The auto industry worldwide is scrambling for ways to make cars consume less gas, but mostly it pursues the same few concepts — like making cars lighter and smaller, using alternative fuels or creating hybrid designs that use electricity.  Mike Brickley has another idea: why not rethink the internal-combustion engine itself?

Five years ago, Brickley, a self-taught ”engine inventor” in Austin, Texas, decided to give it a try.  He realized that one of the biggest drags on engine efficiency is friction: whenever two parts interact with each other, they generate heat and drain energy out of the system.  So he began designing a new type of engine that reduced friction by doing away with several traditional parts.

Brickley: is it a better car engine?

Our car accident attorneys know that design defects are a big contributor to why some people get in serious personal injuries and even lose their lives out on the road.  Coul this new engine lead to future pain and suffering in a traffic accident?

In the “Brickley Engine” — as he calls it — there are no piston skirts and several fewer crankshaft and crankpin bearings.  What is  more, the cylinders are connected through a pinned joint that rotates a comparatively small amount.  The resulting device has a curious, flattened appearance: two sets of pistons face away from each other and punch in opposite directions, joining in the center to drive the engine’s shaft.

This configuration reportedly produces 35 percent less friction than a regular engine.  Brickley projects that this would give the engine up to 20 percent better mileage than a regular car.  If you were to burn diesel fuel in the Brickley Engine, it would use almost 50 percent less fuel than a normal gas-powered engine, with greatly reduced emissions.  ”It’ll work in anything that burns fuel — trains, tractors, automobiles, you name it,” he says.

Perhaps a nation of Brickley-equipped vehicles could satisfy the Kyoto Protocol’s (air pollution guidelines) demands for greenhouse-gas reduction several years in advance.

Brickley received a patent for the engine last year and this year began working on a prototype to place in a compact car — to prove that his design performs as well as his calculations predict.

But one big question remains: will Detroit embrace such a new car engine — especially when the Big Three are collapsing?  ”It’s not great timing,” Brickley admits.  In the quest for fuel efficiency, the real engineering challenges may not be physics but politics.

Our car accident attorneys and citizens watching the unthinkable economic collapse, it would seem that the “Big Three Automakers” should be looking for any and everything that is proven to make things more energy efficient. 

As many of you may know, Detroit’s old business model was to make anything that made a profit.  As long as gas was cheap, no one really paid attention.  Detroit liked to make sure that cars had to come in for maintenance, which of course generated lots of money for the dealers and the manufacturers for parts, many of them overpriced.

Many believe it is time for change, which includes looking at every and anything that makes sense.  We do have to act swiftly, but rather act prudently and with caution.  Perhaps commingling several technologies together would make a lot of sense.  For example, what could we do right now?

Until we find the answer as a technical society, best to cover you and your family the best auto insurance policy that you are able to purchase.

If you were injured and believe that you deserve compensation, then call our bilingual law offices right away at 1-858-551-2090 or click here for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney and find out how we can help you.  We look forward to providing good advice for your case.  There is no fee if no recovery.