One of the ways to reduce weight and fuel consumption is to offer smaller three-cylinder engines for vehicles. This is something that Japanese car makers used in 1980s and 1990s for their smaller models. It certainly did offer results but price of fuel was significantly lower that time and not many worried about prices.
According to reports it seems that these three cylinder units will be offered again in few new models. We could hear that German car maker Daimler is preparing to invest in further development of these engines that will be mostly delivered to hybrid vehicles. Smaller and lightweight engines with only three cylinders were delivered for Smart Fortwo city car for many years and now we have details that it will be available in larger number of hybrids from this car maker because of the importance of lowering weight and the issues with packing larger engines when in these models are fitted both battery and electric motor.
Just recently news from Mercedes suggested that they will not use three cylinder engines because they tend to have lower refinement. Because they miss one cylinder they need to be controlled with balancer shafts that certainly affect fuel economy and adds weight. For larger rear wheel drive vehicles from this German car maker we will be getting four cylinder units and since there is a decent amount of space where engines can be fitted to these cars it will not be a problem.
If we take a look at the market, at least U.S. market we can notice that only few models are delivered with three cylinder engines. At this moment there are Smart, Ford Fiesta with 1.0 liter EcoBoost unit and Mitsubishi Mirage. In Europe where much more serious is taken fuel economy and efficiency we have slightly larger number of models with these units. On the other hand if these are fitted to hybrids it will allow more space for components like electric motor and controller while the battery pack will probably stay on the similar position like before.
Daimler Brings Three Cylinder Engines For Hybrids
In cooperation with Renault, Daimler will co-developed lineup of three cylinder engines that will either come as naturally aspirated or turbocharged. We have to point out that Twingo and Smart will use many same components and among those there could be these engines that will allow it to further reduce fuel consumption.
We suspect that not only Smart and Twingo will be offered with under liter three-cylinder units. Reports suggest that few Mercedes models that are offered with front wheel drive like CLA Class, B Class, A Class and GLA crossover could be perfect for delivery with smaller units. These vehicles would be able to compete with vehicles like 2 Series Active Tourer and Mini Cooper that are and will be offered with three-cylinder units.
Major problem with these engines could be the fact that U.S. market really does not like small units. Anything under six cylinders is pretty hard to sell, last few years, four cylinder units are gaining on popularity but still it is pretty hard to sell those in larger luxury models. We are sure that European market and buyers in Europe will be interested to see what these can offer in terms of fuel economy and efficiency.