Auto manufacturers do latch on to the FE ideas that are cheap. I'm wondering about the ones they don't use because they're too little return for the expense, and just where is that line?
And some ideas get ignored because styling and marketing are more important, or people don't want them. Aerodynamics seems to be the number one sacrifice in pursuit of convenience and looks. As in, no rear wheel skirts.
But the sorts of things I'm thinking about are things such as ceramic coatings, cryo treatments, lighter components made of magnesium alloys or carbon fiber, instant engine on/off capability, and better transmissions. Conventional automatic trannies are a crime. The manufacturer bears none of the fuel cost for those, and I'm guessing of all the ways to avoid having to shift gears, the conventional automatic is the cheapest from the manufacturer's view and the worst for FE.
So what all is out there that works except it's too expensive to be worth doing? Stuff that would take 500,000 miles or some such to pay back.
FE cars dont get along well with BigOil, and like you've mentioned, have a smaller profit margin with the manufacturer. Right there your screwed. And since most people would rather have a sporty looking car, or hp beast, I don't think there is much of a market for the extreme hypermiler.
And their is always the security factor too. Weight=safety (please dont knit-pick that one).
Flaming River, a company noted for street rod steering components, has a new electric assist power steering unit. Mighty spendy though--like thousands. Ignoring the cost, it does seem to have potential.
The 3 easiest things for manufacturers to do that they never will because they are scumbags:
-Less emphasis on power, speed and size in advertising and more emphasis on economy and environment
-More aerodynamic styling instead of the modern boxy agressive look
-Torque converter locks whenever the car isn't stopped or accelerating (Simple ECU mod)
Things that won't happen because of america's lazy and "I want it to be easier/faster for me" society:
-Less automatics, more manuals
-Slower cars, smaller engines
-Less heavy sh*t (POWER folding seats? POWER opening doors? Giagantic useless luxury SUV/Pickup? That crap just isn't necessary and never will be!)
-Aerodynamic, sleek styling (again), everyone loves the big agressive look! Why can't it be like the 30s and 40s when cars were more aerodynamic than some of the aircraft of the era?
-SLOWING DOWN, this one will never happen in our society
Mainly, the lack of effeciency in the world is a societal thing, if it were cool to be green and save money, believe me, all of our cars would get 50mpg off the lot and practically crap live baby trees and animals out the exhaust pipe!
Lots of weight reducing stuff. Aluminum bodies, thin glass, and so on. But the sky's the limit: composite everything held together with through-drilled titanium bolts.
There's lots of things that harshness is the issue, not money. No sound insulation, zero toe-in, straight-cut sliding-gear transmissions, etc. You can get way better aerodynamics for free if you didn't care about looks.