AUTOMAKERS the World over
are producing their smallest, most fuel-efficient engines ever!
AND whilst the American market lags behind the world in uptake of turbocharger technology, the tide is turning ... with that stalwart of cubic capacity - the All-American Muscle Car - offering turbocharged small-capacity engines as part of their lineups - whilst keeping the horse-power happy clientele just that, HAPPY!
And why is this important? Afterall, the world's leading car makers have had turbos in their lineups for a while ...
Because it shows a change of perspective. Not only are American (and global) car makers embracing the turbocharger, but so are car buyers ... since they are the ones who ultimately dictate what is successful in the market and what is not.
With the all-new Mustang confirmed, and the Camaro a possibility, for the Australian market - in the absence of Ford and Holden's locally produced V8s - they now have more ammunition in the power versus economy debate.
Since turbocharged vehicles in Australia make up a healthy (and rapidly growing) 35% of all passenger cars registered, having smaller high-powered engines available to them makes these muscle cars far more attractive in the local market. Sure, there is nothing like the noise and urge of a Hi-Po V8, but considering that the 2.0L turbocharged engines are almost a power/torque match for the larger 3.6L naturally aspirated ones, it just goes to show what can be achieved.
With growing numbers of turbocharged passenger cars across the globe (75% in Europe and somewhere around 20% in the USA) turbocharged vehicles are allowing manufacturers to stay ahead of the strict emissions targets - the likes of EURO6, Tier3 and LEVIII.
- Nitin Kulkarni, Honeywell Transportation Systems VP (North America, Japan and Korea)
With significant investment in research and development, these three top tiers OEMs have literally hundreds of turbochargers under development at any one time, as well as generational improvements and new technologies. This investment has been made because of the rapidly increasing uptake of turbo technology by auto manufacturers. Expected to hit around 38% of new vehicle registrations by 2021 in the US, and over 90% in Europe and 50% inAustralia respectively, the global percentage should easily crest 50% of vehicles - urged especially by the Chinese market's drive to improve fuel economy targets from 6.9L/100 km in 2015 to 5L/100 km in 2020.
So much so, all three of these turbo manufacturers have invested heavily into production plants in China.
And it's not just in China where investments are pushing the turbo envelope, as Ford's EcoBoost engines - relatively small-displacement engines that use turbocharging, direct-injection and variable valve-timing to provide both the power and economy that customers want - have hit production levels of 1.6 million units globally in 2014 ... a 30% increase over 2013. Expectations are for 2.3 million EcoBoost engines in 2015.
Whilst the Americans are playing catch-up, the turbocharger revolution has been driven by the Germans - with industry leaders Audi, Volkswagen and Mercedes Benz converting almost all of their models to turbo power. In Australia, Audi offers 11 (out of 13 engines) across 20 different engine specifications with turbocharger technology. VW offers just ONE non-turbocharged vehicle across their range of 9 engines (22 specs), whilst Mercedes offers 11 out of 12 engines (23 specs) with forced induction.
What we do know is that we are now experiencing the Golden Age of Turbocharging
... and it's only getting better from here!