Years ago, vehicles were smaller and significantly lighter. Now, chock full with a growing list of standard features, vehicles have become overweight beasts on the roadways. It's certainly appealing to many to have all of the amenities of a luxury hotel suite packed into your car or truck, but this abundance of stuff doesn't help efficiency one bit.
Even though breakthrough engines like Ford's EcoBoost technology will help companies get closer to EPA goals set for 2016, it's anticipated that more must be done. As Ford's Barbara Samardzih remarked at the 2010 SAE World Congress this week, "Near-term (advancement) really relies on weight reduction." While this may sound easy – just cut a few pounds here and trim some there – it's not. Reducing bulk from a road-going vehicle is an expensive and laborious process that usually drops a few hundred pounds, at best. Weight loss aside, other automakers at the event noted that aerodynamics and low rolling-resistance tires could help increase mileage. While there was mention of electric vehicles and how they will contribute to regulation compliance, their importance placed well back in the pack, for now.
How might the future look? Well, if you combine the elements mentioned above and take each to the extreme (weight, aerodynamics, rolling resistance and electric power) the Aptera 2e just might be the perfect answer. At 1,800 pounds with the aerodynamics somewhere close to a fighter jet and rolling resistance decreased by the 3-wheel design, the 2e could show us the future of automobiles. Better get ready!
[Source: Ward's Auto]