Friday, October 28, 2011

Give Me The Gears

I own a 2001 Corvette and what do you think I love most about this car? Handling, acceleration, looks? Nope. Although I like all those attributes I LOVE it's gas mileage. 23 city 36 highway Canadian. And it does this because of one fact. It has one of the lowest gear ratios ever put in car. This one characteristic, this one car, has made me so angry at the auto company decision makers I could spit nails.

Arguably, the major problems facing the auto industry are poor sales, fuel consumption and pollution.The solution is lower gear ratios. The more revolutions of an engine the more fuel it burns. Therefore the opposite is true, the less an engine revolves in order to turn the driving wheels the further you go on a gallon of gas, its that simple. What determines how many turns of the wheel you get from a given number of engine revolutions is and always has been the gears in a transmission and the gears in the differential. The Corvette's engine has to revolve 1.71 times in order turn the rear wheels once.

My point is this, to all the bonehead decision makers at all the major car companies, start putting very low final drive gearing in the top two gears and let me decide if I'd like to cruise along at ridiculously low revolutions to save gas and make the first 3 or 4 gears high for playing boy racer. This is exactly what my old Corvette does so well. You don't need expensive variable valve timing, hybrid systems, cylinder cancellation or carbon fiber. Gear technology is simple, cheap and proven effective. Chevrolet proved it over a decade ago and so have others. Do you want an across the board improvement of 15% or more in fuel mileage for your cars and trucks?  Don't you want a home run across all model lines? You'll sell more cars, lower fuel consumption like never before in history and the environment well benefit from less fuel burned. Take my advice, if you give consumers performance and high fuel mileage you will be the next Steve Jobs of the auto industry.