The new Fiat Abarth. Photo by Don Bain

Millions of turbocharged vehicles making for greater efficiency

Turbochargers are both quietly and vociferously changing the vehicles on the roads of today, as more and more cars, like the 11 models with EcoBoost engines coming from Ford this year, as well as top sellers like the Chevy Cruze and Sonic come off the showroom floor with this option built right in.

Ford alone sold 127,883 EcoBoost powered vehicles in 2011 including the top-selling F-150 pickup. During 2010, every F-150 sold came with a V8 engine – one year later, 56 percent of F-150 buyers opted for a fuel-saving V6, either the base 305-horsepower 3.7-liter or the award-winning 365-horsepower 3.5-liter EcoBoost, featuring twin turbochargers built by Honeywell.

Honeywell places the number of turbocharged commercial and passenger vehicles in North America at 3.2 million in 2012, up from 2.2 million last year. Passenger vehicles alone will account for nearly 850,000 additional turbo engines – a 61 percent jump since 2011.

"With fuel prices being a significant concern for consumers and businesses, turbochargers are a smart choice for getting more miles to the gallon," said Tony Schultz, vice president for the Americas, Honeywell Turbo Technologies. "It's a proven technology that can be used across market segments and does not put the consumer in an extended payback period like other technologies to realize its benefits. Turbocharging technology has been a fuel economy driver for decades in the United States for the on and off-highway commercial vehicle market, as well as in global passenger vehicle markets like Europe."

Large 8-cylinder engines have steadily declined since 2008, while a corresponding increase in 4-cylinder engines follows the U.S. move to smaller engines with turbochargers thanks to high gas prices, according to J.D. Power and partner firm LMC Automotive.


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