Turbochargers were once only used to bump up horsepower and torque figures on tuned cars in the Japanese mountains, but as the years have rolled on they’ve become more popular to increase fuel-efficiency while not limiting power or taking away from the driving capabilities of a car.
This incredible increase is partially due to the fact that both Ford and General Motors have really begun developing and implementing turbo technology into its new models. In addition to these startling figures, it has also been revealed that in 2008, just 2% of all passenger vehicles produced in the U.S. came fitted with a turbo, but this rose to 9.5% in 2011 and is expected to soar to 23.5% in the next five years.
Vice President for the American branch of Honeywell, Tony Schultz stated "With fuel prices being a significant concern for consumers and businesses, turbochargers are a smart choice for getting more miles to the gallon. Turbocharging technology has been a fuel economy driver for decades in the United States for the on- and off-highway commercial vehicle market, as well as in global passenger vehicle markets like Europe," added Schultz.
Curiously however, no details have been revealed about sales of superchargers, either by themselves or fitted to cars, and perhaps this indicates that superchargers are on the way out.
And that makes us very sad.
Superchargers operate on pretty much the same premise as turbo’s, except for the fact they’re directly connected to the given engine through a belt or crankshaft, and as we all know, they provide the most glorious sound at full throttle. However, we do have that sinking feeling...
The automotive world is full of trends and copycatting, so it is not uncommon to see drivetrain modifications start off small and explode as the years progress. If you think back, you will find one of the slower growing trends in automotive history was fuel injection, as it dates way back to 1925, then by 1940 it was first made electronic by Alfa Romeo engineers. In 1952, it became commercially available via Bosch, but only a few automakers made use of it. By the early-1990s, all but a handful of cars had electronic fuel injection of some sort.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, in terms of rate of growth, is the elimination of V-8 engines in favor of more practical turbocharged V-6 engines. The Ford F-150 has been on the front lines of this V-8 abandonment front and it all began with the elimination of all but two V-8 engines in 2011 – the 5.0-liter V-8 and 6.2-liter V-8 were the only 8-cylinder engines available – and replacing them with a series of V-6 engines, including: a high-output non-turbo, a 302-horsepower 3.5-liter, a 302-horsepower 3.7-liter, and a 365-horsepower twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 engine.
Since this successful introduction of forced-induction V-6 engines by Ford, seemingly every company is working on a hot turbocharged V-6 to replace their V-8 engines. The most notable is General Motor’s work on a 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6 for its upcoming Escalade redesign and the new Silverado and Sierra. There are also whispers of a twin-turbo V-6 for the Camaro. Dodge has fallen behind, but has turned its focus more toward making its existing V-8 powered trucks more economical, but will eventually have to switch to turbo power to keep pace.
So the question on everyone’s mind is how do these turbo charged V-6s stack up to the aging and fuel-hungry V-8s?
Click past the jump to read our comparison between the two options.
So it is official, Ford has gone absolutely crazy with the EcoBoost trend, but it’s a good crazy, as the EcoBoost both lowers emissions and sharply increases fuel economy. The latest engine to spool its way into the EcoBoost lineup is the all-new 1.0-liter inline three-cylinder version. When most people think of a 1.0-liter three-banger, they tend to picture the early-1990s Metro with its concrete massaging 49 horsepower zipping it to 60 mph sometime in the next century, while driving downhill.
Fortunately, this isn’t your Metro’s three-cylinder engine. This boosted three-banger will pump out a respectable 98 horsepower on the base level and an even more impressive 125 horsepower on the top-level engine, the latter exceeding the current 1.6-liter’s output by 5 horsepower.
FEV, the leading developer for this engine, also claims that both versions of the engine will twist out 125 pound-feet of torque, which is 13 more pound-feet than the 1.6-liter engine and it saves 20 pounds worth of weight compared to the 1.6-liter.
The press release makes it a little unclear as to whether or not this new EcoBoost will be offered in the U.S., but given the fact that it mentions the 1.6-liter in a Focus, and it being offered in the C-Max and B-Max, we can assume that it will start off in the U.K., as the B-Max and C-Max are U.K. models, and the Focus only comes with the 1.6-liter in the U.K. . Granted, the C-Max is coming to the U.S., but as a hybrid model only.
With the power output of this engine, you can expect to see it making its way over here soon. The likely host for it would be the Ford Fiesta, as it is more accepted with a smaller engine. Focus buyers would generally not accept a 1.0-liter-powered model.
We will continue to keep an eye on this and let you know if Ford makes mention of it coming to the U.S. or not.
Click past the jump to read FEV’s full press release
So we have watched as electric cars have begun infiltrating the market with maximum ranges of 70 to 150 miles per charge and a roughly 6- to 12-hour charging time. To be honest, that is just not a feasible solution for most drivers. We all know hybrids, as they have been around for what seems like forever now, but they are still reliant on gasoline and some actually get worse gas mileage than some gasoline-only cars.
This all leaves us scratching our heads looking for a solution to the gas crisis we are experiencing. Some people insist that hydrogen is the only real answer, but that experiment is far away from ever becoming a reality. There are two gasses that we have been using for ages to heat our homes and grill our food that a lot of people seem to forget, these are compressed natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas (propane).
Natural gas vehicles have been on the rise lately, with many fleet companies switching over to it, and forklifts have been propane-powered for ages. Recently, we even saw a performance car, the Maxximus LNG 2000 break a number of speed records, using natural gas as its fuel. This leads to the ultimate question of can CNG and LPG make their way into the performance and luxury car world to alleviate the gasoline crisis, especially in regards to fuel-hungry performance and luxury cars, as we find a real alternative?
Fisker has been one of the more exciting rollercoaster rides in the automotive industry, as of late. In 2010, it was developing an extended range hybrid, then known as the Nina, and the Department of Energy was interested enough to provide the struggling company with a $529 million loan. This loan was three fold; part of it was for additional research for the Karma, part was for the Nina’s development, and the final portion was to renovate the old GM plant in Delaware.
Apparently Fisker didn’t meet the DOE’s expectations and they froze the loan in 2011, due to “unmet milestones.” Fisker then insisted that production of the Atlantic (the production name of the Nina) will commence at the Delaware plant, despite laying off 26 employees in early-February.
Well, the layoffs are still coming, as Fisker just let go of an additional 12 employees, including engineers and maintenance technicians, from its Delaware plant, which one laid off engineer called “absolutely empty.”
This is really making it look as if the Atlantic will not be produced in the Delaware plant. For that matter, it is starting to look like the Fisker brand as a whole may be in some significant trouble. The true question here is will the DOE see that Fisker’s recent progress is good enough to thaw out those loan funds and allow the company to continue its renovation of the Delaware plant and research on the Atlantic project? Or will the DOE watch Fisker squirm as it gasps for air wherever it can?
Chances are releasing the loan funds will never happen and it is looking like Fisker may fizzle out and end up amongst the heap of failed car companies, alongside Packard, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac. Only time will tell, but seeing the Atlantic – an affordable hybrid sports sedan – hit the market would be a great thing for the environment and the entire hybrid realm.
Green cars are slowly starting to gain some traction in the automotive realm, as seemingly every manufacturer now offers some sort of hybrid model. Even electric cars are starting to see a lot of upswing lately, as most manufacturers are at least tinkering with the EV idea. However, there is one “green” mode of transportation that is getting overlooked at every turn. This is liquid natural gas and compressed natural gas.
One company has made LNG and CNG its No. 1 priority lately, and that is Maxximus. Maxximus’ first vehicle was a supercar dubbed the G-Force and it recently took that monster and turned it into a vehicle that can run on LNG, CNG, or even propane, and run at an extremely high rate of speed. This new vehicle is named the LNG 2000.
CNG and LNG are not only 90 percent cleaner burning than gasoline, making them the cleanest burning fossil fuel, but they are also as much as 50 percent cheaper than gasoline. Of course, some oil tycoon would snatch up the world’s supply and eventually drive process to the range of gasoline. At least it would provide a little temporary relief for the price of fuel, as we search for a legitimate alternative.
When most people think of alternative fuels, they think of a slow-moving vehicle that isn’t practical in the real world. Can the Maxximus LNG 2000 break this mold?
As much as we try to resist talking about every single celebrity’s car, there are some cases where a celebrity car also happens to be 100% ridiculous. In those cases, well, we just can’t help ourselves. Enter in, Justin Bieber’s 2012 Fisker Karma.
We aren’t reporting on the fact that this teen pop idol is being environmentally friendly, nor that he was handed the keys to this beautiful black Fisker Karma free of charge. Nope, that’s not the story. The story is that this 18-year-old pop sensation turned this beautifully sculpted ECO-supercar into a rolling mirror, literally.
We are cool with a little chrome, but there is a point when it becomes excessive. Mr. Bieber, you hit that point of excess, then broke through the barrier and tossed a live grenade at the remainder of that barrier to make sure it can never be crossed again.
This young man chromed out the entire car, not just a few accents here and there, the e-n-t-i-r-e car. Top to bottom coated in shiny, sunlight-reflecting chrome. Now, if he lived somewhere that the sun wasn’t excruciatingly intense, that might be cool, but this dude lives in California. As you can see from the above video, the sunlight creates a nearly blinding reflection on the car’s surface, which we would assume is illegal.
Um, nope, according to California law, a fully chromed out car is perfectly legal, but those pretty little mood lights under the front bumper are not legal. I remember getting pulled over repeatedly in Pennsylvania for my Camaro’s exhaust being too loud, that monstrosity of a Karma is louder than my Camaro’s exhaust could have ever been.
Hit the jump to see this beautiful machine before Bieber ruined, err, customized it.
We all understand that the European market was the first to really get nailed with high gas prices. They were paying over $5 per gallon while the U.S. market still was just cresting the $2 per gallon mark. This forced the European market to start accepting smaller and less desirable vehicles in hopes of getting better economy, while folks in the States continued to drive Hummers and other large SUVs.
Now that gas is hitting $4 per gallon, the U.S. buyers are starting to become more receptive to smaller cars with upwards of 40 mpg capabilities and hybrids cresting the 50 mpg mark. However, we are still left out in one market, the ultra economic clean diesels. The latest one is the 2012 Chevrolet Aveo, which is known as the Sonic in the U.S.
In the U.S., the highest mpg available on the Sonic is 40 mpg and that is the optional 1.4-liter turbocharged engine, which we have our doubts if any normal driver can actually hit 40 mpg in this car. In the U.K., the Aveo has several four-cylinder engine options, including a 1.2-liter gasoline, 1.3-liter diesel, 1.3-liter Eco Diesel, and a 1.4-liter. The highway fuel economy on these engines is 68.9 mpg, 83.1 mpg, 85.6 mpg, and 62.7 mpg, respectively.
None of these engines would make the Sonic a speed demon, like the relatively quick Sonic LTZ and its 1.4-liter turbo engine, but will Chevy ever bring these engine options to the U.S. market? We understand that diesel fuel is not as readily available as regular gasoline, but they certainly give the U.S. buyer an option other than hybrid or electric, which have technologies that could end up requiring rather pricy repairs in the future.
We’re not singling out Chevy here, as Ford has its ECOnetic system getting 65+ mpg in a Ford Fiesta. Our best Fiesta gets an arguable 40 mpg on the highway. Seemingly every car company has a super-Eco diesel engine in its European lineup, but we have yet to see one in the U.S. We think the time has come for one to show up.
After successfully building the world’s fastest street-legal supercar - the Maxximus G-Force - back in 2009, partners Marlon Kirby and David McMahan are back in action. However, this time, they have gone very green with the new Maxximus LNG 2000.
Not many details have been released for the LNG 2000 as of yet, but we do know that it is breaking the walls set up by petrol engines by running on compressed natural gas and liquid natural gas. That’s right supercar owners; no more getting ripped off at the pump! We still don’t know what kind of performance it will provide, but it is being pegged as the second generation G-Force which clobbered the 0-60mph sprint in 2.1 seconds. The G-Force was by no means green, though. It was powered by a 1,600-horsepower, 7.0-liter engine sourced from Chevrolet which boasted if additional performance times of 0-100 mph in 4.5 seconds and 0-100-0 mph in 8.8 seconds.
Development for the LNG 2000 is still ongoing, but the company was kind enough to reveal the first image of the "green" vehicle for us to ogle. They are also currently working on another model model - dubbed the Prodigy - which will come with 2,000 horsepower and a $1,000,000 price tag. Considering the G-Force costs $3,000,000, the Prodigy will actually be a steal! No pricing information for the LNG 2000 has been revealed as of yet.
Stay tuned! We’ll be following this development of the LNG 2000 closely!
UPDATE 02/13/12: Despite not knowing comprehensive information about the Maxximus LNG 2000, we do know enough to conclude that this is one insane supercar that packs an ungodly 1,600 horsepower. Recently, the folks over at Maxximus Technologies took the LNG 2000 out to stretch its legs and in fairness to the insane expectations set out on this supercar, it performed incredibly well in the drag strip, hitting 0-60 mph in just 1.9 seconds! Check out the video by clicking on the photo above.
Trying to get gas at reasonable prices is becoming one of the world’s major problems these days, so it seemed only natural that people would look for alternative sources to power their vehicles. There has been an onslaught of hybrid and full electric vehicles introduced to the market as of late, but there have also been unconventional methods as well, like that whiskey-powered model over in Scotland. It is the unconventional that has just broken the land speed record for vehicles running on organic waste. Engineer, Martin Bacon, and a group of volunteers from Teesdale Conservation in England have managed to make a car run on coffee.
Their project is based on a modified Rover SD1 which managed to hit a top speed of 77.5 mph and an average speed of 66.5 mph after many modifications, all with the help of the sole reason I get up in the morning. This java-powered rocket broke the previous speed record in this category of 47.7 mph, set by the wood-burning Beaver XR7 in 2010.
In this coffee-powered car, the fuel is sent to the V6 engine through an on board wood gas generator (gasification) system, which in this case burns wood and coffee grounds at a high temperature (more than 1292 F). The result is carbon monoxide, hydrogen, and methane, or the exact gas an internal combustion engine needs.
"Some of the clean gas is also being compressed to 150 PSI and injected directly into the manifold to achieve top speed. The cooling system is configured using an intercooler with two 12-volt fans attached."