How can we make conventional automobiles more energy efficient?

While electric vehicles have been growing at a good pace worldwide since 2015, it will be at least until 2040 before they overtake conventional vehicles to become mainstream. In the meantime, until 2040, well over a billion conventional cars will be sold worldwide. Which implies that it is important for us to find avenues and solutions to make conventional vehicles more energy efficient and environment friendly. What could indeed be the innovations and solutions to make conventional cars more energy efficient?

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The internal combustion engine in most vehicles give an efficiency of only about 35-40%. Essentially, 60% of energy is wasted. How can the ICE be made more energy efficient?

A better design and aerodynamics for vehicles can result increased overall efficiency through for instance reducing wind resistance and reducing losses associated with requirements for cooling flow through the engine compartment.

In general, the smaller the car, the more fuel efficient it is - makes sense, doesn’t it?

A large part of the fuel in the automobile is used not to carry the human being, but the weight of the rest of the vehicle! Using lighter materials will thus reduce the weight of the vehicle and result in significantly higher fuel efficiency.

In developing and underdeveloped countries, many more people use scooters and motorbikes than cars. Make these energy efficient can thus have a significant impact on the overall energy sustainability of these countries

In developing and underdeveloped countries, a large part of commercial transport (both for passenger and goods carriage) use three wheelers. Make these energy efficient can thus have a significant impact on the overall energy sustainability of these countries

Light commercial vehicles are those that are commercial goods carriers but which carry these for short distances. Examples of these include vans, tempos etc. These comprise a good part of commercial transport in many countries

Trucks and large commercial vehicles are significant users of fossil fuels and significant contributors to GHG emissions, in addition to air pollution. Making these energy efficient can thus result in multiple benefits - to the economy and the environment.

Bus transport is a key component of a sustainable transport system. Imagine if these buses are also highly fuel efficient. That will be a double benefit, wouldn’t it?

Use of information technology in vehicles will not only make them more useful and enjoyable, they can significantly enhance sustainability and efficiency by achieving optimizations on a number of dimensions - fuel use monitoring, route management, fleet scheduling and more.

Simple things work. That simple. A number of well-known maintenance tips and best practices for vehicle maintenance can go a long way in making the vehicle more efficient.

Similar to best practices for vehicle maintenance, following simple but effective tips for vehicle operations and driving behaviour can go a long way in enhancing both safety and sustainability of your drive!

While both transmission and drivetrains sport high efficiencies in today’s vehicles, there’s still scope for enhancing these efficiencies further through innovations.


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