The continuous rise in oil prices have forced drivers to focus more attention on fuel efficiency and car manufacturers have been working overtime to try and squeeze more out of a liter of fuel as this is becoming a major selling point for drivers.
Unfortunately, there is one fact that has been working against innovative car manufacturers — the trusted internal combustion engine (ICE) is notoriously inefficient. Typically the mechanical energy that is produced by an engine is about 20 percent of the energy contained in the fuel, most of the energy from a car’s engine goes out the tailpipe and the radiator as heat.
Furthermore, engines have to be connected to some form of transmission — a differential — to get the power to the road, and all these mechanisms use energy.
While engine design has essentially remained the same since it was first invented, the systems that manage the engines have changed radically with the development of computers.
This is where most of the efficiency gains have been derived. Modern car engines are managed by very advanced computers systems. Transmissions, for instance, have seen major changes since the invention of the manual gearbox.
There is now a choice of the traditional manual transmission (MT), the traditional automatic transmission (AT), Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), and Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG).
Newer systems such as the CVT now used in most JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) cars and DSG transmissions, used by many VW and other European cars, offer significant efficiency and performance gains over older transmissions.
The Jamaica Observer