At the Convergence 2008 conference in Detroit this week, German supplier Hella has been showing off some of its latest contributions to creeping featuritis in cars. Interestingly, much of this latest technology does not add to the feature content of cars but actually trims fuel consumption. One example of Hella's new products is adaptive cruise control. We used the ACC on the Audi Q7 extensively during the recent mileage marathon and learned that it can actually be calibrated to optimize fuel consumption. By setting the control parameters to minimize acceleration and deceleration while tracking the vehicle ahead, the system can cut fuel use. Audi hasn't identified the Q7 supplier, but Hella's system is on the latest Chrysler 300 and it cuts fuel use by one percent.
Hella also showed products like a start-stop system and a variety of components that can minimize the loads on the engine. That includes demand-driven electric fuel pumps and battery monitors to limit the electrical load on the alternator and thus the engine. The point of all this equipment is to optimize every element of the operation to minimize energy consumption.
[Source: The Auto Channel]