General Motors is developing a direct injection 1.4 turbo engine for selected Vauxhalls in 2010
23 May 2008

General Motors will launch a new, downsized direct injection 1.4 turbo engine in 2010 that will be offered in a wide range of models including the Vauxhall Astra, Corsa, Zafira and Insignia. It develops between 120 and 140bhp, and is claimed to provide the performance of a 1.8-litre engine with a 10 per cent fuel economy improvement. Direct fuel injection into the combustion chambers, variable cam timing of both inlet and exhaust valves, turbocharging, reduced internal friction and the lower overall weight of the engine all contribute.The chance to try a development engine in an Astra at a recent press event revealed a very lively performer - peak torque occurs at just 1850rpm - excellent refinement, the 1.4 revving very smoothly to the limiter and generally good throttle response. Slightly slow pick-up in high gears below 1800rpm is our only criticism of this otherwise impressive power unit.GM also demonstrated an early HCCI (Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition) engine in a Vectra. HCCI engines promise the potential of combining the emissions cleanliness of a petrol engine with the fuel consumption of a diesel, by operating under compression ignition during light to moderate engine loads, and spark ignition when cold and during heavy load demands.An HCCI engine is up to 15 per cent more economical than today’s equivalent power unit, but presents major challenges in terms of controlling engine knock, as well as the transition from one combustion mode to the other. As installed in a Vectra this experimental HCCI engine produced the kind of diesel knock experienced in the rougher diesel cars on sale 20 years ago, as well as a low rev hesitancy that made the car easy to stall and the odd stutter as the engine transitioned between compression and spark ignition. But this is a very early engine, and the Vectra was unaltered in terms of NVH. GM is publicly talking of HCCI engines for 2015, but privately senior engineers say they are aiming at an earlier date.Mercedes is also developing HCCI engines under is DiesOtto programme, while VW believes that this combustion system needs synthetic fuels to run effectively, its engineering vehicles largely free of transition hesitancy as a result.

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24 May 2008

You'd think after 100yrs of internal combustion that you'd reach engineering limits of power, torque and fuel efficiency by now? But no. It just keeps coming!

BMW's Efficiency Dynamics are 'simply' a 2% saving in driveline efficiency, 3% in engine combustion, 0.05% in rolling resistence etc etc. A dozen different 'shavings' to make power increases and economy savings that have given BMW a lead at this moment in time.

The HCCI technology offering "up to 10%" better economy in 7 years combined with other vehicle dynamic improvements (regenerative braking, lighter stronger materials etc) suggests tomorrows cars will provide both the economy, power and excitement we all demand/desire from our 24/7 transport machines - once the green fog has lifted!

The future's bright - it's not public transport which simple cannot compete and does not deliver - it's called the Car :)

26 May 2008

There will always be room for making a combustion engine more efficient, but I'm not sure the complexity involved in these engines is a good thing.

I have ranted about this in one of my blogs before:

(Titled "Worried about a complex future", about half way down the page)

To give you the general gist, the more complex something is the more likely you are to throw it away when it goes wrong, therefore shifting your environmental impact and making little if any improvements overall.

In the short term manufacturers can make massive savings in efficiency just by making their cars lighter, simpler and with less power sapping electronics.

Less really is more.



It's all about the twisties........

26 May 2008

[quote TegTypeR]

To give you the general gist, the more complex something is the more likely you are to throw it away when it goes wrong, therefore shifting your environmental impact and making little if any improvements overall.


You can just see the NVQ youth at the Vauxhall dealer who services the car having an in depth knowledge of all the internal workings of such an engine. If the diagnostic computer can't locate the fault then there isn't one is a usual answer or it needs a new engine is the other.

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