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.

Steve Hanley

Closely following the transition from internal combustion to electricity. Whether it's cars, trucks, ships, or airplanes, sustainability is the key. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.