Re-engineering Personal Transportation

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by Alex A. Kecskes

Vehicles are getting greener, lighter and more individualized as automotive engineers adapt to the new rules of personal transportation.

In the race to go green and be sustainable in the face of $4/gallon gas, engineers have developed a piston engine that burns kerosene, furnace oil or virtually any fuel. Ford together with Texaco has been testing this new multi-fuel engine for over a decade. It's now ready to be produced. Engineers say they expect to get over 40 mpg out of the new engine using furnace fuel or kerosene.

The new engine uses a concentrated cyclonic mist of fuel applied directly to the spark plug to achieve more complete combustion than can currently being achieved with today's engine designs. Fuels can be interchanged at will, which gives consumers the flexibility to shop around for the best deal. Another advantage of the new design is that it produces very low levels of exhaust.

Adding to a car's fuel efficiency, engineers are now looking at reducing overall weight—without sacrificing strength or safety. Advances in materials and structural design will place strength where it needs to be and eliminate strength where it's not needed. New materials like composites and, yes, even transparent steel (remember Star Trek's transparent aluminum?), will usher in a whole new design paradigm for vehicles of all types.

Finally, engineers are a looking at how consumers will be using vehicles and designing them based on application, rather than one size fits all. For example, college students will be offered "Smart Car" compacts that are fuel stingy and tiny for parking in tight spaces. Families will be offered SUVs with all sorts of versatile packing accessories to accommodate soccer moms. And single execs will be able to choose luxury sedans filled with GPS, cell phones, web access and other advanced mobility features.

For another perspective, check out this video:

Alex A. Kecskes has written hundreds of published articles on health/fitness, "green" issues, TV/film entertainment, restaurant reviews and many other topics. As a former Andy/Belding/One Show ad agency copywriter, he also writes web content, ads, brochures, sales letters, mailers and scripts for national B2B and B2C clients. Please see more of his blogs and view additional job postings on Nexxt.

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