2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 05:39
It is not only with an economical driving style that the consumption of a car can be reduced. Other components also contribute to more efficient driving - for example the air conditioning.
By Thomas Geiger
The auto industry is under pressure: because it cannot keep its commitment to reduce CO2 emissions, it is heavily criticized. Manufacturers and suppliers agree that major leaps in development are required to achieve the targeted EU limit of 130 grams of CO2 per kilometer on average by 2012. But the latest innovations from BMW, Audi and VW show that they can get closer to the savings goal even with small steps. To do this, they don't even have to develop new engines, but above all control the peripherals more intelligently.
This approach becomes clear, for example, with the facelift for the 1 and 5 series from BMW, which, according to the manufacturer, consume up to 20 percent less without sacrificing performance. According to Stefan Wolff, who heads energy management in development, this is ensured not only by more efficient combustion processes and the further development of direct injection, but also by the “needs-based control of the auxiliary units”.
After all, the engine also serves as a drive for additional components from the servo pump to the air conditioning compressor, which cost power and increase consumption. "If such units only run when they are needed, you can save fuel and also get even more power on the road," says Wolff.
Air conditioning helps save
According to the supplier Delphi from Wuppertal, there is also great savings potential in the air conditioning system. Depending on the design of the system and depending on the temperature difference between the environment and the interior, it accounts for up to 10 or 15 percent of vehicle consumption, according to Marketing Director Michael Neumann. This proportion can be reduced if the system is designed intelligently. Lighter and better cooling modules not only save weight, but also the power of an additional fan and reduce emissions by four to six grams of CO2 per kilometer.
With its “BlueMotion” models, VW proves that you can save fuel with a modified engine management system, a longer gearbox, special tires and improved aerodynamics. This version has been available for a year on the Polo, which, according to the manufacturer, consumes an average of 3.9 liters per 100 kilometers and emits 105.3 grams of CO2 per kilometer. At the Geneva Motor Show at the beginning of March, the Wolfsburg-based company also unveiled a Passat “BlueMotion” whose consumption has fallen by around 15 percent to 5.1 liters per 100 kilometers. The CO2 emissions are then 136 grams.
"The greatest potential for saving fuel, however, lies in the driver's foot on the accelerator", says VW development chief Ulrich Hackenberg. In order to make better use of these possibilities, many manufacturers are celebrating their comeback with eco lights or switching displays. “Choosing the right switching point is the most important factor influencing driving behavior, which accounts for around 15 to 20 percent of fuel consumption,” explains Peter Gebhard, who heads vehicle physics at Audi in Ingolstadt.
In addition, customers should rethink their buying behavior, says analyst Nick Margetts from the market watcher Jato Dynamics in Limburg (Hesse). He refers to statistics that show that the average performance of German new cars has increased in the past year, as has their weight. "Anyone who buys ever stronger and heavier cars shouldn't be surprised if the savings efforts are only of little fruit and you still have to go to the gas station more often." (dpa)
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