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)
It's not that something was lost but that something was gained - weight. With increasing government regulation comes added mass. Door beams, air bags, more stringent crash test standards - the list goes on - all add additional weight to the vehicle.
You are correct that turbocharging allows higher power from a smaller displacement engine (higher specific output). This can cause more spirited driving , therefore defeating the purpose, but don't forget that one of the most critical cost variables in long haul trucking is fuel economy and I don't think there's been an over the road semi built in the past three or four decades that wasn't turbocharged. Keep your right foot out of it and the smaller turbo engine will almost always be more economical than a larger displacement engine with the same power output.
The fact that nobody has come up with a fundamentally different system in a hundred years is quite a testimony to the suitability of these engines to the task. There certainly have been a whole lot of important improvements that have made them work much better. My point being that the lack of a better solution is not from a lack of trying!
A thermal fuel cell that would convert petroleum directly into electricity to drive electric motors would be a nice alternative, except that the physics don't quite seem to work that way.
The real problem is that it takes some source of energy to move a car, and the means to convert some form of chemical energy into thermal energy to drive our engines is the best found, so far. Of course, people have been searching for those alternatives also. Of course, aside from the pesky laws of physics that do limit things, we also have all kinds of safety and emissions regulations that also restrict drive options. And on top of that, we have to assure that when a car is damaged in a collision that there are no serious secondary hazards created.
So actually, given all of the constraints, the current ICE is pretty good.
First off, internal combustion (IC) technology is what, 100 years old? Still I see few improvements other than pressurized oil system, overhead valves/cam, electronic controls/fuel metering, and super finish bearings.I see little truly radical innovation.IC is clunker technology compared to electronics, and is super inefficient.Last time I saw anything published, it was 12% to 20%!That's 80% converted to noise and heat.It requires power to cool and quite them.I recently installed a 97% efficient furnace, which reclaims the latent heat.Seems like innovation could really be ramped up, but as long as we coddle and bail out Big Auto, they will continue to do what they are doing.
At risk of making many folks really irate, EVs are not non-polluting.They simply move the pollution elsewhere.Then there are the unseen consequences.Battery replacement and disposal loom large, as does the impact of processing the raw materials. The metrics of dangers in crashes also have to be measured.Other than fires in home charging stations, I have read little on this.
One of the guys I work with considered buying an EV and asked about air conditioning.The recommendation was to run the AC at home before the car goes on the road. We line near Key West, and the 20 mile drive without AC would be pure torture, even in the winter.
My last, and biggest problem is with lawmakers pretending to be automotive engineers.Several points come to mind.Lawmakers mandated so-and-so PPM of pollution. Engineers responded with "smog pumps" that mix fresh air into the exhaust stream.Same amount (or more) pollution, mixed with more air reduces the PPM percentage.But does nothing to reduce pollution.Another case, in the 1970s where lawmakers mandated so-and-so PPM per cubic inch engine displacement.Result:My 76 Caddy sported at 500CID engine that got 8mpg on the highway.Another example:Cash for Clunkers.Result: A shortage of used cars to the even older high polluters are still on the road.My solution is no to let engineers be lawmakers, but rather let us do what we do best unhampered by the Invisible Foot of government.If nothing else put out a $10M or $100M X-Prize for a new type of high efficiency car motor, say better than 90%.Money talks and BS walks!
If we want to see a great example of central planning in action and in transportation visit Cuba!
No. I despair every time a new oli field or coal field is discovered. Currently man emits almost 50 times CO2 of earth - 8,500 M T P.A. vs 200 MT P.A. We are killing the planet. Steady state CO2 level for current emissions is ~ 1.2 % - 43 times pre industrial.
No I don't consider a frieight locomotive a hybrid at all, because you don't have the option of running directly from the motor to the wheels. Heck the only battery on a locomotive is to start the engine itself.
But go the case of the jetliners... you don't see them battery or solar powered.
I do fully agree that if you want something to last, there is no replacement for displacement.
EV hauling a freight train ? Does that mean you don't count the diesel-electric locomotive ? Sure, it is a hybrid.
And to other posts: I have mentioned my 2009 Chrysler Aspen 5.7 liter Hemi Two Mode Hybrid before. I wanted a hybrid, but I didn't want to give up the utility of my Jeep. No, it's not perfect. But it is an 8-passenger, all-wheel drive, and it can tow 6000 lbs. Cars are not purchased solely on ROI. For much of my driving it is over-kill, but I can't justify having a stable of cars and use a different vehicle just for its 'perfect match' application.
There is no replacement for cubic inches. To get the same power out of a tiny supercharged engine is just beating it up.
Boy these motors are a huge 2-5% more eff!!! Sadly they just more eff waste energy as they still only get 8-9% of the fuel's energy to actually move down the road because you only need 5-20 hp to cruise and even less coasting, idling. Yet they scream 400hp like it's a good thing!!!
Using an ICE for traction use in variable traffic just is not eff. Especially when EV drive is 65% or so, only using.making power as needed and only as much as needed at very high eff.
The only real use after about 5 yrs is to recharge batteries at a constant rate of say 5-25kw while the real eff E motor handles the real work eff.
Yet little work done on these motors to make them more eff, harder in smaller sizes, that we really need.
One good way is a simple opposed piston, crankshafts with a common combustion chamber. Long stroke, good thermal eff, 1 or no valves, inherently balanced and lightweight.
As for EV being practical is it just took me 32 hrs to build a Harley Service car size EV MC Trike. That's how simple it was, just drop the motor, batts in and wire it up. Took about 2 hrs because it's so simple. A motor rebuild takes 15 minutes.
With a cabin could do yr round commuting with 60 mile range on battery and unlimited at 100+ mpg with a generator for unlimited range. such a 75mph vehicle is little more than 2 golf carts worth of batteries, materials, labor and they sell under $5k.
I just took it on it's first 20 mile trip and at 34wthrs/mile cost me $.07 in electric at $.10kwhr of RE I pay and about the national average. It's not much as I only paid $10.12 last month for all my home, business, transport needs. Normally it's higher but I've cut most load to not much. Usually without heating or cooling it's $15-18/month, peak heating/cooling to $30-40/mo. So my EV's just don't use much.
Just found out EV charge stations have been put in all over Tampa so even without a generator one can go 100 miles/day as I have before with a 40 mile range EV. Likely go to 60 mile range soon by adding 2 more batteries.
The secret of EV's is keep them light, aero and tone down the tech and we could have nice EV's for under the price of ICE's and a running cost of 15% of ICE's. KIS
So keep on spending your money on oil and be prepared to pay $1/yr/gal higher until it hits $10/gal in about 5 yrs. Or switch to something that won't keep going up like methane, NG, or EV's.
Unfortunately until I see an EV hauling more than people around, for example running an 18 wheeler down the road, or flying a plane, or even hauling a freight train down the tracks (I'm not counting the commuter trains because they are powered by the grid) EV technology still doesn't pack enough punch to get the job done.
Moving people around is one thing, but when you look at the overall aggregate of transportation, hauling goods is much more prevalent and demanding than moving people.
I did see some interesting designs done to ICE so far, some of which are coming to fruition by advanced control elctronics, and also 3D modeling and finally better manufacturing techniques. A couple of designs made me scratch my head and ask the question of maintenance and reliability, like cast in manifolds, water cooled manifolds and redundant direct/indirect fuel injectors.
You have to ask the question, what are we trying to attain? Better efficiency or lower 'emmissions' ? Funny how cars back in the 70's and even earlier with larger displacements could get the same mpg numbers if they were tuned up right, so the unless we forgot everything we've learned, it must be emmissions we're going after.
I just don't get it. All this for an congured up problem? Sooner or later this carbon thing is gonna come crashing down.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.