New Products Make Speed and Fuel Economy Compatible

Sure, there will always be the muscle car maniacs who don't care if their vehicles get less than 10 miles per gallon.

Sure, there will always be the muscle car maniacs who don't care if their vehicles get less than 10 miles per gallon.

But if Al Gore's predictions are true, many viewers of his Oscar-winning movie, “An Inconvenient Truth,” will be interested in alternative-fuel vehicles.

At the very least, they'll be interested in overall fuel economy. Dealership staffers would be wise to keep up with the latest in that regard.

“Elementary, my dear Watson” is what Sherlock Holmes would say when explaining a solution that was simple, yet often overlooked.

Dealership sales and service personnel should use the same logic when showing customers ways to help them get greater fuel savings.

Some cutting-edge products are designed to curb fuel consumption. Some are auto parts, others entire vehicles. Believe it or not, many are performance-oriented.

Consider a car highlighted at the last Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Assn. show in Las Vegas. It boasts an incredible 92 miles per gallon. On regular gasoline no less. How can this be?

Besides an innovative 3-wheel configuration super-low drag co-efficient and other fuel sipping features, the key innovation is the use of fuel vapors.

While most gasoline engines today run on an average 14.7-to-1 ratio (14.7 parts air to 1 part gasoline), this vehicle runs on a 20-to-1 ratio. Without compromising performance.

It accelerates 0-60 mph in 5 seconds and pulls over 1.7 g while cornering with regular street tires. Fuel Vapor Technologies, the Canadian firm that developed the car, is not just blowing hot air.

Not all such energy-conserving innovations are so elaborate.

For example, Wam Technologies won a SEMA award for its direct tire-pressure monitoring system. It is an easily mounted device that directly regulates and monitors tire pressure, leading to fuel economy.

Diesel Performance Products Inc. offers high-performance fuel systems and fuel pumps, both designed to optimize delivery with a minimal of “entrained air.”

That is undesired air from when the fuel pump draws fuel from the gas tank. While the vehicle is moving, the fuel is sloshing around in the fuel tank, creating more entrained air. It creates “retarded timing” which results in less than optimum fuel combustion. DDP's fuel pump is designed to combat that.

Meanwhile, Tesla Motors of England has developed a Lotus-designed hybrid-electric sports car that runs on a series of lithium ion cells and gets 135 miles per gallon.

This electric car has a range of 250 miles on the highway and a top speed of 130 mph. It goes 0-60 in about four seconds.

Those are super-car stats!

TAGS: Dealers Retail
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