|The writing is on the wall for the internal combustion engine. Electric motors are superior in every measure – instant torque, huge torque, no transmission, no oil, no spark plugs, no radiator, no air filters, no gas tank, no water, no water hoses, no anti-freeze, no water pump, no pollution, no catalytic converter, no exhaust pipes. Shall we go on?|
In recent years, the biggest trend in the automotive industry has been downsizing. In an attempt to increase fuel economy and reduce emissions everyone from Honda to Ferrari has embraced smaller, turbocharged motors. In reality though, downsized engines produce more emissions in real-world conditions, and as we reported last year, engines will once again get larger.
Now, Herbert Diess, the boss of the Volkswagen brand, has stated that downsizing's days are numbered. In an interview with Car Throttle, Diess explained why VW is gradually phasing in larger engines.
"The trend of downsizing is over," Diess told Car Throttle. "Emissions tend to go up as engines get smaller."
That's why for the facelifted 2017 Golf–pictured above in GTI form–Volkswagen replaced its 1.4-liter four-cylinder with a new, 1.5-liter unit. Diess told Car Throttle that VW would continue building its 1.0-liter three-cylinder, but otherwise, "displacements will go up."
In other words, there's no replacement for displacement.
OK. To be clear, this doesn't mean VW is going to start stuffing big V8s in everything (much to our chagrin), but rather, engine size will begin creeping up in small increments. This is a result of Europe's emissions crisis, where regulators are cracking down on real-world emissions.
In a process known as "cycle beating," automakers developed engines designed to generate low-emissions in lab testing, while producing more emissions in real-world driving. Volkswagen did this brazenly by cheating with defeat device software, but other automakers did it in legal ways.
Now that European regulators are cracking down on cycle beating, automakers are being forced to respond with bigger engines. Under these circumstances, hybrid and pure-electric cars will become increasingly important.
So, don't expect major shifts in internal-combustion engines, but don't expect to see too many sub-1.5-liter four-cylinders either. RoadAndTrack