Half of gasoline engines in U.S. will be turbocharged by 2025.
The crystal ball for what the future holds for automotive powertrains in 2025 still is cloudy, but it’s getting a little clearer for 2020.
Automakers are loath to reveal future strategies, but private conversations with top powertrain officials, interviews with key suppliers and a detailed analysis by WardsAuto forecasting partner AutomotiveCompass suggests sweeping changes are ahead that will have a profound impact on the industry but will barely be perceived by the auto-buying public.
The biggest changes most new-car owners are likely to notice six or seven years from now will be their vehicles’ much better fuel economy and the way their engines automatically shut off at stoplights.
Despite the focus on battery-electric vehicles and a new generation of fuel-cell-powered cars, EVs will account for a tiny sliver of global sales by 2020. However, some degree of electrification under the hood will be common, either in the form of a full hybrid-electric powertrain or microhybrid stop/start system.
But for those charged with meeting upcoming government emissions and fuel-economy mandates, the changes will be broad and deep.
The good news is fuel-economy and emissions targets heading into 2025 are quite similar among the world’s major automotive markets, says Wolfgang Breuer, head of powertrain business unit engine systems for supplier.
The most far-reaching trend, especially in the U.S., will be the continued downsizing and turbocharging of engines. V-8s will be replaced by V-6s and I-4s which, in turn, will be replaced by a new generation of potent 3-cyl. engines. A few years from now, another wave of downsizing will begin.
“What is a downsized engine now is not a downsized engine in 2025,” says August Hofbauer,’s North American director-engineering and sales for turbo systems.
Continental predicts half of new light-vehicle gasoline engines will be turbocharged by 2025 in the U.S., up from 9% during the ’12 model year, according to WardsAuto data. Globally, about 30% of gasoline engines should be turbocharged by 2025, Continental estimates.
Diesels currently are almost 100% turbocharged.
However, Hofbauer makes it clear downsizing and turbocharging do not mean less performance. “You can get 300 hp out of a 1.8L turbocharged engine,” he says.