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Lovins 2 (2:13)
Topic(s): Efficiency
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Video Transcript

Of all the fuel energy you put into your car, 87 percent, 7/8s of it never gets to the wheels—it's lost first in the engine, then driveline idling and accessories. Of the 1/8 of the fuel energy that does reach the wheels, half of that either heats the air that the car pushes aside or it heats the tires and road. Only the last six percent of the fuel energy actually accelerates the car and then heats the brakes when you stop. And then remember that only about five percent of the mass you're accelerating is you—the other 95 percent is the car. Therefore only about six percent of five percent, or 0.3 percent, of the fuel energy ends up moving the driver.

After 120 years of devoted engineering effort this is not very gratifying, but we can do a validated order of magnitude better than that. By redesigning the car to have good physics, be light, have low aero dynamic drag, low rolling resistance —and it turns out that's actually not difficult, it just takes attention. So you know the industry, just to take aerodynamics as an example, has done experimental cars with drag coefficients point 14-odd passively, point 12-odd actively—they've had briefly production cars at point 19—slippery cars on the road today like the Prius or the Honda Insight are point 26. So why should the new electric car the Volt from GM be point 32? What's so difficult about getting much better than that, well maybe they were just in a hurry and maybe it'll improve. But why is the average car in the point threes? It should be much lower than that. You know, we knew how to do that stuff back in the 1930s. In fact, why is the average car today only about efficient as a Model A?



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