This story was linked from Autoblog the other day (and I see today is on Engadget)... it's about GMC trying to add another MPG to their new Terrain and what they had to do to get it.
The gist of the story is that they added a torque converter that is engaged at lower speeds when you press the "Eco" button. But apparently this created a lot of cabin noise when that was activated. So rather than remove it and find another way to gain 1 MPG, they added even more equipment in the form of a microphone and software that would detect the sound of the converter and cancel out its noise via the speakers - similar to fancy noise-canceling headphones.
This is great as far as eliminating the noise... but if this was really to only gain 1 MPG (which is how it reads), why did so much need to be added? Wouldn't it be more beneficial to find ways to reduce weight and improve MPG that way? Surely that would not only reduce weight and potentially increase MPGs, but also reduce some manufacturing costs? Or at least have the ability to... it depends on how the weight was saved of course.
Point is, why are companies like this not focusing on the (from my perspective) easier things to do to increase efficiency? Like weight reduction? It just feels like they're going in the totally opposite direction here and losing even more efficiency by adding things to increase efficiency - and then having to add more things to suppress the noise generated but the other thing that increased the efficiency.
Is this how the "new" GM is going to operate? Does this just seem completely illogical? Or is that just me?
Don't get me wrong, the technology is great, and maybe there isn't any weight to save on the new Terrain, I don't know. But reading the story just makes me think there are better ways to increase efficiency.
Then again, I'm not any sort of automotive engineer or designer or anything... so what do I know? Just asking questions... that's all.