Mo­tor­ing jar­gon you need to know

Lesotho Times - - Motoring -

Strug­gling to un­der­stand the al­pha­bet soup of mo­tor­ing terms and ab­bre­vi­a­tions? Here’s our handy guide:

4WD – Four-wheel drive Any ve­hi­cle which can send power to all four wheels; but, to be more spe­cific, ones which can se­lect be­tween one or both axles. to get re­ally tech­ni­cal, a Subaru im­preza is ac­tu­ally not four-wheel drive but a nis­san Pa­trol is. Of­ten in­cludes bush-bash­ing fea­tures such as low-range gear­ing and cen­tre dif­fer­en­tial locks.

ABS – An­tilock Brak­ing Sys­tem One of the sin­gle most-ef­fec­tive safety fea­tures on mod­ern cars, ABS sends fast pulses of brake force to the wheels in or­der to pre­vent skids. By al­low­ing the wheels to ro­tate, even un­der mas­sive brake force, a ve­hi­cle is able to bet­ter main­tain con­trol when swerv­ing, and this also short­ens brak­ing dis­tances — par­tic­u­larly on slip­pery roads.

AWD – All-wheel drive Sim­i­lar to four-wheel drive, but power is per­ma­nently sent to both front and rear axles. Ex­am­ples of all-wheel drive in­clude any Audi with qu­at­tro driv­e­train, most Subarus and some soft-road­ing crossovers. Some­times re­garded as a milder ver­sion of four­wheel drive to of­fer less con­fi­dent driv­ers a sense of se­cu­rity in slip­pery con­di­tions. Also used in high-per­for­mance cars to give a trac­tion ad­van­tage off the line.

BEV – Bat­tery Elec­tric Ve­hi­cle One of many new acronyms for the lat­est wave of en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly cars; this one re­lies only on elec­tric­ity for propul­sion. A BEV such as a nis­san leaf or BMW i3 re­quires charg­ing through either a wall socket or a quick charg­ing sta­tion.

C02 – Car­bon diox­ide though touted as a nasty by-prod­uct of in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gines, C02 is actu- ally vi­tal to life on Earth. But as usual, too much of a good thing can be bad, and when spewed by mil­lions of cars around the world, this com­po­nent of ex­haust emis­sions con­trib­utes to global warm­ing.

C02 emis­sion fig­ures are al­most al­ways quoted along­side claimed av­er­age fuel con­sump­tions in new cars, and in most mar­kets is levied with tax to en­cour­age buy­ing of cleaner burn­ing ve­hi­cles, and dis­cour­age high-per­for­mance gas guz­zlers.

CVT – Con­tin­u­ously Vari­able Trans

mis­sion Where a nor­mal gear­box is full of (you guessed it), gears, a CVT usu­ally uses a belt-drive sys­tem to con­tin­u­ously and lin­early ad­just ra­tios. En­thu­si­as­tic driv­ers are of­ten put off by the dron­ing, con­stant revs pro­duced by Cvts, but their abil­ity to keep the en­gine revs at their most ef­fi­cient point have put them in favour with bud­get­con­scious buy­ers.

DSG – Di­rect Shift Gear­box Of­fi­cially li­censed by Volk­swa­gen, DSG is com­monly used in mo­tor­ing cir­cles in ref­er­ence to any dual-clutch au­to­matic trans­mis­sion re­gard­less of brand.

A DSG’S com­plex in­ter­nals would take para­graphs to de­scribe ac­cu­rately, but ba­si­cally the trans­mis­sion is able to pre-se­lect gears on either side of which­ever gear is cur­rently en­gaged. this makes up- and down-shifts hap­pen much quicker than a reg­u­lar au­to­matic trans­mis­sion.

EBD – Elec­tronic Brake­force Dis­tribu

tion in the old days, when you slammed the brake pedal, hy­draulic pres­sure would be sent evenly to all four wheels — re­sult­ing in dan­ger­ous lock-ups or skids. EBD, which works in tan­dem with your car’s ABS, can sense which wheels have grip and which don’t, and can send stop­ping power to each wheel in­de­pen­dently to most ef­fi­ciently scrub off speed and also keep con­trol.

ESC – Elec­tronic Sta­bil­ity Con­trol, aka Elec­tronic Sta­bil­ity Pro­gram (ESP), or

Dy­namic Sta­bil­ity Con­trol (DSC) this com­pli­cated sys­tem keeps your car straight when it starts to slide. it uses com­put­ers to de­tect a slide and se­lec­tively sends brak­ing force or cuts en­gine power to in­di­vid­ual wheels in or­der to main­tain con­trol. the sys­tem can usu­ally be par­tially or com­pletely dis­abled, but if not can be a drifter’s worst night­mare.

FCV – Fuel Cell Ve­hi­cle A fuel cell ve­hi­cle is much the same as a BEV, ex­cept in­stead of plug­ging in to recharge bat­ter­ies, it makes its own elec­tric­ity with a com­plex hy­dro­gen to oxy­gen chem­i­cal re­ac­tion.

the process, which hap­pens in an on­board fuel cell ‘stack’ re­sults in only wa­ter as an emis­sion. Fuel cell ve­hi­cles are widely be­lieved to be the clean­est form of pow­er­ing cars in the fu­ture, but hy­dro­gen re­fu­elling in­fras­truc­ture will be very ex­pen­sive to roll out around the world.

LED – Light Emit­ting Diode Th­ese tiny and ex­tremely en­ergy ef­fi­cient lit­tle light bulbs date back to the 1920s, and you may have seen them for decades in your car’s in­stru­ment clus­ters where they’ve of­ten been used to il­lu­mi­nate check en­gine lights and such­like.

But more re­cently LED tech­nol­ogy has pro­gressed to a state of au­to­mo­tive jew­ellery, where it’s used for in­tri­cate day­time run­ning light de­signs. We first re­mem­ber LEDS used in this way in 2006, when Audi’s V10-pow­ered S6 fea­tured two thin white LED strips in its front bumper.

Even more re­cently, LED tech has ad­vanced enough to com­plete re­place tra­di­tional head- and tail­lights. Mercedes-benz’ lat­est S-class uses only LEDS for ev­ery light func­tion in the en­tire car.

MPV – Multi Pur­pose Ve­hi­cle A tag which of­ten de­notes moms’ taxis such as the Kia grand Se­dona and Chrysler grand Voy­ager. Sub-cat­e­gories are medium MPVS such as the Citroën C4 Pi­casso and mini MPVS, for ex­am­ple Ford’s B-max.

NOX – Ni­tro­gen ox­ide ni­tro­gen ox­ide, or nox, is a harm­ful ex­haust pol­lu­tant which was lesser known by the pub­lic un­til it made head­lines re­cently as part of Volk­swa­gen’s “diesel-gate” scan­dal. this by-prod­uct of burn­ing fos­sil fu­els is a known con­trib­u­tor to res­pi­ra­tory dis­ease and acid rain.

Diesel pow­ered en­gines gen­er­ally emit less C02 than petrol coun­ter­parts, but pro­duce much more nox. there are strict nox emis­sions re­quire­ments in place in most coun­tries (which VW have been caught by­pass­ing), but car­mak­ers are not re­quired to quote th­ese fig­ures to the buy­ing pub­lic.

PHEV – Plug-in Hy­brid Elec­tric Ve­hi­cle Plug-in hy­brid ve­hi­cles are not only pro­vid­ing a stop-gap be­tween con­ven­tional petroleum-pow­ered cars and what­ever tech­nol­ogy might be around the cor­ner, but also make it eas­ier for buy­ers to slide into the green scene with­out tak­ing un­com­fort­able leaps of faith into new-fan­gled EVS or FCVS.

Most PHEVS look ex­actly like their nor­mal coun­ter­parts, but will have a sep­a­rate fuel flap where on-board bat­ter­ies can be recharged, and used for short (usu­ally about 20-30km) dis­tances on emis­sion-free elec­tric power alone.

un­der the bon­net, how­ever, is a nor­mal petrol or diesel en­gine which can fire up to help charge bat­ter­ies, pro­vide ex­tra power bursts, or bail driv­ers out of trou­ble if the ve­hi­cle’s bat­tery range is ex­ceeded.

SRS – Sup­ple­men­tary Re­straint Sys­tem the key word here is sup­ple­men­tary. As in sec­ondary. As in it needs some­thing else to work prop­erly. As in if you don’t wear your seat­belt, you can ex­pect a se­ri­ous fa­cial pound­ing from your car’s airbag if you crash.

Yes, airbags are de­signed to work in tan­dem with seat­belts, hence that lit­tle SRS ab­bre­vi­a­tion you might’ve seen on your steer­ing wheel. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. — iol

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