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Gearing engine designs towards sustainability

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With the buzz around automotive sustainability, the industry is at a crucial point. It is being driven towards adopting more sustainable practices that address environmental risks, changing consumer preferences, and the imperative to conserve resources.

In response, automakers have been putting in efforts to elevate their engine designs through innovations that increase power and improve fuel efficiency.

At present, the automotive market is abounding with new car features and innovations that significantly boost fuel efficiency and lower emissions. These include developments in turbocharged engines, stop-start systems, and continuously variable transmissions (CVTs), among them.

According to EY Insights, this fundamental shift presents a golden opportunity to drive future prosperity.

“Automotive companies that deliver across all these areas will be much better positioned to find new sources of value, power their continued prosperity, transform at the speed required, and play a leading role in creating a sustainable future for everyone. But that delivery must be comprehensive and consistent,” the report said.

Turbocharging

Turbocharging is expected to be utilized by more manufacturers to improve fuel efficiency in vehicles, whether they are electric vehicles, commercial vehicles, or another type. By compressing the air entering the engine, it helps burn fuel and produce more power. Vehicles that are powered with turbocharging provide better driving performance and fuel efficiency that many drivers are looking for.

“Automobile turbochargers have gained widespread adoption as manufacturers respond to stringent pollution regulations and aim to enhance fuel efficiency. Turbochargers play a pivotal role in improving overall vehicle performance and fuel economy, making them integral to modern car design,” re-search and consulting firm Verified Market Reports said in an article.

As turbocharging technology evolves, manufacturers are looking to produce more turbochargers that can withstand higher pressures and temperatures, making them more efficient and durable. It has also expanded to various industries, including aviation, marine, and industrial where increased power and efficiency are crucial.

Start-Stop system

Automakers are on a roll in continuously adding new features to reduce fuel consumption and meet environmental standards. One of these features is the start-stop system, which automatically shuts off the engine when the car is stopped in gear, helping prevent unnecessary fuel waste during idle periods. As soon as the driver releases the brake or presses the accelerator, the engine automatically turns on. During this interval, which lasts from 30 seconds to three minutes, other car features like air-conditioning or heated seats rely solely on battery power.

CVT

Another popular feature is equipping continuously variable transmissions (CVT) into their engines. The adoption of CVT technology has enabled automakers to improve power and fuel efficiency in vehicles. Even with smaller engines, vehicles equipped with CVT can still deliver smooth driving performance and improved fuel economy.

Alternative fuels

On top of these features, opting for fuels with lower carbon content and fewer emissions can be key to reducing emissions. By switching to alternative fuels like biofuels and hydrogen, which can be obtained from natural and renewable sources, automobiles can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reliance on fossil fuels.

According to business standards company BSI Knowledge, biofuels can cut down 83% greenhouse gas emissions; and biofuel-powered vehicles offer a more sustainable and equitable transportation for drivers. It is also a good alternative for heavy goods vehicles, given the weight of their load and the length of travel they take.

Meanwhile, according to technology research company TWI Global, hydrogen fuel cells can be another good alternative in powering vehicles as this technology provides a high-density source of energy with good efficiency, coupled with zero greenhouse gas emissions and fast charging times.

As car technology continues to evolve rapidly, the automotive sector is stepping up its game innovation and solutions that boost power and fuel economy, all while saving fuel and reducing carbon emissions.

“For automotive companies, sustainability goes to the heart of what they make, how they make it, and how they make money from it. Any kind of transformation will always create complex business and technical problems that need the best mix of insight, skills, attitudes and experience to solve. The difference with the transformation to sustainability is that nobody has done it before,” EY Insights said in its report. — Angela Kiara S. Brillantes

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