TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Several automakers are developing turbocharged diesel hybrid powertrains, the next step in the effort to boost fuel economy and reduce emissions.
DaimlerChrysler AG and General Motors are among the automakers working on diesel hybrids, said Adriane Brown, CEO of Honeywell Transportation Systems of Torrance, Calif. One of Honeywells main product lines is engine turbochargers.
The programs are trying to build on fuel economy gained by switching from gasoline to diesel engines, primarily in Europe, she said yesterday at the Management Briefing Seminars.
U.S. consumers will also see more turbochargers in the near future, Brown said, adding that they will appear on diesels and gasoline engines with direct injection. She also sees a role for electrically driven turbochargers on fuel cells.
No matter which powertrain technology you talk about for the future, they all need air, Brown said.
A turbocharger uses engine exhaust to drive a compressor, which pushes more air into the intake manifold. The extra air enables the engine to generate more power. With a turbocharger, an automaker can choose between greater performance from an engine or switching to a smaller engine that delivers performance similar to a larger engine but with less fuel use.
One drawback of a turbocharger is that it becomes effective only at higher rpms. To overcome this issue, known as turbo lag, Honeywell sells turbochargers that can adjust the vanes in the exhaust stream to deliver more boost at lower rpms.
Honeywell is now developing turbos with adjustable vanes in the compressor, Brown said, to feed greater amounts of air into the engine at all rpms. Because compressing the air generates lots of heat, the challenge is to use materials that will last a long time yet are not too costly.
The first turbocharged vehicle with variable vanes in the compressor and turbine will go on sale in Europe in the near future, Brown said. She would not identify the automaker or product.
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