Why Honeywell's hot streak is turbocharged in Europe

Honeywell's turbo business is on a hot streak in Europe. Six of the last eight European Car of the Year winners have gotten a boost from the U.S. supplier's best-known component, and Ferrari has hired the supplier to help power its Formula One racecars.

F1 teams have switched to 1.6-liter turbocharged V-6 engines for the 2014 season from 2.4-liter naturally aspirated V-8s. Honeywell says the downsized V-6 will produce the same power as its turbocharged 16-liter commercial vehicle engine.

"This type of challenge teaches us to push technology beyond the limits we know," Nitin Kulkarni, who is vice president of customer management for Honeywell Turbo Technologies, told me. "It forces us to learn how to deal with extreme heat, extreme vibration and intense deadlines."

Those lessons typically benefit the new cars that we drive to and from work in three to five years.

There is no wait to get Honeywell technology in the reigning European Car of the Year.

Gasoline- and diesel-powered variants of the new Peugeot 308 include Honeywell’s turbos. Some diesel variants of the 2013 winner, the Volkswagen Golf, also have Honeywell turbos as do the award winners from 2010 (VW Polo), 2009 (Opel/Vauxhall Insignia), 2008 (Fiat 500) and 2007 (Ford S-Max).

The only exceptions during the last eight years were vehicles that didn’t have any turbocharger on board, those were the Opel Ampera/Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrids in 2012 and the Nissan Leaf electric car in 2011.

You can reach Douglas A. Bolduc at dbolduc@crain.com -- Follow Douglas A. on Twitter: BolducANE2014

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