Global Green house Gas regulations have driven innovations in the automotive industry as automakers review their options to meet the stringent emission requirements.
Many believe that electric vehicles is the answer however the battery technology and charging infrastructure are still evolving. Experts and analysts predict that EV’s are projected to gain a significant share of the global automotive sales but not until 2030.
Car engine … DEAD?
I am sure you have heard this too however experts believe that car engines still have a long road ahead of them. The car engine has been going through a technological breakthrough every year where companies have been able to improve it’s efficiency year-over-year.
Here are some of the technologies that will continue to improve car engine efficiency:
- Variable Valve Timing or Variable Cam Timing- Technology varies the time and distance that the valves open, so that the engine gets just enough fuel and air for the power requirement. Technology can deliver up to 5 percent fuel efficiency improvement. Less than 20 percent of the global fleet utilizes VVT or VCT technology today
- Downsizing and Turbo charging- Technology reduces the size of the engine which augments lightweighting. Turbo charging provides higher torque at lower RPM’s which improves performance. Technology can deliver up to 7.5 percent fuel efficiency improvement. Less than 25 percent of the global fleet utilizes downsized and turbo charged engines today
- Variable Compression Ratio-Nissan will be the first company to offer a production version of this technology. Allows car makers to change compression ratio of the engine depending on the power requirement, technology can deliver up to 10 percent fuel efficiency improvement. See the video at the bottom of the page
- HCCI– Technology utilizes heat generated from high compression to ignite the fuel, the fuel-air mixture is pre-injected before the power stroke. Once developed successfully this technology can deliver up to 15 percent fuel efficiency improvement.
Ongoing developments suggest that the internal combustion engine (ICE) will continue to yield fuel efficiency improvements and will command the largest share of the market for at least 15 to 20 years.
Most of the technologies as listed above have two primary compromises cost and complexity which is where a solution being proposed by Acquarius Energy Generation from Israel is very interesting. They are claiming a breakthrough in engine efficiency while minimizing the associated compromises. Their solution hits on many important elements of the engine:
- Complexity, significant reduction in engine components
- Weight, lower complexity aids lightweighting
- Cost, Peugeot is one of the companies reviewing the feasibility and has stated that the engine cost could be significantly lower
- Efficiency, reduced components and two power strokes per cycle is projected to deliver fuel efficiency that is 2 to 3 times better than traditional engines
Acquarius plans to couple the engine with hybrid / EV systems which could result in game changing fuel efficiency improvements.
Click here to watch the BBC video
Israel, a country not known for strong automotive engine technology or manufacturing experience is able to differentiate by leveraging “Innovation“.
We will all be watching how these new technologies transform the automotive industry.
The author, KetanDeshpande, lives in Minnesota and writes about a variety of topics in his blog such as global economy, market and industry trends, successful strategies for businesses, and others. Leveraging his global strategic leadership experience from the manufacturing industry to offer insights in to how businesses can meet the sustainable growth and profitability goals.
Ketan Deshpande is also passionate about sustainability and renewable energy; he curates and shares latest updates in his blog posts. Recently the Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency(SMMPA) of Litchfield, Minnesota, endorsed Ketan Deshpande for an energy conservation project.
This blog also features memorable events, travel experiences and his favorite places to visit in the great state of Minnesota.
4 thoughts on “Is this the evolution of the car engine”
I embarassingly don’t know much about engines, but it’s interesting to hear that ICE engines are projected to be around for 15-20 more years. I would have anticipated a change to alternative energy sources.
I also write a lot about Renewable energy which is making strong gains but it is difficult to switch out the current fleet in a decade or so which is the problem. Current US fleet is over 11 years old
Sarah, my sincere apologies for a delayed response. Thanks for your comment. ICE engines will continue to be around for a while however they will be 20 to 30% more efficient in the next 5 to 10 years. As the electric vehicles improve the energy storage capacity and costs come down ICE’s will be phased out. I know the over all time line is long but we have to start somewhere