What do you think the powertrain of the average midsize car will look like in 2018?

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jsousanis's picture
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Joined: 2011-06-14

This year’s 10 Best Engines winners list featured no electrified powertrains, but most auto makers say electricity will play a broad role as the industry works to meet tougher fuel-economy requirements around the world. What do you think the powertrain of the average midsize car will look like in 2018?

jsousanis's picture
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Joined: 2011-06-14

Here's an interesting related story - Internal Combustion Engine’s Best Days Still Ahead - http://wardsauto.com/vehicles-amp-technology/internal-combustion-engine-...

dzoia's picture
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Joined: 2011-06-14

In talking to suppliers and auto makers over the last few months, it seems safe to say there will be some degree of electrification on most vehicles, starting with more elementary stop/start systems, which are likely to be on nearly every car and truck before the end of the decade. From there will be a step up to mild-hybrid systems or such things as electric-powered superchargers, capacitors to store and supply electrical energy to drive accessories and take the drain off the engine or potentially even systems that turn wasted heat into electricity to help provide a power boost when needed. I believe hybrid plug-ins, but not full-blown EVs, will begin to proliferate as well, as consumers start to get familiar with the concept, public charging stations become more visible and auto makers work out the right cost/electrical-range formula.

dwinter@wardsauto.com's picture
Joined: 2011-08-08

I've been doing a lot of reporting on advanced internal combustion engines and components lately and I think this where we're going to see some really huge strides in next five years, with small 4-cyl. and a growing number of 3-cyl. engines playing far greater role in improving fuel economy than hybrids. For most consumers, the choice between a hybrid or a 3-cyl. or 4 cyl. engine with stop/start that gets a few less mpg will be financial. And the non-hybrid will win most of the time.

jsousanis's picture
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Joined: 2011-06-14

I'm more bullish than Drew on the future of Hybrids - look at Tom's blog on the fast-growing popularity of Hybrids - http://wardsauto.com/blog/hybrids-outsell-most-segments-2012 - I think you'll see a hybrid element (with hybrid coming to describe an even wider spectrum of cross-powertype choices, such as the ones Dave describes) on a plurality of vehicles.

Of course, there's always a chance diesel will finally catch on in the U.S. - but if that happens we'll probably all opt to get around on flying pigs.

Tom Murphy's picture
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Joined: 2011-06-14

Agreed, diesel is a wild card. This year, we will see new diesels in Chevy Cruze, Mazda6, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Mercedes GLK and a fleet of Audis. A new VW small diesel for the U.S. can't be far in the future. My guess is that this year, after more than a decade of hoping diesels will take off in the U.S., our wishes finally will come true. By 2018, CAFE will require significant fuel-economy gains, and diesel delivers them. Also in 2018, I expect V-6s will become rare in midsize cars, a trend already under way. Naturally aspirated 4-cyl. engines displacing 2.4L and 2.5L will be the giants of the segment while high-output 2.0L turbos will be the premium options. And yes, even smaller 3-cyl. engines, most of them turbocharged, will be getting the job done. I figure stop/start systems will be standard by 2018, particularly in midsize cars.

jsousanis's picture
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Joined: 2011-06-14

“'There are people out there who like diesel, no matter what, for the performance and efficiency,'GM North America President Mark Reuss told WardsAuto shortly after announcing production plans for the diesel Cruze in 2011.'"
We'll see...
Here's a link to Jim Amend's story on the Cruze Diesel - http://wardsauto.com/vehicles-amp-technology/chevy-cruze-diesel-debuts-c...

TheAutoProphet's picture
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Joined: 2013-05-29

My personal opinion, the average midsize car powertrain in 2018 will be in the I4 1.6L range, direct injection, turbocharged, with mild electric assist and a 48V electrical system. The cars will weigh less, so acceleration will be about as good as today.

dwinter@wardsauto.com's picture
Joined: 2011-08-08

Thanks for weighing in AutoProphet. 2018 is only one product cycle away. I would say 1.4L-1.6L setups like you describe will be popular but I think 2.0L will be more common. I'm interested in your thoughts on 48V. Do you really think that is coming?

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