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