Cars are so, so energy inefficient

October 12th, 2006 Posted in Advocacy

The following snip is from the summary of a CSIRO report on the future of cars. An interesting read if you have an interest in sustainable transport.

To me the killer fact is only 13% of fuel energy is used to propel current vehicles. Pretty outrageous when you think about it. Sure, less cars, more public transport, more active transport, better designed communities etc are essential but cars are going to be around for a while so why not make them better.

Be interested to know the energy efficiency of a bike. Must be pretty high. Any ideas anyone?

From the CSIRO:

Fuel cells could be a long-term solution to transport-related greenhouse emissions, but in the meantime car makers could do a lot more to improve vehicle fuel use, says CSIRO’s low emissions transport leader David Lamb. “Today’s typical car wastes most of the energy it gets from the fuel,” Lamb told the NRMA summit (see Truss: consumer demand should be the basis for alternative fuels take-up). “Only about 13% of the energy is used to propel the vehicle,” he said. “The rest is wasted in friction, noise, heat, braking and mechanical losses.” Car makers “already know” many technologies that could improve fuel efficiency, but they all cost more, he said. “They would have supplied them already except that fuel was so cheap. Engine improvements will arrive quite quickly now that fuel is more expensive, but they will cost about 10% more than today’s car.” Over the next six or seven years engines will generally get smaller and accommodate 5% or 10% biofuels, Lamb said.

http://www.csiro.au/csiro/content/standard/ps12m,,.html