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The January 2009 Car Update


The January 2009 Car Update

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Steve Jones
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Comments posted to this topic are about the item The January 2009 Car Update

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Ian Brown-213389
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I'm based in the UK, so all mpgs below are in UK gallons....

I used to drive a Hyundai Coupe (Tiburon in the US). However, the ride was a little poor on UK roads and we wanted something a little more economical - we were getting about 25mpg on the motorway (cruising at 70 mph). So, we changed to the new Ford Fiesta and stepped down to a 1.4 litre engine. The mpg at 70 is about 50mpg. Slightly better...

I was driving downhill over the weekend at 40 in 5th gear and reset the mpg meter. For the next quarter of a mile, the it showed 99.9mpg. OK, so the sample size was a little small, but still it was nice to see!

The only problem is that I'm still used to being able to accelerate in the Coupe and the Fiesta feels a lot slower past 30mph.

There is no problem so great that it can not be solved by caffeine and chocolate.
icocks
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I was driving downhill over the weekend at 40 in 5th gear and reset the mpg meter. For the next quarter of a mile, the it showed 99.9mpg. OK, so the sample size was a little small, but still it was nice to see!


Most modern cars should automatically cut the fuel to the engine when you coast in gear without touching the accelerator (unless your rpm drops below a certain point). Basically, if you want to keep your mpg up make sure you keep in gear any time you're going downhill or slowing down - once you take it out of gear the fuel has to cut back in to keep the engine turning.

There can be something of a tradeoff when going downhill though - if you keep in gear your fuel consumption is zero, but engine braking may slow you down to the point where you need to blip the accelerator again, whereas if you come out of gear you have to consume some fuel to keep the engine ticking over, but should coast much further (& will usually gain speed). I'm sure some of the dedicated hypermilers out there can give some much better details of the pros & cons of each approach.

The really dedicated ones turn off their engines altogether downhill, which is fine so long as you don't mind losing the power assist on your steering & brakes w00t
Ian Brown-213389
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The really dedicated ones turn off their engines altogether downhill, which is fine so long as you don't mind losing the power assist on your steering & brakes w00t


Just as long as they don't reach a bend and find they've engaged the steering lockBigGrin

There is no problem so great that it can not be solved by caffeine and chocolate.
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I have a relative that has a Highlander Hybrid - and my big American sedan gets close to 10mpg better in the winter than his "hybrid". And his car only costs a small fortune more!

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mike brockington
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These days most cars ARE fairly modular.

When the manufacturer introduces a new bodyshell, the running gear remains the same as the last model.
A year or two later the engines get an upgrade, and they are common to the whole range, so a 1.25 in a Ka is the same as a 1.25 in a Fiesta, (don't think Ka's come with a 2.0, but it is the same 2.0 in a Puma as in a Mondeo, etc...)

VW, SEAT and Skoda all use the same basic designs, just a slight tweak to the bodywork and spec, and a different badge.

There is just as much 're-use' going on with the smaller companies: the Tesla is based on a Lotus Elise(?), while Lotus design the suspension for half the european car makers. Buy a Caterham or similar, and only the chassis / bodyshell comes from them - the rest always comes from a larger manufacturer or two.

At a lower level still, the lights, wheels, switchgear, audio kit, batteries, alternators, starters, pumps and wiring all come from third-party suppliers, who naturally do their best to ensure the minimum possible number of variations.

Really, I don't see how things could sensibly get much more modular than they are now - quite the reverse: things like the Tesla need to be bleeding edge to have a chance, and that means that all of the novel stuff has to be custom-built.

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pgolds
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It's interesting that you posted a picture of the Think City car from Norway. The company just filed for bankruptcy:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123292783557913869.html
bwieland
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Author, you are one lucky dog getting to board up there. I used to have a place in Silverthorne and I miss it terribly.... We used to see on our deck and watch i-70 down the mountain.... I don't envy you driving.... Interesting concept.... An entire block renting a car to each other....

Is this going on in any other countries??

bwieland@biforbiz.com
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I'm still up in the air about all this hybrid stuff...

I was at a dealer for car inspection and there was a Prius idling in the parking lot for over an hour. I went to a sales rep and mentioned it and he said they had to charge it. I guess you can't plug them in.

If you've got to let it idle to charge now and then, what's the point of having a hybrid?
Can you imagine a world where tens of thousands Prius's are in driveways idling away to charge thier batteries??....that's not saving our resources. I'd like to know if the MPG computer conveniently forgets idle time.

It all seems shady to me, like the hybrid is the bone the car companies throw to appease the environmentalists.
GSquared
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Scott Anderson (1/27/2009)
I'm still up in the air about all this hybrid stuff...

I was at a dealer for car inspection and there was a Prius idling in the parking lot for over an hour. I went to a sales rep and mentioned it and he said they had to charge it. I guess you can't plug them in.

If you've got to let it idle to charge now and then, what's the point of having a hybrid?
Can you imagine a world where tens of thousands Prius's are in driveways idling away to charge thier batteries??....that's not saving our resources. I'd like to know if the MPG computer conveniently forgets idle time.

It all seems shady to me, like the hybrid is the bone the car companies throw to appease the environmentalists.


They are that. Creating the batteries and such for modern hybrids actually has more negative effect on the environment than the expected lifetime reduction in air pollution.

And I'm not talking about the replacement of the batteries, I'm talking about mining the metals, manufacting and shipping the batteries, etc.

There are plug-in kits for hybrids that avoid the idling thing. I don't believe they are in common use at this time.

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