SEMA News -- April 2009
By Megan McKernan
A Chance for SEMA Members to Compete
At the start of the challenge, each vehicle was tested three times in order to establish baseline miles per gallon as well as baseline emissions, including non-methane hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen and carbon dioxide.
The three vehicles used in the Challenge were a 2008 Ford F-150 powered by a 5.4L V8 with an automatic transmission and LEV2 emissions certification; a 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe powered by a Flex Fuel 5.3L V8 mated to an automatic transmission and ULEV2 emissions certification; and a 2008 Dodge Charger powered by a 3.5L V6 with an automatic transmission and ULEV2 emissions certification. All of the vehicles were provided by Enterprise Rent-A-Car.
Submissions for more than 20 products were accepted. Many of the products were not originally manufactured for fuel-efficiency purposes. Rather, the manufacturers wanted to determine whether or not their products might have an additional benefit of improved fuel economy. The US06 test was chosen as the test procedure used for this competition. This test is used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for new-car and light-truck emissions certification for all 2003 and later models. It is also used by the EPA as the main part of the matrix of tests that determines the city and highway fuel-economy ratings of 2008 and newer vehicles.
At the start of the challenge, each vehicle was tested three times in order to establish baseline miles per gallon as well as baseline emissions, including non-methane hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen and carbon dioxide. After the installation of the upgrade components, one US06 test consisting of two cycles was performed on the vehicle to measure any changes in emissions or fuel economy. Any product that showed an improvement in fuel economy was declared a winner for the Fuel-Economy Challenge. The manufacturers supplied the parts and detailed installation instructions and, in some cases, participated in the installation of their products. For exhaust systems, an exterior noise test based on SAE Recommended Practice J1169 was performed to ensure that the noise levels met the 95db threshold for on-road use in California.
The winners of the 2008 SEMA/Automobile Club of Southern California Fuel Economy Challenge were Edge Products, Gibson Performance Exhaust, SLP Performance and STS Turbo. The winning products were featured in the Making Green Cool Zone at the 2008 SEMA Show. The complete list of products and companies is not available, as participation in the Fuel Economy Challenge was anonymous. Only the winners were announced.
Acceleration tests for each vehicle were conducted at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Only the winning products were subjected to these acceleration tests, which merely served as an added benefit for the participants. The SLP Performance package resulted in a 7% improvement of the 0–60-mph elapsed time (e.t.) of the Tahoe. The STS Turbo system improved the 0–60 mph e.t. of the F-150 by 24%.
The Fuel-Economy Challenge was a great success. All of the participants, as well as member companies that were not eligible for the competition due to the type of products they manufacture, were pleased that SEMA and the Auto Club had taken the initiative to help SEMA-member companies and the industry in this way. Here is what our winners had to say about the competition:
“The Fuel-Economy Challenge was a great way to scientifically demonstrate to our dealers how Edge products can improve fuel economy,” said Jared Venz of Edge Products. “The test results allow our dealers to promote the fuel-economy benefits of our products with confidence. SEMA provided an excellent platform on which to compare competitive products with an apples-to-apples test. This was a great opportunity for Edge Products to showcase the benefits of its products, and we look forward to future opportunities to work with SEMA.”
"STS Turbo Inc. was excited when we found out about the SEMA Fuel-Economy Challenge,” said Rick Squires of STS Turbo. We had been discussing doing that type of third-party testing on our own to validate the results that we have been consistently getting with our product. SEMA has done a great job of taking a ‘global’ problem and letting the experts in the industry lead the way and present real solutions that have been tested and been proven to really work.”
Performance Pac, Harmonic Balancer, Underdrive Pulley, Rocker Arms and Valve Springs
Vehicle: 2008 Chevy Tahoe
Fuel-Economy Improvement: 4.1%
“I think the concept was a great one and shows everyone in our industry, as well as the media and performance enthusiasts, that aftermarket companies have the ability to develop performance products and packages of bundled performance products that can improve fuel economy and performance while not negatively impacting emissions,” said Ed Hamburger of SLP Performance.
Gibson Performance Exhaust
“Gibson Performance is proud to be a winner in the SEMA/Auto Club Fuel-Economy Challenge,” said Coral Gibson of Gibson Performance. “This has been a great marketing tool for our business and has helped attract customers who want fuel-economy gains as well as increased power. SEMA should do these competitions every year to give companies a chance to prove that their parts work as described.”
Although auto manufacturers work very hard to get the best possible fuel economy out of the vehicles they produce, SEMA-member companies have the ability to improve on current technologies as well as to develop new technologies. The combined knowledge, experience and expertise of SEMA manufacturing members just might lead to the development of the fuel-efficient innovation of the future.
For more information about the 2008 SEMA/Automobile Club of Southern California Fuel-Economy Challenge, contact Megan McKernan at 909/396-0289 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Steve Mazor, Auto Club at 909/612-2564 or Mazor.Steve@aaa-calif.com.