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Vehicle powerplant efficiency meter

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Many vehicles have a computerized system that displays the ratio between fuel consumption and distance traveled.

This is somewhat useful - as far as it goes - but doesn't take into account a number of factors that influence the resultant value; the terrain over which the vehicle is driven, the driving style, and the amount of other traffic - more applicable to an urban setting.

What the user really wants to know is how much "value" they are getting from their fuel - is the engine operating efficiently ?

Since modern vehicles are extensively instrumented, it seems reasonable to use the data to provide a better metric. Distance traveled becomes irrelevant; what matters is how much energy (in MJ) was extracted from a given amount of fuel.

The torque delivered to the wheels can be measured, as can engine revs, and vehicle speed. These data, suitably integrated, reveal how much energy has been used by the vehicle.

The amount of fuel consumed to deliver that energy can also be measured (within normal error bounds).

Thus, the system knows what the fuel usage was to deliver a known amount of energy as usable propulsion. Even an engine simply left idling will give a figure for "fuel consumed to maintain nil usable energy output".

8th of 7, Oct 25 2020


       If the output of idling was completely unusable no one would idle. Idling provides safety and efficiency improvements when stopping in traffic or at stop signs. It provides energy for heat, air conditioning, headlights, and other uses of power. It promotes rapid egress when performing aggressive unscheduled bank withdrawals. I'm sure it has other uses as well. Of course none of that involves moving the car, but cars are expected to do all kinds of things these days.
Voice, Oct 25 2020


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