While the main topic at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was automotive infotainment, the focus is a little bit different at the North American International Auto Show. Major suppliers are displaying fuel economy technology to assist automakers make the steep climb into federal fuel economy standards and to reach consumers with growing interest in fuel efficient vehicles. Suppliers such as Southfield, Mich.-based Denso International America Inc., Plymouth, Mich.-based ZF North America Inc., Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls Inc., and Fort Mill, S.C.-based Schaeffler Group USA Inc. are displaying several fuel-saving technology systems at the Cobo Center in Detroit. Advanced technology innovations increasing fuel efficiency are becoming more common for new vehicles at this year’s Detroit auto show.
Schaeffler Group has been working closely with Ford Motor Co., and is displaying a Ford Escape loaded with nine technologies to save gasoline. These include a stop-start system, an all-wheel drive disconnect system, and friction-reduction technologies. Stop-start systems are getting a lot of attention from automakers these days, as they automatically shut down and restart internal combustion engines to reduce idling and fuel use.
Using these advanced fuel-saving technologies could help Ford cross the bridge and reach the federal standard for 35 miles per gallon corporate average fuel economy by 2020. The 2013 non-hybrid Escape can get about 26 mpg. “There’s definitely a steeper slope for the ramp-up of fuel economy technology right now,” Jeff Hemphill, chief technology officer for Schaeffler, the U.S. subsidiary of German-based Schaeffler AG. “The presence of new technology is pretty dramatic, even compared to five years ago, and that’s because these technologies are maturing from advanced concepts.”