Although there has been much controversy over literally every aspect of smart cars, from design to cost to functionality, there are staunch supporters of the technology who firmly believe they are the way forward for the automotive industry. It is true that there will be glitches with any new technology in its infancy stages, but is smart automotive technology really new? Here’s what we know, to date, about the smart cars on the market today but unfortunately, what we know still leaves questions to be answered.
Are Hybrid Smart Cars Really Fuel Efficient?
When mechanical engineers work on hybrid fuel systems for smart cars, they can only work with technology that’s been developed to date. Some innovative engineers from leading universities like UC Riverside are developing better compatibility between electric and fuel systems within the vehicles. Sometimes there is a question as to which is better on the environment, but that is really not the fault of smart car technology. The real problem rests with our current dependence on fossil fuels to manufacture electricity that charges the battery powered component of smart cars. They would truly be more fuel efficient and much easier on the ecology if more energy was sustainable. Other than solar powered smart technology, there isn’t much you can do about that situation.
Some Reviews on Choppy Shifting
Perhaps one of the goals of those mechanical engineers from the University of California-Riverside could pursue is in the way in which today’s automated manual transmissions work. Reviewers are reporting that although the gears shift automatically based on manual transmission technology, the shifting is most often choppy, in their words, “jerky.” They have found that the easiest way for smooth transitions between gears is to ease off the accelerator when you feel the car about to shift gears.
You can also put your car in what is called a “smart manual mode” so that you can use a lever, usually located on the steering wheel, to change gears manually, the old-fashioned way. How that is considered “smart” technology is anyone’s guess, but perhaps it is smarter going back 100 years to a time when manual transmissions were all we knew.
Smaller Sizes and Lighter Weights Are Worrisome
Also noted by the reviewer cited above, the small size and lighter weight of smart cars leaves cause for concern when out on open roads. What he noted was that the high winds in the city were muted by the tall buildings which wouldn’t be there on rural roads. The implication being that the design made them similar to high profile vehicles like SUVs and tractor trailers. Could it be that engineers need to focus more on the functionality of a design instead of making smart cars look like something from the Jetsons?
The concept of autonomous cars is good but there is still a great amount of worry over hackers taking over the computerized technology and designs that are yet to be perfected. There may come a day when smart cars offer what they set out to accomplish, but it appears that day isn’t here. So perhaps smart cars are the way forward in the automotive industry, but they are not yet suitable for the average driver.