The hullabaloo around hybrids and electric cars to meet the government’s mandated 54.5 mpg by 2025 might be little more than a lot of meaningless noise.
So said Johnson Controls president Brian Kesseler – albeit not in so many words – during the Automotive News World Congress yesterday.
“We can leverage existing technology to meet these regulations,” Kesseler said. “Automakers don’t necessarily need hybrids, EVs or plug-ins.”
According to Kessler, cutting edge technologies including advanced turbocharging, start-stop systems and direct injection are probably enough to help companies get up to par before the government’s 2025 target for corporate average fuel economy.
Ford is making an aggressive push into all of those systems with its EcoBoost engines. Last month, the company announced that it would package engine start-stop technology across 70 percent of its lineup by 2017. On average, the change is expected to yield 3.5 percent better fuel economy, but in some cases drivers could see up to 10 percent better gas mileage just by avoiding idling.
Other brands are taking a slower but similar approach. Start-stop systems are becoming increasingly common in new vehicles and direct injection is a staple in new engines.
Ford has also intend in the past that it plans to package its three-cylinder EcoBoost engine in more North American models. Currently, it is only being sold inside the Fiesta sub-compact, but the Focus likely join that list soon. The executives in Dearborn are mulling the possibility of offering even more 1.0-liter EcoBoost models on top of the Fiesta and Focus to U.S. customers.
Volkswagen debuted the Passat Bluemotion concept in Detroit on Monday with a 1.4-liter turbocharged gasoline engine that shuts two of its cylinders off when they aren’t needed. The dual-clutch transmission can decouple completely from the drivetrain to reduce mechanical drag and VW says the mid-size sedan would offer up to 42 mpg on the highway.
GALLERY: 2014 Ford Fiesta
[Source: Automotive News]