Automotive

Published on August 11th, 2013 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez

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ThinkBlue Using TSI Technology

From the very beginning of the days of mass production, car manufacturers have approached their development programs in very different ways depending on the region. The concept of designing a car for a specific region or target market became widely popular as companies became more globalised. Some aspects such as size and build quality are determined by the demographic. But the heart of the car, the engine, has long been at odds with efficiency laws and regulations.

For America and Europe this wasn’t a huge issue. Petrol was cheap, people had strong spending power, and this allowed them to run massive, less-than-efficient engines. Japanese manufacturers were faced with the challenge of expensive fuel, which forced them to develop frugal engine and car combinations, which lead to the idea that all Japanese cars were small and had tiny motors. In truth, the Japanese were lucky to get a headstart in order to develop the proper mindset for the modern fuel-efficiency oriented market.

But the Europeans weren’t very far behind. Once EU emission laws became stringent and even harder to match, car companies began to get into the efficiency oriented state of mind. The first thing to change was the introduction of direct injection, across the board. Volkswagen Group was quick to adopt the technology, and it was as big a step from fuel injection as fuel injection was from carburettors. The introduction of direct injection allowed very precise control over the fuelling and the timing, such that engines could run leaner and more  efficiently without risk of damage.

Following this came the widespread use of forced induction, through either turbocharging or supercharging. The objective for Volkswagen’s engine development was to push the low end torque up as much as possible to reduce the amount of fuel needed to push the car off from a standstill. The flip side to this was also greatly improved power outputs, which is always an appealing trait for an engine. It was at this point that Volkswagen attached the TSI badge to this engine lineup, represented in Malaysia by the turbocharged 2.0 litre engine from the Golf GTI, and the twincharged 1.4 litre engine from the Golf TSI.

But the current stage of Volkswagen’s engine development program is in downsizing the engine. A few years ago, using a 1.0 litre engine to power a full sized entry level sedan would be unthinkable, but with the improvements in technology and refinements to the engine, Volkswagen is looking at turning the concept into a mass produced reality. Downsizing has numerous advantages, whether you look at it from the lower weight, to reduced friction, or even to less fuel consumed during idle. Everything comes together to form a highly efficient, yet uncompromised engine.

The TSI range has won numerous awards and accolades, seeming to be achieve that highly sought after balance of power, torque and efficiency that was unparalleled. It changed the perspective of consumers, both convincing them that low-displacement engines were still capable of producing surprising amounts of power and torque, and that they were able to do so without burning through ludicrous amounts of fuel. At this rate, it’s highly likely we will see sub 1-litre engines in the next decade or so, most likely with healthy doses of forced induction.


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