Technology is moving at a tremendous pace. Each passing year reveals marvels in every field. Automobiles have also benefited from the advancement of technology throughout the years. Features that were considered luxury items a few years ago are now being found in normal non-luxury family sedans. But the question that comes to mind is that despite all this advancement in the automobile industry, why haven’t we able to get a car that gets 100 mpg? As it turns out, it is not that hard to build a 100 mpg with today’s available technology. Here’s how.
Lose the Weight
The simple rule of physics suggests that the lighter the matter is, the lesser force required to move it. This rule also applies to automobiles, which are mostly powered by fossil fuel-burning engines. There are many areas where we can get rid of extra weight, starting from the body of the car. Most of the car bodies are built with steel which adds a lot to its weight. Instead of steel, aluminum can be used because it’s lighter. Another material that is lighter but also much stronger than any metal is carbon fiber. The downside of using a carbon fiber is that it is astronomically expensive. Manufacturers hope that in the near-future composite materials will become cheaper and will be used in normal car body manufacturing.
Marc Ross is a physicist at the University of Michigan. He suggests that by reducing 10 percent of a car’s mass you can increase 7 percent of fuel economy.
If you are looking to build a 100 mpg car then aerodynamics will play a key role in helping you with that project. Aerodynamics of a car has a huge effect on the fuel economy of a car, especially on the highway. If the car is sleeker and slides through the air easily, then the engine will have to work less to get it moving. But most cars with good aerodynamics are expensive supercars that are designed to carry top speeds.
A good example of a domestic car with impressive aerodynamics is the Bionic car concept by Mercedes-Benz. It will probably be the most aerodynamically efficient family car ever designed (if or when it goes into production).
Perfectly Designed Wheels & Tires
Let’s bring back weight reduction in the picture, with a focus on wheels and tires this time. The rule of thumb suggests that the weight of the rotating tire is 1.5 times its actual weight. So this is an area we should really focus when trying to trim out weight in process of building a 100 mpg car. Wheels made by combining magnesium and carbon-fiber are significantly lighter and just 40 percent more expensive than standard wheels.
Tires should be designed with the minimum rolling resistance possible. The lowest rolling resistance is provided by tires that are skinny and have shallow treads. The ride will be a bit harsh but these tires will certainly help you in your goal to reach your 100 mpg fuel economy.
By applying all the methods above, it is very much possible to build a car with 100 mpg fuel economy. Hopefully, car manufacturers will be able to produce such efficient vehicles in the near future, if not right now.