2011 Chevy Cruze Eco Harnesses Air for Peak Efficiency

Inching closer to producing an universally likable subcompact car, Chevrolet is looking favourably on the 2011 Cruze as being the vehicle which will be seated alongside the leaders in the class. Hoping to lead through quality and sales, the Chevrolet Chevrolet is also positioned for class-leading fuel economy with the Eco version.

Picking up in the foot steps of the Cobalt XFE, the Cruze Eco promises of even better fuel economy gains up to 40 miles per gallon highway through the integration of several fuel-savings features. Sporting 1.4 liter turbocharged Ecotec engine, lowered height and weight, low-rolling resistance tires, the Chevrolet Cruze Eco will also feature an innovative automatic air shutter system designed to optimized engine bay airflow equating to a fuel economy gain.

Always strategic in their placement and layout of air intakes, the typical attitude for many motorist is to look at a car’s front grille in merely a stylistic point of view. In reality, the size and shape of the opening is also a carefully considered element for vehicle engineers as well as aerodynamists. Engineers will wanting to induce sufficient breathing into the engine compartment only to have an aerodynamic expert arguing that a sizable air intake would negatively affect the vehicle’s drag profile.

While this is a typically a fixed arrangement on road-going production cars, competitors in the motorsport world have long realized that certain conditions have required variances in front-end air openings. Assembled as a low-cost but effective way to alter the air intake, NASCAR fans would be familiar with the technique of placing tape over the grille work. For stock cars, applying tape offers a chance to gain much-desired downforce by diverting air. Changeable through pit stops in the course of an event, too much tape can cause the 800 horsepower V-8 engine to overheat potentially damaging the NASCAR racing powerplant.

Combining sensors and electric motors, automatic air shutter system within the Chevrolet Cruze Eco allows the intake volume to be controlled in real-time. Operating inconspicuously behind the Cruze’s lower front fascia, the shutters are set to open at low-speeds for maximum engine cooling but closes at faster speeds when a consistently higher quantity of air into the engine bay. Besides creating a catered aerodynamic flow, the engine benefits with an additional temperature control measure. The automatic air shutter system is credited for a half a mile per gallon for the Cruze’s combined driving distance.

While the Cruze Eco is designed to be a low-cost alternative to hybrid vehicles, Chevrolet has been flashing around a working prototype Cruze combined with the Chevy Volt’s plug-in hybrid technology. As General Motors will be devoting itself to the Volt’s efforts, don’t expect a production version of an extended range Cruze any time soon.

Information and Photo Source: General Motors

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