By 2017, Less Than Half Of New Cars Will Use “Simple” Gas Engines



Navigant Research predicts the majority of new cars sold by 2017 will be powered by something other that a conventional, non-turbocharged gasoline engine.

Now, hang on, all you EV advocates. This does not mean there will be an explosion of electric vehicles by then. What it does mean, according to Navigant, is that more cars will have turbocharged, supercharged, or compound turbocharged engines and more will be hybrids that use an electric motor and an internal combustion engine  in combination. The cause of the shift away from simple gas engines is the need to meet increasingly strict fuel economy and emissions standards in all global markets.

“There is no single technology that will dominate fuel efficiency improvements over the forecast period through 2025,” says David Alexander, senior research analyst with Navigant Research. “The focus, instead, will be on incremental improvements in engines and transmissions, along with weight reduction in as many places as possible.” Alternative fuels like compressed natural gas (CNG) and propane will also play a bigger role in tomorrow’s cars.

Navigant expects that more manufacturers will employ stop-start technology to improve fuel economy and lower emissions. These systems shut the engine off when the car is at rest instead of allowing it to idle. When the driver transfers from the brake to the accelerator, the engine is restarted and the car drives like normal. Navigant says a form of energy regeneration will be incorporated into these stop-start systems, which will permit future cars to be mild hybrids without the need of large, heavy and expensive batteries.

In other words, within the next few years, conventional cars like that 1966 Dodge Dart with the Slant 6 gasoline engine you have been storing in your garage all these years will officially be a relic of the past.

About the Author

I have been a car nut since the days when Rob Walker and Henry N. Manney, III graced the pages of Road & Track. Today, I use my trusty Miata for TSD rallies and occasional track days at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. If it moves on wheels, I’m interested in it. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.

  • curly4

    I have wondered every since the Chevy Volt why they did not develop a an EV that had a combustion engine just to charge the batteries. That set up would allow the engine to tuned for maximum efficiency with minimum pollutant emissions. It would also extend the range farther than just what a charge would take the care.

    • Ziv Bnd

      I think that if you got the ICE in the car to start with, the engineers are thinking that you might as well tie it into the drive unit in order to take advantage of it when it is more efficient to do so. But since the advantages of doing so are hidden they aren’t that easy to point out. I.e., you get 35 mpg in CS mode with the genset charging the battery and the electric motor then taking the electricity from the battery. But you get 38 mpg by tieing the genset into the drive unit via the planetary gear.

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