As many of you may know sustainable living, renewable energy and new technology are some of my passions. We are all awaiting for the day when we are living in homes and driving electric cars that are powered by renewable energy sources. Since we have a few decades before this becomes a reality, we all can leverage the technology we have today to reduce our over all carbon foot print ….. here is mt experience in doing so
How efficient are today’s cars?
There are many questions like this on Quora, many believe that car engines are going to be dead in the next decade or so. Experts and analysts predict that car engines still have a long road ahead of them in front it as a result of the recent fuel economy improvement technologies such as downsizing the engine, turbo charging, transmission technology, , engine start-stop, 48V systems, increased use of thermoplastic materials to replace metals, etc…
Not to long ago most compact SUV’s used to deliver 15 to 20 mpg of fuel economy however how does 37 mpg sound …. no not in a sedan but in a SUV.
Beating the EPA
Wanted to share the outstanding mileage our 2016 BMW X1 has been giving us and some of the technologies and driving behaviors that are responsible for achieving it.
Our vehicle has over 8,500 miles on it and our combined fuel economy is 32.6 mpg, which is significantly higher than EPA’s combined fuel economy rating for the vehicle of 25 mpg. Our combined fuel economy includes driving in cold Minnesota winters in 4WD mode and 2WD mode through spring until now. The average speed of 35.7 miles per hour also shows that we do more city driving than highway driving.
Recent business trip presented a opportunity for me to evaluate the vehicles fuel economy over a 827 mile road trip. As you can see the vehicle returned an impressive combined fuel economy of 37 mpg with a average speed of 62 miles per hours. No prizes for guessing but we all were driving well above the speed limit. Vehicle was in Eco Pro mode (2WD and I did use the efficient dynamics (driving coach) to maximize fuel economy.
Fuel Economy Technologies
For the 2016 model year BMW completely redesigned the X1 where the vehicle became little smaller as far as external dimensions are concerned however the interior space room was increased significantly.
- Coefficient of drag, reduced from 0.34 to 0.29.
- Weight reduction resulting from increased use of high strength steel and other lightweighting methods while improving interior volume.
- Downsized and turbo charged engine that provides great performance while reducing weight and providing fuel economy improvement
- Engine Start-Stop technology has been refined. Allows for the engines to shut down when the vehicle is stationary.
- Engine with Valvetronic system which provides infinite adjustment and rapid response of inlet and exhaust valves, improving the fuel economy by as much as 10%
- 8 speed transmission provides a wider gear ratio for off the line as well as highway speed passing performance
- Eco-Pro drive mode which significantly improves fuel economy by disconnecting power to the rear wheel, and utilizing the braking energy of the vehicle to recharge the battery, etc.. Mode also features “coasting” which disengages clutches to reduce parasitic losses in the drive train
- Efficient Dynamics (driving coach), is part of iDrive system that help you drive as efficiently as possible. Stars are awarded for deliberate acceleration and braking, etc..
Team up with technology
In summary, today’s cars are technological marvels and have the capability to deliver exceptional fuel economy however it requires us to team up with the technologies in the cars to maximize fuel economy.
So the answer to “how efficient are today’s cars” is, lot more efficient if we as drivers join forces with the technology.
Leverage the features and technologies car makers are providing and lets reduce our carbon footprint starting from today!
Take on the challenge and find out how efficient your car is and share your experience with me.
Future of internal combustion engines
There are numerous new technologies that are being considered by the auto manufacturers however Variable Compression Technology may offer yet another breakthrough in fuel efficiency and performance. Nissan is the first major automaker to bring this technology to market.
Blog post by Ketan Deshpande, Minnesota, MN