2016 Chicago Auto Show Show Guide - page 11

The automotive industry is set for
dramatic change by 2020 — and at
the forefront of that change is its
approach to environmentalism. With
gas hovering at $2 per gallon and
not expected to rise much over the
next few years, the quest for green
motoring with the buying pubic is
moving beyond MPG.
Domestically, the Chevy Volt is a good place to start.
In 2010 it emerged as Detroit’s courageous attempt to
take on the challenge of e-motoring. Now it’s the 2016
Green Car of the Year, according to AutoBlog.com,
sparking an uptick in sales over the outgoing model
despite historically low gas prices. General Motors plans
to keep interest in the second-generation Volt strong with
increased availability.
In Europe, the quest for green is seen at BMW’s “i”
division — where an environmental ethos is engineered
into the BMW i3 Electric. Eventually, there will be a line
of “i” cars. The i3, first introduced in 2013, sports an
ISO certificate 14040/14044 for environmentally friendly
features including recycled dash
materials and eucalyptus interior
wood trim that ages with the car.
The safety cell of the i3 is made
out of carbon-fiber-reinforced
polymer using recycled material. By last summer, the
i3 was the most fuel efficient EPA-certified vehicle
regardless of fuel type, according to fueleconomy.gov’s
Top 10 EPA-Rated Fuel Sippers.
Even though gas prices
are low right now, it doesn’t
mean that they will stay that
way forever. Indeed, federal
CAFE requirements continue to
tighten. Starting this year with 2016 models, the federal
government’s fuel-economy standards, which have sat
frozen for years, are going to increase substantially. The
average fuel economy for cars must improve from the
current 27.5 mpg, where it has been since 1990, to 37.8
mpg by 2016. The truck standard has to rise from 23.5
mpg to 28.8.
To meet these regulations, automakers are taking
a multifaceted approach – looking to increase fuel
efficiency across a wide range of engineering protocols.
Engines are getting smaller and more efficient, many
utilizing turbo and superchargers that help boost
performance while still maintaining steady-state fuel
economy. Adding ratios to transmissions also improves
engine efficiency, and many new vehicles now offer
8- and 9-speed automatic transmissions. Start/stop
systems turn off the engine at stoplights, reducing fuel
consumption in city trips. Vehicles are getting lighter,
thanks to the use of high-strength steel and aluminum.
Finally, automakers are taking advantage of active
aerodynamics to improved highway fuel consumption.
Many vehicles come with adaptive suspensions that
lower the ride height to improve economy and some even
come with active shutters that close grille openings to
smooth airflow. All told, these savings can increase the
fuel efficiency of today’s vehicles without impacting the
driving experience.
Car buyers are practical
aspirational. Even
with AAA projecting lower gas prices this year and
buyers shifting preferences toward larger vehicles, an
environmental appeal in a vehicle’s profile is something
to look for.
By Ravi Baichwal
ABC7 Eyewitness News Anchor
More Car, Les s Money : The LEASE you can do!
New Automotive Environmentalism
1...,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,...32
Powered by FlippingBook