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Training the Driver

Discussion in 'Roadster' started by tonybelding, Sep 13, 2006.

  1. tonybelding

    tonybelding Active Member

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    One of the interesting things that has come out of the Prius experience is how it affects the way people drive. The Prius has a computerized display that estimates your mileage and shows when you are using energy (red) and when you are coasting or regenerating (green). From what I gather, it's sort of like a video game. With this feedback drivers soon learn to go slower and avoid hard acceleration or braking. Some have compared this to brainwashing. I wouldn't go that far, since brainwashing implies something being done against your will. Your Prius owner presumably bought the car for efficiency, so they've already paid their tuition for this lesson. Yet, it does underscore some of the limitations of a conventional, non-plug-in hybrid.

    There's nothing magical about the hybrid power plant, it's simply efficient because the gasoline engine isn't running all the time. An early hybrid researcher once calculated they could achive similar efficiency by simply using two gasoline engines, and turning one of them on and off as needed. Some modern V8 engines use a similar scheme of running on only four cylinders part of the time, although that doesn't gain a lot since it leaves them with the full mechanical friction and pumping losses of all eight cylinders. (It might be more promising to have a small engine with a supercharger that can be switched on or off.)

    So, here's the Prius delivering good fuel economy, but getting the most out of it requires training your driving habits with the help of the computer -- and the lessons learned could apply to most vehicles, hybrid or otherwise. You also have to ask yourself, do we really all want to drive like grandma? Is that what we've all signed up for?

    As for the Tesla Roadster, we've been told it's good for about 200 miles of typical sports car driving, or 250 miles of driving like grandma in her Prius.

    How will you drive yours? ???
     
  2. Michael

    Michael Member

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    I expect that I will do very little to change driving habits, although I would hope to utilize the radar assisted cruise control more often and let the car figure out how to best utilize it's energy.
     
  3. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    Radar assisted cruise control? Where does it say that the Tesla has that feature?

    Speaking from experience, it's a great feature and is what cruice control should have always been.

    Downside. My radar sometimes gets false readings from trucks in ajoining lanes. I'm crusing along at 55 and pass a slower moving large 18 wheeler in the next lane and the cruise contol will think I'm headed for a wreck and beep madly while braking.

    The other downside is any other car I drive with cruise control is not as good and I have to rembember to not crash into other cars in front of me.
     
  4. WarpedOne

    WarpedOne Mainecoon Butler

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    I recently bought a new car with onboard computer. My favorite mode for it is to show current consumption in liters per 100 km.
    I managed to get 4,5l/100 average consumption over full tank. I have 1,9dci renault diesel engine in Renault Laguna II. 120 horsepowers. I subconsciously try to minimize consumption and I am no grandma. Constantly over limits :)

    4,5l/100km is equivalent to 52mpg (US gallons)
     
  5. Michael

    Michael Member

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    You are correct, there is no mention that I could find that the Tesla will have radar assisted cruise control. It was just a way to post a hopeful suggestion that would seem to be not too difficult to include.

    Ever since I first heard about how radar assxisted cruise control could help reduce the possibility of an accident, as well as it's ability to maintain separation distance (eliminating the constant need for adjusting the cruise control), I've been a convert and hoping that more auto manufacturers adopt it not just for its wow factor, but as a safety measure.
     
  6. tonybelding

    tonybelding Active Member

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    We should be grateful for ordinary cruise control (yes, I read somewhere that the Roadster will have it), as I don't think it's ever been seen in a Lotus. It sort of goes against their hard-core minimalist approach to motoring.

    http://www.pistonheads.tv/clip970

    As for radar-assisted cruise control, I don't think I've even heard of such a thing before. Time to do some research. . .
     
  7. doug

    doug Administrator / Head Moderator

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    Cruise control is a good idea in this car, given that when you lift your foot off the peddle (as far as I can tell) it won't coast like your standard vehicle in 5th gear.  It will start regen braking.  They say they adjusted it to feel like normal engine braking, and since it's throttle by wire, I'm sure they can change the feel of it by software.  But engine braking in what gear?  If I'm cruising down the highway at 80mph and somehow my foot slips of the throttle, I wouldn't want it to feel like I was in 2nd gear in my miata.
     

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