Fact: Fuel economy and emissions standards are becoming globally more stringent.
What that means: That shift toward efficiency is one of the main global drivers causing the current boom in turbochargers (also known as the Golden Age of Turbo).
To meet these requirements, automakers are turning to engine downsizing coupled with turbocharging to provide customers big engine performance and fun-to-drive vehicles while getting the fuel economy and emissions of a smaller engine.
Honeywell sees turbo penetration growing by 35 percent globally in the next five years, given the 20 to 40 percent fuel economy benefit of a downsized turbocharged gas or diesel engine over a larger naturally aspirated gas engine they are replacing.
Turbo technology has evolved considerably in the past several decades and requires no additional maintenance from the vehicle owner beyond following the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended guidelines for regular oil changes to protect the engine and related components including the turbo.
In the event a turbo is damaged or needs to be replaced, a genuine aftermarket part can provide the peace of mind vehicle owners seek in ensuring their car or truck runs as expected.
In Europe there is a type-approval system which requires proper certification of replacement parts to ensure the safety and integrity of vehicles. This certification system is a check against older vehicles using replacement parts, which would not allow the vehicles to comply with existing fuel economy and emissions standards that the vehicles were able to meet when new.
Recently in Europe, Switzerland joined authorities from Germany, Spain and Italy in confirming non-original equipment turbochargers require emissions testing and certification to be used legally as a means of enforcing environmental targets. The role of the turbocharger in enabling vehicle power trains to remain in compliance continues to be recognized through these agency statements.
In all four countries, a drop-in turbo generally requires a specific parts certification or vehicle inspection, potentially including a successful emissions test. This is an important consideration for garages and installers as they advise their customers. In Switzerland, infringements can result in fines for those who make non-permitted modifications or who market vehicle parts that would result in non-permitted vehicle modifications. These fines can amount to a maximum of 10,000 Swiss Francs depending on the circumstances. Similar penalties are in place across Europe for this infraction.
Other countries are expected to also increase the focus on turbochargers as being emissions- and safety-relevant engine components that may not be freely exchanged with improper non-genuine parts.