Honeywell Transportation Systems

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Turbo Pioneer

Honeywell’s turbo origin dates back to the 1950s when Garrett® T15 turbo for Caterpillar D9 crawler tractor in 1954 marked the beginning of the turbocharged era for the automotive industry.

Early vehicle applications included earth-moving equipment and diesel trucks, but by 1962, the company was boosting the world’s first turbocharger production car – the Oldsmobile Jetfire Rocket. This was followed by several other firsts, including the first turbocharged car to win the Indianapolis 500 (1968), the first turbo for a non-sports car application (1977-Saab 99), the first mass production turbo for diesel engines (1978-Mercedes 300TD), and the first turbo race car to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans (1978-Renault).

However, the turbo innovation that really changed the whole automotive landscape arrived in 1991 with Honeywell’s VNT™ (Variable Nozzle Turbine) technology for Fiat Croma. For the first time in history a turbocharger was able to adjust exhaust gas flow in direct response to specific engine requirements, delivering superior performance and better fuel economy.

This breakthrough turbo technology anticipated and confirmed the symbiotic fit between turbocharging and direct injection diesel engines and it heralded a stratospheric take-off of variable geometry turbochargers, most clearly illustrated with the extraordinary success of the Volkswagen-Audi 1.9-liter engine unveiled to rave reviews at the 1995 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Since then, the pace of Honeywell innovations has quickened, with subsequent upgrading of VNT turbos for passenger vehicles, its extension to commercial vehicle segment (VNT DutyDrive), the unveiling of the world’s first diesel TwoStage Parallel system (Peugeot 407 and 607), and TwoStage systems for on- andoff-highway applications.

Today, Honeywell is boosting the engines of several of the world’s most fuel-efficient vehicles, including the recently launched 2011 Chevy Cruze Eco, a compact car that offers the best highway mileage (42MPG) in the U.S.; the 2010 Volkswagen Polo Diesel in Europe, the world’s most fuel-efficient five-seat car; the BMW X-6 ActiveHybrid, the first full hybrid vehicle combined with a turbo gasoline engine; and new gasoline engine developments in China. In India, Honeywell has developed the world’s first turbo technology for a 2-cylinder diesel engine, helping to usher in a new chapter of ultra fuel-efficient micro vehicles with engines below one liter. 

As turbo technology goes mainstream, Honeywell is committed to compounding the benefits of turbocharging through continued push in new architectures, new bearing and actuation systems, game-changing aerodynamics and high temperature materials, helping manufacturers to introduce new engines that deliver benchmark fuel efficiency, emissions reduction and great driveability.

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