Research Papers

Perceptual Attributes in Product Design: Fuel Economy and Silhouette-Based Perceived Environmental Friendliness Tradeoffs in Automotive Vehicle Design

[+] Author and Article Information
Tahira N. Reid1

Mechanical Engineering,  Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907tahira@purdue.edu

Bart D. Frischknecht

Centre for the Study of Choice,  University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, Australiabart.frischknecht@uts.edu.au

Panos Y. Papalambros

Mechanical Engineering,  University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109pyp@umich.edu


Corresponding author.

J. Mech. Des 134(4), 041006 (Mar 19, 2012) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4006146 History: Received July 19, 2011; Revised February 13, 2012; Published March 15, 2012; Online March 19, 2012

The quest for improved fuel efficiency and environmental friendliness is transforming automotive vehicle design. In addition to new energy sources and management, new powertrain technologies offer increased flexibility in the spatial arrangement (packaging) and exterior shape (styling) of a vehicle. Design choices in packaging and styling are closely linked to consumer preferences, particularly those that influence consumers’ decisions about the objective qualities of a product (i.e., perceptual attributes). The ability to include perceptual attributes into a design optimization study is a valuable extension of the more traditional engineering approach that looks at only functional attributes. Previous work has studied the quantification of perceived environmental friendliness (PEF) in vehicle silhouette design. In this paper, empirically validated PEF silhouette attributes are included as constraints in a vehicle optimization model that maximizes fuel economy. Results indicate that there is a tradeoff between PEF preferences and the attainable fuel economy for a given vehicle, where increasing vehicle length leads to increasing PEF and decreasing fuel economy.

Copyright © 2012 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

(a) Flow diagram showing the role of perceptual attributes on product demand and (b) flow diagram showing the scope of the this article

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Figure 2

SAE dimensions used to describe the silhouette geometry

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Figure 3

Stylized vehicle sketch showing the relationship between the cargo volume calculation and the geometry control points included in the PEF calculation

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Figure 4

Silhouettes used in the study [1] with (a) PEF = 5.12 and (b) PEF = 2.60, the highest and lowest mean PEF ratings, respectively

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Figure 5

Pictorial representation of tradeoffs between PEF and MPG through P6x and P4y. Refer to Fig. 7 for examples.

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Figure 6

Results of a parametric study done on the PEF constraint

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Figure 7

Silhouettes for vehicles maximizing fuel economy with increasing levels of the PEF constraint: (a) PEF ≥ 4.315, (b) PEF ≥ 4.0, and (c) PEF ≥ 3.41



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