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darin AT metrompg D-O-T com,
Posted Wednesday, March 8/06 in Mods & Tests
The obvious one is reduced fuel consumption. Another is lower emissions. And a big one is that driving the car actually gets everything up to operating temperature faster than just letting it sit running. (In fact, idling does nothing to warm the drivetrain, bearings, tires, etc.)
But how much faster? I didn't really know. Time to get some data!
Posted Saturday, February 18/06 in General
It's always great to hear from visitors. And it's nice to know I'm not the only mileage nut with a penchant for the Suzukiclones! Drop me a line any time - I always try to write back (enter your e-mail address carefully if you use the web form).
Here are some of the comments that have been e-mailed or submitted through the site's contact page.
Posted Tuesday, February 14/06 in General
The builder apparently experimented with several drivetrains to propel this trim (660 kg / 1455 lbs) glass fibre vehicle, including battery electric, as well as a 1-cylinder diesel, before ultimately settling on a 3-cylinder 799cc common rail diesel.
While looking at the pictures on the Jetcar web site, I was struck by how similar its 3-bolt wheels are to the wheels available on the Smart car. A quick visit to Smart Canada's web site confirmed my observation, and revealed the same engine specs too.
Hmmm... Click for more in this efficiency investigative report!
More miscellany after the jump, including: does the pulse & glide driving technique work in an electric vehicle?
Posted Thursday, February 9/06 in General
This was the first long hwy trip I've done since adding or modifying a number of items on the car, and since learning about the pulse & glide driving technique.
For a mid-winter trip (though admittedly a mild one), my mileage was really encouraging.
Full MPG details after the jump - plus: how a good tailwind helped me along to an astonishing 73 mpg (US) on one leg of the journey.
Posted Thursday, February 2/06 in Mods & Tests
Anyone with a passing interest in engine performance is probably familiar with the concept of the cold air intake (CAI), where the goal is to feed the coolest possible air into the engine. Since cooler air is denser (contains more oxygen by volume), a modern engine will compensate by injecting more fuel into the mix to retain a proper air/fuel mixture. The result is more power at a given throttle opening (relative to warmer air).
The idea behind a warm air intake (WAI) is based on the same underlying principles, but its goal is 180 degrees in the other direction: heating the intake air and decreasing its density to reduce power and boost the engine's overall efficiency.
A WAI set-up is easy to make, so about a month ago, I put one together for my car. It immediately suceeded in increasing my intake air temperature significantly, and I ran a controlled-as-possible test to see what it did for MPG...
Posted Sunday, January 15/06 in Driving efficiently
It sounds like some kind of tactical maneuver from the starship Enterprise. But in fact, it's a driving technique for more Earthly transportation. (Never mind that the car most closely associated with the term is kind of spacy-looking.)
Of course the car in question is the Prius, and this summer, a group of five efficiency aficionados drove an unmodified 2nd generation version of Toyota's hybrid to a fuel economy record of 109.3 mpg (US) over 1397 miles on a "loop" of public roads in Pittsburgh, PA.
When I first heard about their mpg marathon, I mistakenly assumed that their technique was possible only because of the hybrid system. I was wrong. Pulse and glide works - in theory - on any car.
Posted Friday, December 30/05 in Mods & Tests
Tony's Guide to Fuel saving - a professional engineer's view
I was happy to come across fuelsaving.info this week. It's a level-headed shelter from the virtual storm of over-hyped additives, modifications and gadgets out there.
The site is run by a British automotive engineer who examines fuel saving claims from a very rational - not to mention educated & qualified - point of view. He debunks well-known modifications and additives apparently out of sheer irritation with the pseudoscience surrounding them. (In fact, calling some of their claims "pseudoscience" does the word a disservice.)
More after the jump, plus Looking for a Miracle - Popular Mechanics tests several fuel-saving items.
Posted Wednesday, December 21/05 in General
I've driven both generations of Toyota's gasoline powered hybrid, and in terms of geek-appeal, it's hard to beat. Ghosting around town on electric-only propulsion (or "stealth mode" as it's also called) is one of the coolest driving experiences I've had. The car scores points both for its outstanding efficiency (when driven intelligently) and technological creativity.
The logical evolution for the Prius and other hybrids is a plug-in option. Fitted with an additional higher capacity battery that's charged from the grid, the car can operate in electric mode for up to 60 miles, vs. just a few miles in "stock" format. If the plug-in charge is used up, the car reverts to its gasoline motor and "normal" hybrid operation.
It's such a good idea, I've often wondered if there's a way to hybridize my Firefly. Maybe there is... if Santa's elves can work out the details.
Posted Sunday, December 11/05 in Mods & Tests
Maybe it's because of its humble status that I couldn't find much online information -- e.g. reviews, performance comparisons, etc. -- that would have helped last month when I was trying to decide which kind I should get.
Recently a fellow teamswift member contacted me to ask how my purchase worked out. His question reminded me of the dearth of information out there. It prompted me to put together a list of the pros & cons of various block heater types - plus the unique method the Toyota Prius uses to keep warm when it's cold outside.
Posted Tuesday, December 6/05 in Mods & Tests
Neighbour - "So, looks like you got a new Firefly."
Me - "Yup."
Neighbour - "Sort of looked like there was some cardboard taped on it."
Me - "Um... Yup."
I was just relieved he didn't notice last weekend, when I pulled into the driveway with wet newspaper plastered across the front of the car. Somehow that fact made it slightly less unusual to be explaining homebrew aerodynamic mods at a Christmas party. It was made even easier still by the fact that the modifications were a solid success.
darin AT metrompg D-O-T com, or here