Flat boxer engines are internal combustion engines consisting of four cylinders and four pistons for automobiles or two cylinders and two pistons for motorcycles. A pair of cylinders are horizontally placed 180 degree from each other and the pistons present inside the cylinder move in opposite direction to each other. Flat boxer engine was first invented by Karl Benz in 1896. They are known as boxer engines as the movement of engine pistons are similar to the act of boxers throwing punches on each other.
Flat boxer engines are used in passenger vehicles that allow power generated by the engine to flow directly into transmission. Flat boxer engines provide better fuel efficiency to all-wheel drive (AWD) vehicles compared to their counterpart, front wheel drive (FWD) vehicles. Flat boxer engines have a low center of gravity, thus lowering the center of gravity of vehicles.
Low center of gravity help vehicles with flat boxer engines to more easily maneuvers. In flat boxer engines, pistons move in opposite directions and so cancels a vehicle’s vibration, whereas in other type of engines (such as v-type and inline), additional components are required to control a vehicle’s vibration.
In the unfortunate event of a front-end collision of a vehicle which is installed with a flat boxer engine, the engine moves below the passenger compartments due to low center of gravity. This improves the safety of passengers. Flat boxer engines are widely used in motorcycles due to their low center of gravity, less vibration, and better maneuverability among other properties.
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By geography, the market is divided into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa and Latin America. North America is a major flat boxer engine market. The U.S is the dominant market in the region as it is the largest automotive market in this region and the second largest passenger vehicle market in the world.
Canada and Mexico are other major markets in this region. Europe is another major flat boxer engine market. Germany is the largest market in this region as it is the largest automotive market in Europe. The U.K, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Sweden and Netherlands are major markets in this region. Asia Pacific is one of the largest flat boxer engine markets.
China is the largest market in Asia Pacific as it is the largest automotive and passenger vehicle market in the world. Japan’s automotive manufacturer Subaru is the only automaker installing flat boxer engines in all its car models, and Japan is also the third largest passenger vehicle market in the world. Thus, Japan is also a major flat boxer market in Asia Pacific.
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South Korea, India, and Australia are other major markets in this region. Middle East & Africa is another prominent flatboxer engine market, with Turkey, Iran, and South Africa the prominent markets. Latin America is another major flat boxer engine market, dominated by Brazil and Argentina.
Rising demand for fuel efficient vehicles and low vehicle emission is anticipated to increase demand for flat boxer engines in automobiles and motorcycles across the world. Rising demand for motorcycles, automobiles and sports vehicles are anticipated to increase the demand for flat boxer engines. A restraint of flat boxer engines is the higher manufacturing, and operations & maintenance cost associated with engine development. Flat boxer engines also restrict the design of vehicles.