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Old 02-28-2008, 06:31 PM   #251
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Wrong parameter. The question is: ?what would it take to make fuel-efficient vehicles more desirable??

There are small cars that get disgraceful mileage. Even pickups and SUVs have the potential for fairly good fuel economy. Even the high-performance Corvette is easily capable of 30+ MPG if driven conservatively. All of the various types of vehicles exist to fill a perceived niche. Manufacturers build cars because people buy them. Before we get too wrapped around the axle, please note that Prius and Yaris are selling briskly. Used Prius, Insights, and VW TDIs command a premium while SUVs languish on the lots. Note what every manufacturer is advertising hard ? SUVs. They are trying desperately to sell these sales turkeys. The truly fuel-efficient vehicles get snapped up as fast as they arrive.

Gas and diesel prices are working this magic as we palaver.

I think the association of small, slow, uncomfortable and unsafe cars with high fuel economy does the latter a huge disservice. Rather than to force ?Soccer-Mom? into a Yaris (that she thinks is a death-trap) why not refine the minivan into a fuel efficient vehicle? It is a whole lot easier to work with people?s perceptions than to reform them.

I do agree with part of beatr911?s initial post. A big part of the problem is the fuel-wasting torque-converter automatic transmission. I personally would not have an automatic, but it is not the manual shifting I foavor but the positive lockup you get from a clutch as opposed to a torque converter. Locking torque converters are only a halfway measure that drastically reduce the service life of the automatic transmission. The long term answer is a transmission that mates the positive lockup of a clutch with a shifting mechanism that does not require the dexterity of a manual. People prefer to drink coffee or blab on the cell phone than shift gears. You can?t change people. Change the vehicle. F1 cars shift gears without using the clutch (the clutch is only for the initial launch). When the driver shifts the ignition interrupts the power delivery long enough for the transmission to shift. Something like that needs to be worked out for the street. Just losing the torque converter would probably raise fleet fuel economy by 2 MPG.

Rather than convincing everyone to buy a Prius, why not endeavor to make cars that can do more than just the commute mission that get good MPG? It is an axiom of automotive design that ?anybody can make a Ferrari but it takes genius to make VW or Model T.? where that analogy speaks to cost, the same can be applied to vehicle size. Any knucklehead can make a itty-bitty deathtrap that gets 60 MPG. What takes skill is a vehicle that carries out a wide range of missions and still get 35 MPG. And that vehicle is exactly what is needed.

BTW, vehicles in the US are designed assuming unbelted occupants due to litigation. The assumption of unbelted occupants and the weight penalty are just the price of (legal) defensive engineering.
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Old 02-28-2008, 06:53 PM   #252
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An obstacle to more efficient automatics is consumer perceptions of what an auto should feel like. An auto for maximum efficiency and longevity should shift firmly, not spend two seconds grinding clutches and bands together as it slushes out of one gear into another. Wastes energy and grinds off friction material. Lost count of the number of aquaintances that come boasting of a great deal they got on a car, "shifts like butter" they say, then a couple of months later they're getting it towed to the wreckers or getting a $$$ tranny job, as I'm giving them a ride somewhere, due to their brokenass car, they'll politely comment that maybe they could get Fred their favorite transmission guy (who makes $$$ off them like as not) to take a look at mine for me, since they can...SHOCK...HORROR...feel it shifting... at which point I laugh somewhat hysterically and inform them I did severe duty shift kit modifications to my transmission and filled it up with Universal Tractor Fluid that has a superior package of friction modifiers... they kind of go silent at this point and look at me like I'm mad.... Honestly I've tried to help them... they mention they might have detected a faint slip, and I haul them down to a parts store, buy new fluid and filter, help 'em change it, and add a bottle of Lucas transmission fix for good measure... and they are mortified to find out that it now seems to shift somewhat firmly OMG nooooooo!!!!!! So they think I've messed up their car and drive it around for the next 2 years (which is usually some sort of record for them keeping a working car) expecting it to explode at any second....
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Old 02-28-2008, 08:33 PM   #253
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Well eventually we will all be in FE vehicles but just like always we will be 10 years behind the rest of the world. If we could jump 10 years ahead right now by bringing over the high mileage vehicles the rest of the world enjoys, it would sure help...but US Makers need to build them to keep our economy stable. We just don't need to import more than we already do.
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Old 05-21-2008, 12:09 PM   #254
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The ability to fit 2 adults, 2 kids and 2 giant dogs.
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Old 05-21-2008, 12:30 PM   #255
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The ability to fit 2 adults, 2 kids and 2 giant dogs.
AND luggage
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Old 05-21-2008, 12:45 PM   #256
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I've said it before, but...I'd like to see the el-strippo models make a comeback. Getting rid of 200lbs worth of power crap that's just waiting to break at some point or another anyway would have so many benefits it's not even funny. The cars would be lighter, cheaper to buy, cheaper and easier to maintain, quicker, and get better economy.
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Old 05-21-2008, 02:20 PM   #257
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I've said it before, but...I'd like to see the el-strippo models make a comeback. Getting rid of 200lbs worth of power crap that's just waiting to break at some point or another anyway would have so many benefits it's not even funny. The cars would be lighter, cheaper to buy, cheaper and easier to maintain, quicker, and get better economy.
my thoughts too... ESPECIALLY power seats i mean my god how hard is it to lift/slide a lever and go from full forward to full backward in 1/2 a second?

but anyways, people are lazy VERY lazy nowadays...turning a crank to get some arm excersize is now a huge deal, rolling down the window and adjusting the mirrors (i LOVED the interior knob of the 70-80's cars best idea ever) that you usually only have to do what once a year? power locks ehh don't really need em but good safety thing. but like power side doors and rear hatches no screw that, get some arm muscle!!! or power fold seats wtf... pretty soon were going to have power rear view mirrors...

really to make small cars more desirable only way to do that is to have sime incentives to have ppl come test drive them/people ride in em.

like i keep saying from the outside the chevette looks TINY yet im 6'3" and can fit comfortably in the back seats with the fronts all the way forward...

to get people to like small cars they have to be in em, its like people say they don't like chineese food but have never tried it but have heard "stories" about it lol

also car companies have to make em look sporty, super neat interior design, available power features and whatnot... they have to look appealing...
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Old 05-21-2008, 09:09 PM   #258
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my thoughts too... ESPECIALLY power seats i mean my god how hard is it to lift/slide a lever and go from full forward to full backward in 1/2 a second?
Actually, power seats have their virtues...the ability to raise/lower the seat, front or back or both at the same time as well as move the seat. A good way to stay just a little more alert on long drives. Saves legs from going to sleep. Also like tilt/telescoping steering wheels. Unfortunately there is not always a rest stop when you need one...

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but anyways, people are lazy VERY lazy nowadays...turning a crank to get some arm excersize is now a huge deal, rolling down the window and adjusting the mirrors (i LOVED the interior knob of the 70-80's cars best idea ever) that you usually only have to do what once a year? power locks ehh don't really need em but good safety thing. but like power side doors and rear hatches no screw that, get some arm muscle!!! or power fold seats wtf... pretty soon were going to have power rear view mirrors...
Whadadya mean soon? My '84 Lincoln came with one! Well...an automatic headlight sensing power day/night mirror, anyway. Power locks...well, on my Geo that would be like power steering on a Corvair...but they make sense on a big car. Power outside mirrors make some sense...especially for the passenger side. Other mentioned items are good for handicapped or elderly people...most of us can probably get by without them just fine.

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really to make small cars more desirable only way to do that is to have sime incentives to have ppl come test drive them/people ride in em.

like i keep saying from the outside the chevette looks TINY yet im 6'3" and can fit comfortably in the back seats with the fronts all the way forward...
But can someone the same height as you drive and you still be comfortable in back? When I had my Chevette, a certain 5'10" passenger I often carried in back would wind up playing footsie w/my butthole! Ugh! (BTW, I have nothing but respect for Chevettes...mine, while it broke often, was just so easy to fix that it kept on like the Energizer Bunny! Drove it for seven years, put nearly 200k miles on it~~it had over 250k on it when I sold it--still running. A rare thing for me...I usually completely wear out cars!)

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to get people to like small cars they have to be in em, its like people say they don't like chineese food but have never tried it but have heard "stories" about it lol

also car companies have to make em look sporty, super neat interior design, available power features and whatnot... they have to look appealing...
Also make them easier for handicapped/elderly/overweight people to get into and out of...I can get into and out of my Geo just fine, but some people close to me unfortunately cannot...that's why I still keep my Cadillac...
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Old 05-21-2008, 09:22 PM   #259
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I don't think that power options are really that significant when it comes to weight. Small high speed motors with very low gear ratios add only ounces to each power accessory.

Most of the added weight in vehicles today is structural.
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Old 05-21-2008, 10:18 PM   #260
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I don't think that power options are really that significant when it comes to weight. Small high speed motors with very low gear ratios add only ounces to each power accessory.

Most of the added weight in vehicles today is structural.
That may be true. Still, just as a "lifestyle" choice, I prefer no a/c, no radio, manual brakes and steering, no carpet, maybe no heat, etc. This POV came to me from getting into ol' skool 50's hot rods built out of '20's and '30's cars which were far from ornate to begin with and further stripped of everything from carpet to fenders (remember, these were the ol full-fendered bodies), hoods, door panels and door glass for weight savings. Plus it's amazing how reliable a car becomes when there's nothing on it to break
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