeks are any indication, many American motorists are rethinking what to drive.  Last month’s sales numbers saw a spike in demand for small cars and hybrids (though there was also a bump in demand for pickups and bigger SUVs, despite rising fuel prices).

While there’s a law of diminishing returns, increasing your fuel economy from, say, 20 to 30 mpg can add up to savings of hundreds, even thousands of dollars a year, no wonder why so many motorists are thinking about downsizing or at least opting for alternative powertrains.

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The good news is that you don’t necessarily need to switch to a battery car or hybrid to achieve big improvements in your fuel economy.  Nor do you need to swap that family van for a minicar.

True, vehicles relying on at least some form of battery power – whether hybrids, plug-ins or pure battery-electric vehicles – top the latest mileage charts, the latest crop of internal combustion engines are yielding respectable numbers – often at substantially lower sticker prices.


BMW Unveils Vision Concept, and a Range of Efficient Dynamic Models

From X1 and 320d to Hybrid 7-Series.

by on Sep.15, 2009

The Vision Concept is designed to show you can deliver great performance and equally solid fuel efficiency, here using a diesel-hybrid powertrain.  No production is planned.

The Vision Concept is designed to show you can deliver great performance and equally solid fuel efficiency, here using a diesel-hybrid powertrain. No production is planned.

BMW often goes to great lengths to prove a point – especially when it wants to convince the media that it really does have some of the greenest cars in the luxury segment.  The automaker devoted virtually its entire news conference, at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, to unveiling various new Efficient Dynamic models large and small.

The term is a sort of catch-all for various clean, high-mileage technologies, from downsized diesels to hydrogen cars.  And nearly every possible form of “green” powertrain was on display.

But the star of the stand was clearly the 2010 BMW Vision Concept we analyzed before, a prototype diesel-hybrid designed to show that you don’t have to abandon the performance the German maker is known for in order to get truly spectacular mileage.

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The heart of the Vision is a 3-cylinder turbo diesel paired with two separate electric motors, one on each wheel – which effectively gives the Vision all-wheel-drive.


New York to Los Angeles on a Gallon of Gas?

Student engineers achieve record mileage in Eco-Marathon.

by on Apr.19, 2009

From NY to LA on a gallon of gas?  That's the equivalent of what one student team achieved in the 2009 EcoMarathon.

From NY to LA on a gallon of gas? That's the equivalent of what one student team achieved in the 2009 EcoMarathon.

Imagine making the drive from New York to Los Angeles on a gallon of gas.  You’d probably burn through more Red Bull by the time you hit the Rockies.  But a team of students achieved the equivalent of just that high-mileage performance as part of the Shell Eco-Marathon Americas, a track event that focused on miles per gallon, rather than miles per hour.

A team of student designers and engineers from Quebec’s Laval University pulled off the seemingly impossible, logging a full 2,757.1 miles per gallon with their a vehicle they dubbed NTF 3.0.  Surprisingly, that’s not an all-time record.  In 2008, a high school team from Evansville, Indiana, actually clocked 2,843 mpg.

“We knew coming into the challenge this year that we would have a lot to go up against,” said David Vallée, of Laval University. “But we had confidence in our vehicle and all the hard work that had gone into building it over the past year. We’re just excited the long hours paid off and we were able to win the 2009 Shell Eco-marathon Americas.”

A total of 44 high school and college teams participated in this year’s Eco-Marathon, which was held in Houston.  Entrants came from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil and even India.

Participants could field vehicles in either of two categories: UrbanConcept entries had to be reasonably roadworthy, and aimed at meeting real-world needs, while Prototype entries could stretch the boundaries of motor vehicle designs.  Teams could use any and every possible source of energy, from conventional gas or diesel to biomass, hydrogen and even solar power.

Laval’s combustion engine-powered NTF3.0 captured the Grand Prize – and $5,000 in cash – in the Prototype category.  Using a complex calculation, a team from Purdue University actually achieved the equivalent of 4,913 mpg on solar power, with their sun-fueled Solar prototype.  And Penn State University got the equivalent of 1,912.9 mpg using hydrogen in their Blood, Sweat & Gears.


First Look: 2010 Mazda CX-7

High-mileage, four-cylinder engine is part of Mazda’s goal to improve its overall fuel economy by 30%.

by on Apr.10, 2009

Mazda brought two new models to the NY Auto Show, including the 2010 CX-7, which gets a new, 28 mpg I-4 engine.

Mazda brought two new models to the New York, including the 2010 CX-7 with a 28 mpg I-4 engine.

With the introduction of a new, inline-four engine for its 2010 CX-7 crossover, Mazda takes a big step closer to its goal of offering “affordable” fuel economy to buyers around the world, the company’s chief executive declared, during a preview at the New York International Auto Show.

The 2010 Mazda CX-7 gets some minor visual tweaks, inside and out, for the upcoming model-year.  But the real news is under the hood, where the company is adding an optional 16-valve, naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter I-4 engine.  Delivering an estimated 21 mpg City and 28 Highway, Mazda Motor Co. CEO Takashi Yamanouchi hinted the new powertrain will come in at “even lower price point” than current offerings for the CX-7, though final pricing won’t be announced until just before the crossover’s autumn introduction.

Click Here to SubscribeWith consumers turning towards more fuel-efficient products – and governments around the world, including the U.S., raising mileage standards – Mazda is pushing to get out in front of its competition.  The automaker has set a goal of boosting its current fleet average fuel economy 30% by 2016, noted Yamanouchi. (more…)