Splitting I.C.E. a great book for any environmentally aware auto enthusiast
Splitting I.C.E. is an excellent read for any auto enthusiast who cares about our environment and wants to be well versed on the coming evolution of automotive propulsion. In the book Sherosky, who is a former design engineer at Saturn, automotive writer, and current trader in automotive stocks, opens the reader’s eyes to some truths about the internal combustion engine (I.C.E.) few will have known before reading. The main story line of the book is the next evolution of the engine as we know it. Sherosky explains why it is inefficient, what can be done about that, and goes into great detail about who is doing something about it.
As this article is written the Toyota Prius holds the world record for a passenger car in terms of engine thermodynamic efficiency. It is about 38.5% efficient. That means the other 61.5% of the energy that could have been used to push you forward is lost to the radiator and mechanical losses. In a recent press conference Toyota announced that it hopes to break the 40% barrier in the next generation Prius. In Splitting I.C.E., Sherosky explains how even that high number can be bumped up significantly by about 20% through modifications to the I.C.E. design. This is not pie in the sky stuff, there are companies that make these engines.
During the book, Sherosky also uses his unique insight as a former GM technical staff member to give the reader a glimpse of how we got into this situation (some would say sad situation), and how it might change. He also spends a lot of quality time walking the reader though the other things that need to change for vehicles to become more efficient, particularly with regard to weight. In each chapter the movement to electric vehicles (EVs) is a constant theme. Although this is not a book that focuses directly on EVs, any person who is passionate about electric cars would be wise to give this book a close read. It exposed the challenges the EV makers face, and a reader will come away much better able to make their arguments over cocktails (or over the blogosphere).
Sherosky has rare qualifications to make his points. He worked his way up through the automotive industry to the level of designer, has been an auto writer, and makes a living trading automotive related stocks and futures. One would be shocked how few writers like that there actually are. Designer Robert Cumberford of Automobile Magazine and former writer Patrick Bedard (Car and Driver and others) are the only two others I can think of off-hand. Most writers are journalism majors. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…
I came away from the book with a much better understanding of how 4-cycle engines work and why splitting the hot and cold sides of the engine would hugely improve efficiency. Although I am an engineer by education, I feel that one need not be to enjoy this book. The writing style is very informal in all good ways.