Tag Archives: SAE World Congress

Earth Day: Hybrid Wheels Improve Fuel Efficiency

When automakers talk about improving fuel efficiency, they are usually planning to cut vehicle weight or designing a new engine. Lacks Enterprises presented a new way of improving fuel efficiency last week at the SAE World Congress by, quite simply, re-inventing the wheel.

The Evolve Hybrid Wheels are strong yet lightweight wheels designed for aerodynamic efficiency. James Ardern, the director of business development at Lacks Wheel Trim Systems, explains, “We have learned that wheels are contributing significantly to the fuel economy of a vehicle. The things right next to the wheels, the tires get tested. Consumer Reports, for example, has shown that better, more efficient tires can raise a vehicle’s mpg rating by one or two ticks, and Lacks has test results that show that the wheels – at least the Evolve wheels – can do the same.”

Lacks Enterprises has already tested their Evolve Hybrid Wheels on a number of vehicles including the Ford Focus SE. Their test on the Focus found that the wheels improved the city mpg by 0.4 mile per gallon and the highway mpg by 1.1 mile per gallon.

There will be more testing this summer and into the fall, and as of now, they have not announced when the Evolve Hybrid Wheels will hit the market. Still, this is an encouraging development just before Earth Day on Monday, and hopefully more automakers and designers will think outside the box in making new vehicles more fuel efficient and eco-friendly.

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