A researcher from the Technical University Eindhoven has developed a software patch for car computers that can achieve fuel savings of 2.6 per cent without having to replace any parts.
A car wastes energy almost continuously. Whatever gear it is being driven in, there is only one position of the accelerator that guarantees optimal performance. Accelerating a little less or a little bit more can cause considerable loss of energy.
John Kessels has designed a way to save energy by enabling the car to achieve optimal engine performance more frequently. With a relatively small modification it is possible to reduce fuel consumption by 2.6 per cent.
Hybrid vehicles can reduce fuel consumption by 25 per cent or more, using a generator as a secondary power source. Kessels examined the possible savings without using the advanced hybrid technology. He found that excess power could be used to charge the car battery. In addition, the generator, which charges the car battery, can be turned off when it is inefficient for the engine to power it, which leads to reduced fuel consumption.
The car can also brake electrically, generating energy, which can be stored in the battery. Finally, he found that it is possible to partly shut off the electric energy systems, such as rear window and seat heating, for further improvement of the power supply system.
With his new method Kessels can achieve a total fuel savings of 2.6 per cent, without having to replace any car parts. Simply uploading a software patch to the car’s computer and adding one single small cable suffices. If it were possible to shut the engine off when it is idle, a savings of 5 to 6 per cent could be achieved. This, however, would require significant adjustments to the car, including installing a more powerful starter motor and an automatic gearbox.