Believe It Or Not, Engines Are About To Get Bigger
1st Gear: The Re-Embiggening Of The Engines
Over the past decade, the trend with engines has been downsizing, pretty much across the board. Turbocharged 2.0-liter fours are ubiquitous on nearly every model; small car motors have shrunk to 1.5 liters and three or even two cylinders in many cases, especially in non-U.S. markets.
But an exclusive from Reuters details how these downsized engines have presented Dieselgate-like problems with real-world CO2 and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, and now the response is to make engines bigger again—and more hybridized.
Carmakers’ smallest European engines, when driven at higher loads than current tests allow, far exceed legal emissions levels. Heat from the souped-up turbos generates diesel NOx up to 15 times over the limit; gasoline equivalents lose fuel-efficiency and spew fine particles and carbon monoxide.
“They might be doing OK in the current European test cycle, but in the real world they are not performing,” said Pavan Potluri, an analyst with influential forecaster IHS Automotive.
“So there’s actually a bit of ‘upsizing’ going on, particularly in diesel.”
GM will not replace its current 1.2-litre diesel when the engines are updated on a new architecture arriving in 2019, people with knowledge of the matter said. The smallest engine in the range will be 25-30 percent bigger.
VW is replacing its 1.4 liter three-cylinder diesel with a four-cylinder 1.6 for cars like the Polo, they said, while Renault is planning a near-10 percent enlargement to its 1.6 liter R9M diesel, which had replaced a 1.9-litre model in 2011.
The story notes that this phenomenon is primarily for European market engines, and that in North America and China, more downsizing can still reduce emissions. But analysts predict that in the future, “downsizing will mean you take a smaller engine and add an electric motor to it.”
Interesting indeed. I'm very much in favor of abandoning the fiction-like in-lab-only emission tests, and using actual tailpipe emissions to determine the real emissions when vehicle is in actual use. It took Volkswagen and Dieselgate for us to wake up.
2015 Audi Q5 "Progressiv" + S-Line + Scuba Blue, 3.0L V6 TDI
(Highest fuel economy for all Audi Q5s on Fuelly!)
Well it doesn't sound like they're getting much bigger, had me worried for a minute there! I think 1.6 litres is plenty big enough in this day and age for most vehicles, it's certainly enough for Formula 1 and Rallying! That GTI I drove a couple of months back was super quick with almost 300 hp from its 1.6 litre.
Some of the tiny petrol engines are horrendous on fuel, especially when placed in a large family car like a Ford focus, some get 35-40 mpg which for a 1 litre is quite scary. They just seem to work too hard and sacrifice not only performance but economy too.