Sunday, April 13, 2014

Gears and 55mph Speed Limit - What car manufacturers are or can be doing?

If you are a car enthusiast and you want to keep the RPMs at the optimal spot for power and torque to change lanes, then this is how car manufacturers should label the gear shifters for those states where the freeway speed limit is 55mph. Please refer to the picture on the left side. I am lucky that I live in southern California where freeway speed limit is 65mph and a lot of local streets have the speed limit of 45-55mph.

Obviously depending on the gear ratios this will vary, but based on my experience, I could in theory drive in 3rd gear without pushing the engine and stay within the 55mph speed limit. That's why I have always been purchasing smaller cars that give me the fun I need within the boundaries of the law.


Joking aside, this is one of two main reason why car manufacturer are designing cars with a lot of gears (i.e. six, seven and eight gears) and especially on automatics. First, the more gears you have the more playroom you have to improve the overall gas mileage for the given car. Second, shorter gears give you more power in the city acceleration and the taller gears help you save gas in freeway cruising.

Most of my previous cars were cars with 5-speed manual transmission. I was able to get to 60mph in 2nd gear. A lot of manufacturers still design the gear ratios this way because 0-60mph times are important and you don't want to run out of 2nd gear just before hitting 60mph and that forces you to change gears and that means extending your 0-60mph time. This is called doing your design to sell and 0-60 times sell cars. 

The focus should be on designing and building cars that are fun to drive within 55mph speed limit.

#cars   #gears   #gearshifter   #carnerd   #shifting   #gearratio  #carcrazy   #carenthusiast  
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