Hybrid powertrains grab all the headlines these days, but conventional internal combustion engines are also advancing at a torrid pace. Technologies such as variable valve timing, cylinder deactivation, direct injection, and turbocharging are boosting engine performance and fuel efficiency as never before.
Here, we've collected photos of engines representing some of the latest innovations in powertrain technology. From tiny inline-fours to muscular diesels to split-cycle engines, we offer a potpourri of engine technologies.
Click the image below to start the slideshow:
The Chevy Cruze Eco punched up its fuel economy to 42mpg highway by using a 1.4-liter Ecotec turbocharged engine. The engine's Turbo Airflow uses a compressor wheel (driven by hot exhaust gas) to draw air into the intake. The air is forced through an intercooler and then travels to the engine's intake manifold. The intake manifold subsequently distributes air to cylinders, where fuel is added, and combustion takes place. (Source: GM)
No substitute fir cubes nearly lost the war in the Pacific. Light weight Japanese aircraft out climbed and out turned, the American aircraft. More cubes need more strength and therefore, weight, in turn needing more cubes to propel them. The designer of animals has known that for x.M.years
That's right: The old guru of modified ICE, Mr. David Vizard, always said the Turbocharger was NOT an economy device. The thing is that most Turbo designs are produced with a high maximum specific output power goal. But owing to the lower octane rating of present day gasolines, the designers have resorted to use an excess of fuel at high power levels in order to supress detonation, because excess fuel cools the combustion chamber and allows higher boost levels, reaching top power (a very gross and blunt way of limiting detonation!). Would automotive companies resort to use water injection for maximum power, the gasoline consumption would be quite lower, but public is reluctant to have to do additional chores, like replenishing the small water tank, and therefore water injection is only used by few Turbo and Supercharger aficionados...
Methanol-Water is even more advantageous, but would be too difficult ro cumbersome for daily drivers to use.
Well, before 1995, I believed in that old (too old) saying.
The car I was using at that point, was my old Ford Falcon 1967, which I kept modifying and upgrading frequently. The old Falcon started life with a puny 260 C.I. V-8 engine, which was really underpowered at our high altitude of 7350 ft asl. In 1975 my father replaced the 260 with a much better 289, still with the original 2 barrel carburator. latter on I was given the car and soon I got a newer 302, which had better torque, but lacked top end response.
Some more years and I was able to replace it with a 351, souped up with a proper 4 barrel, dual point centrifugal advance distributor, big air filter and a higher lift cam.
I felt it was a fast car, until a 1986 4 cylinder gave me a beating! It was a 2-door Dodge Magnum with a 2.2 liter Turbo. it was a 5.8 liter vs a 2.2 turbo, and I was embarrassed.
Later on, I bought a used 1991 Dodge Spirit R/T with a little 2.5L Turbocharged engine. It is slightly slower from 0 to about 30 MPH, then the Spirit blasts and leaves behind the Falcon like standing still.
Now I have three cars, since I bought a new Stratus R/T 2002 Sedan with a 2.4L Turbo. The Falcon is a toy used on some week ends, but the 91 Spirit and the 2002 Stratus are the daily drivers (I have to alternate them, as the stupid "Today your car cannot be used" city government program (that has caused people to buy one or two extra, used cars to be able to ride all the week).
For me, the Turbo engines have been great, trouble free (provided you use Synthetic oil and know how to drive them) and magnificent when driving across the high mountain passes, where the normally aspirated ones loose a third of their claimed power. Amclaussen.
Many of the early EV and hybrid designs consist of sticking an electric motor in where the engine should be or in parallel with the IC engine - automotive engineers have got to go with what they know. Some EVs and now some hybrids are going with direct drive electric. In the former, torque is generally ratioed through a centralized transmission; in the latter, it is managed by switching windings or laddering operating voltage i.e. replacing mechanical systems with electrical ones. One of the advantages of direct drive is that instantaneous torque of an electric motor is huge and can't practically be coupled through a transmission while another is that fully independent control of torque per wheel provides superior handling which are good reasons why direct drive electric is being applied to high-performance vehicles. I've designed direct drive motion systems where the constraint on peak torque was not letting the armature break off the drive shaft.
As for lifetime, some hobbiest friends run a full-scale railroad with direct drive electric traction some of which dates to the 19th century. Other than bearings, brushes and the steel tires (all replaceable), this stuff never wears out.
There are none so blind .... My brother-in-law works on fleet trucks that have been using stop-and-go for years; that's right, big rigs that back up on electric power alone. For rail, electromotive diesel, i.e. self-charging EV, has been the standard for decades. The oldest freight locomotives in operation in North America are electric box-cabs with ballast batteries that have been humping freight through mountain passes since WW1. The biggest rail electric locomotives put out 55,000 hp. In Europe, some of the fastest rail is turbo-electric. The largest earth movers used in hard rock mining are, guess what, electric. EV commuter trains are not grid connected - they use charging stations, typically inductively coupled. Many cruise ships use electric auxilliarys for course compensation and docking. Of course, it's easy to lose sight of this in North America which is mostly last to adopt modern transit technology.
If EV technology doesn't pack 'enough punch' how do you account for Tesla Roadster performance?
While your numbers are not exactly correct, there is a lot of truth in the case of turbocharged/supercharged engines where mixture cooling is strongly needed to avoid detonation. I have a friend that was working for several years at a famous piston ring factory ("P.Circle"), that took his father's car, an old 1966 dDodge Coronet with a modified for very high compression 318 C.I. V-8 engine that required WATER injection for above moderate throttle, but achieved tremendous fuel economy when driven moderately. It used a 50-50% blend of regular and premium gas at our very high altitude (7350 ft ASL). As water injection requires regular replacement, it is not considered practical by many, but for my friend it quite is. On the other side, many Turbocharged engines really swallow an excessively rich mixture at Wide Open Throttle in order to keep pistons from developing holes in them.
You are right sbkenn, even if your numbers could be only approximate, your statement is correct: There is a tremendous waste in throwing away a well maintained car from the 90's up to buy a new one, even when its emissions could be slightly lower or be slightly more fuel efficient. The problem is that people believe in the automotive industry motto of "improvement" and keep them producing cars at unsustainable levels. My late father lived a few years in Europe in the 40's and 50's, and always told me that the American way of renewing their automobiles, buying a new one every year or two was plainly wasteful (and dumb); specially compared to the european practices. He was proud of his cars maintenance and conservation, and kept them for at least 8-10 years at a time. I followed his style and still have a 1991 and a 2002 that pass emissions perfectly and still work as new day to day. I had an old (1967) Ford Falcon that I was able to keep in top form for almost 40 years of DAILY use, but stopped using it when much more recent (and fast) vehycles were hard to keep the pace with in highways, and because I was unable to modernize sufficiently to keep it current. BTW, a serious study recently cited in this same site, revealed the large inefficiency paid to fabricate a Nissan Leaf, when materials and fabrication energy amount was properly included in the overall picture, It was not as green as some politicians (or phanatic owners) would like us to believe. Amclaussen.
You may be right. Electric motor can be compared to jet engines on an airplane. Airline quickly realized jet engines are more economical to operate than piston engines because they are cheap to maintain. Only the bearings. Because they don't shake to pieces like piston engines, you save fatigue on all the parts including airframe.
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