Automakers have invested plenty of time and money into
various fuel-saving technologies, over the past few decades. This includes
improvements such as direct injection, cylinder deactivation, and auto
It is a difficult task to keep a track of the companies which have adopted these technologies. Luckily, the EPA’s 2022 Automotive Trends Report includes data that shows which automakers have adopted what technologies.
The percentages shared in this infographic indicate how 14
major automakers have implemented various fuel-saving technologies into their
lineups. The report did not specify if this data is for North American models
There are several geographical trends hidden within the
dataset. To make it clear, the 14 automakers have been color-coded in the
infographic on the basis of their nationality.
Beginning from the top of the graphic, we can see that
Japanese automakers are big supporters of gasoline direct injection (GDI)
engines, as well as continuously variable transmissions (CVT).
When using a GDI engine, fuel is injected directly into the
combustion chamber at high pressure. This method is more accurate than the
traditional method known as port injection, which results in greater fuel
efficiency and lower emissions.
CVT transmissions use pulleys instead of gears to improve
fuel efficiency. CVTs work best when are they are paired with smaller, lower
output engines, which may clarify why Japanese automakers (who have a history
of building smaller cars) have adopted them so widely.
Toyota is listed as having 0% adoption of direct injection,
but this is not true exactly. The automaker uses its D4-S system, which is a
combination of both port and direct fuel injection.
On the other hand, South Korean automakers have a more stable
technology profile, adopting a wider number of technologies, but each to a less
German automakers are well-known for their expertise in
building combustion engines, so their use of turbocharging and direct injection
in nearly every model is of no surprise.
They have also greatly adopted high gear-count transmissions
(7 or more gears), which can not only support better fuel efficiency, but also
faster acceleration. The shortcoming to these transmissions is that they can be
very heavy and complex.
In addition, German automakers make use of the auto
start-stop feature in many of their vehicles, and are tied with Toyota in terms
of hybrid adoption.
American & Other Automakers
Technology profile of Ford and GM is somewhat similar to the
Germans, using turbocharging and direct injection combined with 7+ gear
GM uses turbocharging less often, but stands out with its
high usage of cylinder deactivation technology, at 54% of models. This feature
is referred to by GM as Active Fuel Management (AFM), it works by shutting down
half of the engine’s cylinders during light driving.
GM is acknowledged for its small-block V8 engines, which can
be found in many of the company’s models. Given the high cylinder count of a
V8, AFM is a clever trick for improving fuel efficiency.
Stellantis, which is a merger between Italian-American Fiat
Chrysler and French Peugeot, has not widely adopted many technologies except
for the 7+ gear transmission.
Last on the list is Tesla, which does not use any of the above
mentioned technologies due to it being a pure electric automaker.
Going The Way of the Dinosaur
The technologies presented in this infographic have helped
to bring the average mpg of a new car to record highs in recent years.
Most of these innovations would become obsolete as
automakers slowly phase out gasoline engines. In 2021, six most important
automakers which includes Ford, Mercedes-Benz, and GM assured to phase out the
sale of new gasoline and diesel-powered cars by 2040.
Other automakers such as Porsche believe that the combustion
engine still has a future, pointing to synthetic fuels as a means of
significantly reducing CO2 emissions.
Infographic by: visualcapitalist