Jeff Donnell says high fuel costs help his business.
Jeff Donnell, general manager of Honeywell's turbo business for North America and South America, says more turbochargers are coming to North American vehicles.
Donnell discussed the outlook for diesels in the United States and turbochargers this month with Staff Reporter Richard Truett.
What is the U.S. market potential for turbocharged diesels?
We certainly anticipate the diesel market in North America to take off. Right now it is a question of when, not if, in our minds.
We've got one customer who is really close to providing a contract. Many manufacturers are going through engineering costs analysis and seeing how much they can afford to do out in the future. That seems to be the big bottleneck right now.
You say about 700,000 turbocharged diesel pickups were sold in the United States last year. What do you expect in the future?
In the next five or six years, it could reach a total of 1.5 million vehicles.
Which passenger vehicles are expected to get turbocharged diesels first?
The most logical spot would be in the under 8,500 (pounds) gvw (gross vehicle weight) light-truck/SUV segment. It's an important segment for the domestics because that's where they make their money these days.
How much does it cost a manufacturer to install a turbocharger on a gasoline or a diesel engine?
It depends on what kind of technology the customer decides to go with. But for a diesel V-8 of about 5.0 liters, you are talking rough numbers, say, $350 to $550. That's what the price curve would look like.
Is downsizing a gasoline engine and installing a turbocharger a good way to boost fuel economy?
I would like to think so, and I would hope so. But unless we see some changes to the CO2 legislation, it is going to be really limited to performance applications.
What role do turbochargers play in boosting fuel economy?
In gasoline applications we've done a number of studies, and we've built some test vehicles for customers. We pretty consistently show that on a downsized engine, a turbocharger provides similar horsepower, torque and driveability as a larger naturally aspirated gasoline engine. And the fuel economy is going to be somewhere between 20 percent and 30 percent better.
Is an increase in gasoline and diesel fuel prices a good or bad thing for your company?
It always helps us. There are two things that always help our business: (tougher) environmental legislation and higher costs for fuel.
If an automaker decides to install a turbocharger in a vehicle that is already in production, how long does it take to do the engineering and get the car on the market?
About 18 months.