Eco-upgrading your car (20 Oct, 2014)

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Eco-upgrading your car (20 Oct, 2014)

Postby aardvark_admin » Mon Oct 20, 2014 7:48 am

This column is archived at: http://aardvark.co.nz/daily/2014/1020.shtml

Who'd have thought you could get an old XJ-S Jag to return 43mpg?

How many of those energy-saving modifications that were made to that jag are standard equipment in a contemporary car?

Are EVs the only way forward when it comes to further improving the total energy-efficiency of our transport fleet?
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Re: Eco-upgrading your car (20 Oct, 2014)

Postby par_annoyed » Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:56 am

I read something on the net somewhere (can't remember the link - sorry) which compared the modern 787 Dreamliner fuel economy to a 747, and the difference on a per person per km basis is staggering, it's something like 40% , which shows what can be done. This is why you don't see any older 747 or 737 airliners anymore - they are gas guzzlers by comparison. Improvements in jet engine technology are amazing.

It then went on to describe how cars have improved hardly at all , because of crash regulations they have to be heavier (hmm... I'm not convinced there), and they have gained a lot of technology and 'bling', but pretty much use the same old engine technology. Diesels are something like 11% more efficient than petrol engines, and are no longer the smelly, black cloud producers, when run properly, but NZ has extra charges (which is silly IMHO), so an immediate improvement would be to go to turbo diesels. Efficiency - diesels are even better at light throttle, whereas petrol engines are worse at light throttle.

That article is really interesting, as a classic car fan, I have wondered for a while what improvment a modern engine management system would get on an older engine (and you can buy them as 'open Source' type deals - MegaSquirt is one, Emerald is another - all home tuneable).

Next gen of cars in Kevlar and ultrlight materials ?? Nah - maybe one day....
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Re: Eco-upgrading your car (20 Oct, 2014)

Postby Screw » Mon Oct 20, 2014 2:33 pm

Get a big 3D printer and print out a new copy of the XJ! ;)

We got an improvement in economy in an XK by replacing the original SU carbs with Webbers. More grunt as well.

Saw a proggie on TV a while back about a fella who converted his Toyota Corrolla to electric. Shows how he adapted a DC motor to the original drive train. Then stacked a lot of Lead/Acid batteries in the space from where the original donk came out of.

Went well too!
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Re: Eco-upgrading your car (20 Oct, 2014)

Postby Mr.Sugg » Mon Oct 20, 2014 4:00 pm

VW have recently announced a diesel-electric hybrid concept that looks reasonably orthodox, a bit slow (0-100km in 11.9 sec) but achieves 314mpg! It's powered by an 800cc turbo diesel plus an electric motor. While it's not for production in it's current form, some of the technology will filter through to our less exotic, daily drive. Read about it here - - - http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/conce ... 0mpg-coupe
I remember as a high school kid back in the 70's, reading a Popular Mechanics article about American car manufacturers bleating that they couldn't possibly meet the proposed new emissions and mileage regulations about to be imposed on them. Vaguely remember "impossible" figures in the low teens. Then the Japanese car industry happened.
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Re: Eco-upgrading your car (20 Oct, 2014)

Postby Kiwiiano » Mon Oct 20, 2014 8:10 pm

aardvark_admin wrote:This column is archived at: http://aardvark.co.nz/daily/2014/1020.shtml

Who'd have thought you could get an old XJ-S Jag to return 43mpg (6.57l/100km)?

How many of those energy-saving modifications that were made to that jag are standard equipment in a contemporary car?

Are EVs the only way forward when it comes to further improving the total energy-efficiency of our transport fleet?


Impressive improvement, but sorry, no banana. The target is to reduce our carbon feetprints to 10% of what we currently take for granted, or we just have to take the consequences on the chin. Or our grandchildren will.

To be fair it doesn't necessarily mean trying to get the Jag up to 430mpg. Roughly speaking you can get pretty close to the target by driving a car weighing half as much, at half the speed, for half the distance, half as often. Or whatever combination of those factors achieves it. You can't afford to NOT commute to work for half the week, but if you vehicle only weighed ¼ of your current one it would be a big help. And if everyone was driving at half their current speeds, we would have less to worry about over non-armour plated vehicles.

Oh sure, I hear some cry, how would we cope without our beloved behemoths? Humanity managed without them for millennia and because we live on a finite planet, sooner or later we'll have to get used to getting by without them. Any assumptions otherwise are deranged.
~ Kiwiiano
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Re: Eco-upgrading your car (20 Oct, 2014)

Postby aardvark_admin » Mon Oct 20, 2014 8:20 pm

Perhaps instead of these stupid carbon taxes, we could give everyone a carbon allocation which covered their emissions up to a specific amount. Over that amount they'd have to pay a premium for their energy/emissions that reflected the environmental impact.

The personal allocation could be gradually reduced over time -- so as to give everyone a chance to make the necessary adjustments -- until the 10% figure was reached.

The problem right now is that nobody's going to want to buy/drive a 250Kg EV and drive it alongside a 3 tonne SUV on the motorway at 100kph. Perhaps we dedicate specific time-slots or lanes as "EV Only" and gradually phase out ICEs over a 15 year period?
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Re: Eco-upgrading your car (20 Oct, 2014)

Postby Malcolm » Tue Oct 21, 2014 8:30 am

aardvark_admin wrote:Perhaps instead of these stupid carbon taxes, we could give everyone a carbon allocation which covered their emissions up to a specific amount. Over that amount they'd have to pay a premium for their energy/emissions that reflected the environmental impact.


You basically described the rough details of an emsssions trading scheme, which we half heartedly tried to introduce but then had it scaled back and favouritism given to certain industries/groups. Essentially each entity (Person, company or factory etc) is given an allocation allowing them to emit a certain amount of pollution. If you stay under that you are good and can even sell off the unused portion of your share on an open market. If you can't stay under you go to that market and attempt to buy enough to cover. If the cost of doing so is over the cost of reducing emissions then you reduce the emissions. Sadly many influential and wealthy groups are negatively impacted by this idea so throw resources in to blocking it instead of using those resources to clean up their operations.
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Re: Eco-upgrading your car (20 Oct, 2014)

Postby par_annoyed » Tue Oct 21, 2014 9:06 am

I remember also, quite a while ago whilst still living in UK, I had a friend who was an aircraft technician, and he reckoned that the electric generators from large planes would be perfect for cars.
They are apparently miniature jet engines/gas turbines, and are used to generate electricity whilst plane is sat on the ground - typically it's mounted in the tail. They are apparently so light you can pick them up with both hands, are mostly plastic/GRP/kevlar, and generate many Kw from jet fuel (ordinary parrafin, more or less). They are not very big either he reckoned, about the same size as a V6 engine, including the generator parts.

Imagine how much electricity a large jumbo/dreamliner uses just sat on the ground.
Can't verify this, but interesting info.
Bruce, I bet you have dealt with the model aircraft super mini jet engines - you could probably tell me whether this is true/reliable or not.
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Re: Eco-upgrading your car (20 Oct, 2014)

Postby par_annoyed » Tue Oct 21, 2014 9:14 am

Kiwiiano wrote:Impressive improvement, but sorry, no banana. The target is to reduce our carbon feetprints to 10% of what we currently take for granted, or we just have to take the consequences on the chin. Or our grandchildren will.


At the risk of being vilified, I simply don't believe that climate change is manmade. There's too many variables and unknowns. There a WEALTH of data which shows the Earth has been warmer than now - I beleive that the Earth's weather has [natural] cyclic patterns, possibly linked to the Sun's cycles. That's not to say that climate change itself won't happen, just that there's probably nothing we can do about it.

There is historical information for example that the Romans grew grapes in York, England, and the name Greenland was not a joke, and it was a successful farming economy, until the weather changed. There's evidence which shows many of Mankind's great explorations and movements were actually for survival in the face of climate change.

(just thought I'd stir things up a bit !!)
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Re: Eco-upgrading your car (20 Oct, 2014)

Postby George Tyler » Tue Nov 11, 2014 11:42 am

par_annoyed wrote:I remember also, quite a while ago whilst still living in UK, I had a friend who was an aircraft technician, and he reckoned that the electric generators from large planes would be perfect for cars.
They are apparently miniature jet engines/gas turbines, and are used to generate electricity whilst plane is sat on the ground - typically it's mounted in the tail. They are apparently so light you can pick them up with both hands, are mostly plastic/GRP/kevlar, and generate many Kw from jet fuel (ordinary parrafin, more or less). They are not very big either he reckoned, about the same size as a V6 engine, including the generator parts.
......


There was a company in ChCh making buses with a gas turbine engine charging batteries and an electric motor driving the wheels, there was even one sold on trademe.... They were used overseas but no one in NZ bought them as far as I know.
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