It is very nice to see the great invention so roaringly satisfying during the golden age of cars and driving, become a vital part of the green age.
Something old is new again — and greener
Carmakers are turning to turbocharging, long viewed skeptically by Americans, as a relatively cheap, easy way to boost mileage.
By Ken Bensinger
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
November 24, 2007
The next thing in greener cars doesn’t need hydrogen, lithium-ion batteries or even a power cord. In fact, it’s based on century-old technology that’s been used on trucks since before World War II: the turbo.
Under pressure to reduce emissions and increase fuel-efficiency, automakers are quietly turning to turbocharging as a relatively cheap, easy-to-implement technology that could soon be a permanent staple on internal combustion engines.
That’s because turbos, high-velocity fans that recirculate and compress exhaust gases back into the motor’s cylinders, can increase fuel-efficiency by as much as 30% while increasing power output. Thanks to that increased power, smaller engines can be used, reducing weight and further increasing efficiency. And because it’s a proven technology, the research and development costs are enticingly low.
“There isn’t a dynamometer in Detroit that doesn’t have a turbocharged engine being tested on it right now,” says Eric Noble, president of Carlab, an automotive consultant in Orange. “There’s still a lot of fuel savings that can be gotten out of a traditional engine.”
Automakers are cagey about announcing how many cars will get the turbo boost, but General Motors executives say they are considering putting turbos on even their largest passenger vehicles. Hyundai just announced its first turbocharged car — the Genesis coupe — for the U.S. market in a dozen year