Automakers these days are bending over backwards to develop car and trucks that more efficiently use gasoline. E3 Spark Plugs shares a few favorites:
Direct injection systems: They’re a step up from the port fuel injection systems that replaced carburetors. Port injection systems spray gasoline into the intake manifold where it mixes with air and gets sucked down into the cylinders. Direct injection instead places an injector on each cylinder, spraying the gas directly into the cylinder (thus the name). They’re pricier and some say noisier than conventional engines, but the gasoline/air mixture burns more completely and the engine runs much more efficiently. The 2011 Nissan Juke and 2012 Audi A6 already have them, but most automakers will roll out models with direct injection systems later this year.
Dual clutch transmissions are a gift of racecar technology. Sometimes referred to as an automated manual, the dual clutch transmission uses two computer-controlled clutches to grab gears – one for the odd numbered gears, one for even-numbered gears. When one gear is engaged, the computer takes a look at driver input, predicts which gear should be engaged next and pre-positions the second clutch. This eliminates the lag time required for the driver to work a clutch pedal (you know – that awkward, rushed moment when the impatient driver behind you is laying on his horn.) Thus, dual clutch transmissions combine the efficiency of a manual transmission with the convenience of an automatic. Try it out in the 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart or the 2011 Ford Fiesta.
First showing up in hybrid cars, idle stop saves gasoline by shutting down the engine when the car is stopped. Press the brake, and your engine cuts off. Let out the clutch or take your foot off the brake and it restarts. These systems require a strong starter, hesitate a bit in acceleration and are a bit of a pain in stop-and-go traffic. But, they’re being adopted in lots of standard gasoline engines. So, if you can deal with those issues, you can look to save money on fuel expenditures. Check it out in the 2011 BMW M3.
Of course, our own E3 Spark Plugs has a place on this list, too. Our patented DiamondFire technology spark plugs have multiple edges rather that create a spark with a larger frame front, allowing for more localized pressure. That allow for a faster pressure rise in the cylinder during the power stroke. This means a cleaner, more thorough burn and a more efficient use of gasoline.
Do you know of other fuel saving technologies on the horizon? Or does your vehicle use any of these? E3 Spark Plugs wants to know your thoughts. Leave a message here on the E3 Spark Plugs blog or on our Facebook fan page.