2014 Paris Motor Show highlights

Fuel efficiency

Renault says its all-new EOLAB concept boasts fuel efficiency of 1 L/100km (235 mpg)

A few days after Peugeot weighed in with its latest eco-friendly hybrid concept, French countrymate Renault followed suit. Its all-new EOLAB Concept slashes fuel consumption in half when compared to the already efficient Peugeot 208 Hybrid 2L, requiring just 1 liter for 100 km of driving (235 mpg) while puffing out just 22 g/km of CO2 (NEDC cycle).  Read More

Rendering of the GE9X fan using a new fourth-generation composite

GE is looking to a new generation of carbon-fiber composites to make the fan blades for its GE9X jet engine. That engine is being developed for the Boeing 777X passenger airplanes that are set to enter service in 2020 and the new blades promise to provide larger, lighter engines with greater fuel efficiency.  Read More

Pure electrics like the Renault Zoe will take part in the 2014 MPG Marathon

The MPG Marathon, now in its fourth year, aims to demonstrate how fuel-efficient cars, route planning technology and eco-friendly driving skills can help to manage the rising cost of fuel. This year, electric vehicles, alongside range extenders and plug-in hybrids, will take part for the first time in its history.  Read More

An aluminum piston (left) and one of the new steel pistons (right)

In 1936, Mercedes-Benz became the first company in the world to launch a diesel passenger car – the 260D. Over the years, diesel automobiles became renowned for their efficiency and fuel economy. Now, the manufacturer is building on that success with the introduction of high-tech steel pistons.  Read More

Prof. Rolf Reitz (center) and members of his student team with the RCCI-powered Saturn

Five years ago we first heard about a Caterpillar diesel engine located at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, that had been modified to run on an unlikely-sounding mixture of diesel and gasoline. Not only did the one-cylinder engine work, but it was more efficient than pure-diesel or pure-gas engines at converting the chemical energy of fuel into motion. Sitting in a basement lab, however, isn't the same as experiencing use in the real world. That's why students at UW-Madison, led by Prof. Rolf Reitz, have now put another diesel/gas engine into a 2009 Saturn.  Read More

Audi's GFRP springs (left) are lighter than the steel units they replace

The quest for ever-greater fuel efficiency is driving auto manufacturers to extreme lengths to reduce the weight of their vehicles. Aluminum, carbon fiber and fiberglass are all being used to help meet stringent emissions standards. In its search for "enlightenment," Audi has announced it will introduce glass fiber-reinforced polymer (GFRP) springs in its vehicles before the end of the year.  Read More

In its low-drag configuration, the 'smorph' looks like a golf ball (Image: MIT)

Researchers at MIT have developed a smart curved surface that can morph at will to reduce drag, generating a series of small, evenly spaced dimples that make it resemble the outside of a golf ball. This technology could be used to reduce hurricane damage on some public buildings, as well as increase the aerodynamic and fuel efficiency in cars.  Read More

Volkswagen has been working on a new 10 speed dual-clutch autobox (DSG)

How many gears are too many for the average commuter vehicle? If you’re pulling a load of cattle across Saskatchewan, then a semi-tractor unit with nine gears should suffice. But if you’re Volkswagen, then the magic number for your upcoming models is in fact 10.  Read More

In order to achieve significant improvements in thermal efficiency, the Atkinson Cycle eng...

Toyota has announced the development of two hyper-fuel-efficient small-displacement petrol Atkinson cycle engines: a three-cylinder 1.0-liter and four-cylinder 1.3-liter which will be introduced across the range from next year in 14 different variations. The smaller engine will deliver 78 mpg (US) in the Toyota Aygo, an improvement of 30 percent.  Read More

A pre-certified Split Scimitar Winglet installed on a United Boeing 737-800 during the tes...

If you think that you've been seeing some funny-looking airliners in the past couple of months, you're not imagining things. On February 18th, a United Airlines Boeing 737-800 made the world's first commercial flight by an aircraft equipped with fuel-saving Split Scimitar Winglets.  Read More

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