Fuel efficiency standards drive much of the design modifications for car manufacturers.  Fuel economy can be achieved through material selection and system modifications.  Automotive suppliers have opted for smaller engines as a part of the overall effort to meet CAFÉ fuel efficiency standards.

Number of smaller engines will decline over time

BorgWarner predicts that the number of smaller 3-cylinder engines will continue to be in demand.  That’s at least through 2020.  By 2020, 3-cylinder engines will outpace current sales while sales for 4-cylinder engines will grow 13 percent.  Larger engine styles will be less in demand, according to 2015 forecasts.

Three Automotive OEMs Downsize to Smaller Engines

When Honda set out to redesign its Honda CRV ’17 version, the automotive OEM opted for a smaller displacement engine.  Ratings for previous version is 26/33/29 mpg city/highway/combined.  For the newer model, the rating is 28/34/29 mpg for city/highway/combined.

VW and other automotive OEMs have adopted engines using the Miller cycle version.  VW recently started offering TSI gasoline Miller cycle engine in several of its vehicles.  The major change in this version of the engine is that the Miller cycle was used to achieve better fuel economy.  The fuel consumption rate was reduced between 5 and 10 percent with the newer, compact engines.

Automotive OEM Mazda achieved better fuel consumption with its SKYACTIV-G 2.5T engine leveraging the Miller cycle.  The end result produced a 23 percent reduction in fuel consumption.  The engine design featured fewer engine components.  Other lightweighting methods were used to improve fuel economy.  The downsized engine also proved to be more cost-effective than its predecessors.

Automotive OEMs turn to engineers to maintain performance in their smaller engines.  Some rely on boosting to elevate the performance levels for their smaller engine systems.  Automotive companies also turn to coding to coding to increase the power in their engines.  JD Power reports that smaller engines still have their share of performance challenges.  Dixien, LLC remains committed to helping OEMs meet the various innovation challenges that come with producing reliable, downsized engines that satisfy CAFÉ standards.