2011 Chevrolet Cruze LT – Click above for high-res image gallery

The 2011 Chevrolet Cruze is no slouch in the fuel economy department. In fact, the six-speed manual transmission-equipped Cruze Eco scored an official EPA rating of 28 miles per gallon city and 42 mpg highway. Those numbers put the Cruze Eco near the top of the fuel economy heap in its class.

Improving the Cruze's fuel economy required some innovative thinking on behalf of General Motors, and one solution The General dreamt up was to reduce the energy consumed by the vehicle's alternator. Officially, GM calls this patented technology Regulated Voltage Control (RVC) and here's how it cuts down on fuel consumption:
With RVC, the power that runs from the alternator to the battery is reduced from 14 volts to 12.8 volts under normal driving conditions. This allows the alternator to focus the power on the vehicle's electrical loads and avoid charging the battery with current it doesn't need.

When the voltage to the battery is reduced, the demand on the alternator is reduced. That in turn reduces the alternator's pull on the engine, allowing the engine to run more efficiently. With the engine running more efficiently, fuel economy is improved.
The operation of RVC seems simple but its impact on gas consumption is nonetheless measurable. According to GM, RCV boosts the Cruze's fuel economy by 1.5 percent, allowing drivers to squeeze eight more miles out of a single tankful of gas.


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Photos copyright ©2011 Steven J. Ewing / AOL

[Source: General Motors]
Show full PR text
Cruze's Innovative Electrical Technology Saves Fuel

2011-03-28

WARREN, Mich. – Improving fuel economy in the Chevrolet Cruze consists of many small steps, including reducing the energy consumed by the alternator to help make the engine run more efficiently.

Officially, it is a patented General Motors technology called Regulated Voltage Control or RVC.

"We estimate RVC improves fuel economy on the Cruze by up to 1.5 percent," said Doug Dickson, an electrical engineering specialist with the GM Global Energy Center. "To a Cruze customer, RVC enables them to get more than eight additional miles of range on every tank of fuel."

With RVC, the power that runs from the alternator to the battery is reduced from 14 volts to 12.8 volts under normal driving conditions. This allows the alternator to focus the power on the vehicle's electrical loads and avoid charging the battery with current it doesn't need.

When the voltage to the battery is reduced, the demand on the alternator is reduced. That in turn reduces the alternator's pull on the engine, allowing the engine to run more efficiently. With the engine running more efficiently, fuel economy is improved.

When the battery is in a high state of charge, regulated voltage control extends to supplying some of the power to handle the load created by vehicle electronics, such as the radio. The sharing further reduces the electrical demands on the alternator and the engine helping to gain further engine efficiencies.

When the battery charge drops below a pre-determined level, the alternator automatically knows to route the necessary voltage to recharge the battery. This regenerative recharging automatically occurs when the vehicle is decelerating. So even though the battery is handling more of the vehicle's electrical load, it will remain at a high state of charge.

"Engineers left no stone unturned when it came to implementing fuel saving technologies on the Cruze," Dickson said. "Fuel economy is becoming a greater factor in purchasing decisions."

About Chevrolet

Founded in Detroit in 1911, Chevrolet celebrates its centennial as a global automotive brand with annual sales of about 4.25 million vehicles in more than 120 countries. Chevrolet provides consumers with fuel-efficient, safe and reliable vehicles that deliver high quality, expressive design, spirited performance and value. The Chevrolet portfolio includes iconic performance cars such as Corvette and Camaro; dependable, long-lasting pickups and SUVs such as Silverado and Suburban; and award-winning passenger cars and crossovers such as Spark, Cruze, Malibu, Equinox and Traverse. Chevrolet also offers "gas-friendly to gas-free" solutions including Cruze Eco and Volt. Cruze Eco offers 42 mpg highway while Volt offers 35 miles of electric, gasoline-free driving and an additional 344 miles of extended range. Most new Chevrolet models offer OnStar safety, security and convenience technologies including OnStar Hands-Free Calling, Automatic Crash Response and Stolen Vehicle Slowdown. More information regarding Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com

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