Car manufacturers are looking for any help they can get as they race to meet new fuel efficiency standards in the decade ahead, and they're being helped by technology that's been around for a while- turbochargers.
According to turbo manufacturer Honeywell, a major source of vehicle and truck turbochargers, the number of passenger vehicles equipped with a turbo is expected to climb 80% globally in the next five years. The boost in the use of turbos is expected to increase fuel economy in vehicles and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to Honeywell projections.
In 2011, vehicles equipped with turbos represented almost 25% of new car sales globally, amounting to nearly 20 million vehicles. The numbers will likely rise to 36 million vehicles, or 40% of new vehicles, by 2017.
The United States, India and China are expected to lead the global growth as consumers and automakers in these markets search for ways to get more miles to the gallon, whether through gasoline or diesel engines. In Europe, where turbochargers are already on two-thirds of passenger vehicles, the technology is expected to gain even more ground as automakers meet more stringent CO2 emissions requirements, according to a Honeywell news release. Turbochargers are growing in all regions around the world because they allow automakers to use smaller, more efficient engines but still maintain performance.
In the U.S., the number of turbochargers is expected to almost triple in the next five years to more than 4 million in 2017, compared to 1.3 million in 2011. Turbos are projected to be on about one-quarter of all new U.S. vehicles in 2017.
In Asia, the number of turbocharged engines in India is expected to more than triple from about 900,000 to more than 3 million from 2011 to 2017. China also is projected to see tremendous growth, going from 2.1 million turbos in 2011 to 6.7 million new turbochargers in 2017 or about 25 percent penetration.
In Europe, turbochargers are expected to grow from 12.9 million, or 67 percent of the new automobiles, in 2011 to 17.4 million, or more than 85 percent of new vehicles, in 2017.