Turbocharger May Blow Out The Flame Of Natural Aspiration.
We may be watching the demise of the naturally-aspirated engine. Turbos are everywhere, and it may already be too late. Buyers and automakers are reaping the benefits, perhaps too spoiled by now to give it up.
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Turbochargers increase an engine’s power on the fly, and we’re living through the second epoch of forced induction. The first era of widespread turbos happened because fuel injection became more common and capable during the 1980s. Turbos had been a novelty in the age of carburetion. Now, they’re practically an invasive species.
The reasons for using turbocharging have remained consistent: big-engine performance from a smaller, lighter package with better fuel economy. Since there have been car companies, they have felt pressure to go further on less fuel while providing a powerful kick in the pants. The challenge of meeting the expectations of both consumers and regulatory agencies are being solved with cubic feet per minute, not cubic inches. Jam a lot of compressed air in a small engine, carefully feed it fuel, and everyone is happy.
Honeywell is the largest manufacturer of turbochargers. A 2013 report by the company forecast that nearly 40 percent of cars sold globally by 2018 would be equipped with a turbocharger. We’re almost there, and the prophecy seems accurate.
Here’s an example: The 1.5-liter engine in the new 2018 Chevrolet Equinox is only a smidge larger than the related 1.4-liter engine in the super-subcompact Chevrolet Sonic. Through the magic of modern turbocharging, the Equinox has 170 horsepower, 203 pound-feet of torque that’s delivered in a very linear way – it goes up to maximum and stays there between 2000-4000 rpm.
The takeover of turbocharging has been lightning quick in the light truck market. The Ford Ecoboost line of twin-turbo V6 engines has made the once-supreme V8 engine look old and winded. Trucks a perfect application for the technology because turbos work on-demand to generate very strong torque that’s well-suited to tasks such as towing. Instead of feeding 5 or more liters of engine all the time, the Ecoboost engines displace 2.7 or 3.7 liters and consume less fuel on average.
Turbocharger May Blow Out The Flame Of Natural Aspiration Source: Dan Roth, Forbes