At the recent Chicago Auto Show, AI asked GM vice-chairman Bob Lutz for his opinion on using downsized gasoline direct injected (GDI) turbo boosted 4-cylinder engines as a way to improve vehicle fuel efficiency. His reply, â€œIt is a good system and will increase prices about $1400â€
Taking Bob Lutz’s view in context with worldwide efforts to improve passenger car fuel efficiency and emissions, AI turned to Vertas AG, a German firm specializing in automotive supercharged-air ducts and a broad array of engine fuel and hydraulic tube elements for both engine compartments and under floor applications.
AI spoke to Bernhard Beck, Vertas AG spokesman and member of the board. He was asked to comment on the future of diesel versus gasoline engines.
Beck said the firm’s market analysis indicated that current EU car production is approximately 50 percent gasoline and 50 percent diesel. He said this ratio is expected to change to 60 percent gasoline and 40 percent diesel by the year 2020. This is based on predictions that many motorists will switch to lower cost, smaller gasoline vehicles with lower emissions.
Beck pointed out that diesel fuel in Germany has previously been priced at about 20% less than gasoline, but is now within 10% of gasoline and expected to equalize soon. This is due to EU emission regulations that label gasoline engine emissions as better than diesel in their overall characteristics.
In the US, mass market cars are turning to downsized gasoline direct injection (GDi) engines for cost efficiency and emission reduction. According to Beck, the changeover situation now favors US manufacturers because the majority did not focus on diesel vehicles due to the low cost of gasoline.
â€œVertas AG is prepared to support the market either way,â€ says Beck. The company’s supercharged-air ducts are already used in high-performance diesel and gasoline engines, as well as in emissions optimized downsized engines.
According to Northern Illinois Chevrolet dealer, the cost difference should be approximately $1200 if the new 4-cylinder engines replace the current 6-cylinder engines.
An industry source close to the issue told AI that the added turbocharger, intercooler and related parts account for almost half of Bob Lutz’s prediction of a $1400 price increase. The balance is made up of the GDI system and variable valves. The $1400 price difference also raises the question of how many downsized turbo engines will be direct injection (DI) and how many may use cheaper central port injection (CPI).
Veritas AG has two operational divisions; Fluid Engineering and Moulding Systems. The company offers comprehensive solutions within these divisions ranging from preliminary project negotiations to delivery of products. The company identifies its commitment to these two sectors as the key to its service competencies.
According to Beck, Vertas AG is currently manufacturing duct elements that transfer pressurized air from the turbocharger to the intake of a 2.8L gasoline engine for a client’s in the EU.
Another innovation by Vertas AG is a flexible bellows duct that can operate in temperatures up to 185 degrees Celsius. The company currently supplies the ducts to BMW, Mercedes and Volkswagen.
Beck says the firm is proud of its materials expertise and comprehensive in-house manufacturing capabilities.