Software Tweak Could Produce Gas Savings

Dutch scientist John Kessels at the University of Eindhoven says he has written code that makes cars more efficient by controlling a vehicle's battery charging system. Employing software to dynamically switch a dynamo, used to charge batteries in conventional car designs, on and off can have a significant impact on mileage. The professor claims the software patch and an inexpensive cable could be added to any car with an onboard computer and produce fuel savings in the range of 2.6%. The software patch for automotive dynamo control still requires further testing to evaluate its effect on car batteries.

Kessels has been working with automaker Ford to increase engine efficiency using the technique, which is already being used commercially in many hybrid vehicles. Further gas savings and resulting reduced carbon dioxide emissions could be achieved by actually switching a car's engine on and off, as long as more powerful starter motors were used and other changes to the car's powertrain were made. Kessels findings will be published in the article "Energy Management for the Electric Powernet in Vehicles with a Conventional Drivetrain," which is scheduled to appear in IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology – Special Issue on Control Applications in Automotive Engineering, 2007.

News source: DailyTech

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Why does this even make headlines?

The Air Car - Runs on air!


How much will the cars cost?

In Europe the MiniCAT's will be put forward at a base price of 6 .860 Euros (without Iva) except in some options.
The CityCAT's will be put forward at a base price of 9 .460 Euros (without Iva) except in some equipped options. Taxes and subsidized options have not yet been calculated.

6800 Euros? Roughly that's about $12,000 dollars US?

If USA would create something like this (they wouldn't though!) it would be the answer to the problem. But, the fact of the matter is, the Oil/Gas companies get a kickback from EVERY gallon of gas sold. (ever notice the "Taxes"?) This car above would TRULY crimp them where it hurts.
Surprised this guy was from Holland. This Air Car is in Spain, and europeans know about it. The reason I found out about it.

But this is USA we live in (at least I do!)

Umm... 6 miles per gallon X 14 gallons (average tank)= 84 miles per tank. That's like getting 2.5 gallons for free, right? So it is that big of a deal. Gas @ ~$3 US per gallon- save 8-9 dollars per tank full.

But on the other side, of things, it would put more strain on the battery when the charging system is off, and a larger strain on the charging system when it engages. I wonder just how much the reduced parasitic loss while disengaged is offset by the added loss while engaged. I can understand the increased efficiency on a traditional generator system, but I don't see it making that big of a difference on an alternator based system.

What puzzles me most is why my 78 and 81 VW Sciroccos could get 30+ on the streets and 40+ on the highway and in spite of more 'efficient' fuel injection systems and engine designs, modern cars don't get more than that on pure gasoline (not hybrid). Anyone?

Where are you getting these numbers? I see 2.6% better fuel efficiency, not 2.5 gallons? That's:

MPG * .026 = Additional MPG you can get ...

Justin- said,
Where are you getting these numbers? I see 2.6% better fuel efficiency, not 2.5 gallons? That's:

MPG * .026 = Additional MPG you can get ...

Ooops. I stand corrected.
Still, it adds up over time. lol

Agt. Smith said,
What puzzles me most is why my 78 and 81 VW Sciroccos could get 30+ on the streets and 40+ on the highway and in spite of more 'efficient' fuel injection systems and engine designs, modern cars don't get more than that on pure gasoline (not hybrid). Anyone?

Modern cars weigh more than old ones. Heavier cars use more fuel to accellerate. Furthermore, your old VWs probably have significantly smaller engines than those found in modern cars.

So I can go from 32MPG-38MPG to 32.8-38.9? Is this that big of a savings? What we really need is someone who can come up with a fuel that can be used in place of gas, because right now the only promising technologies are battery and hydrogen, and require a new engine all together (or heavy modification).

That said, I like getting the gas mileage I get. Over 400 miles on an 11.5 tank isn't all that bad, considering the car's 10 years old.