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)
I was somewhat disappointed not to see Mazda's SKY-G and SKY-D engines on the list. They are a big advancement both in turbo diesel and naturally aspirated gasoline engines.
I agree that EV is a long way off. I'm not buying a $40,000 compact just to be "green." It's even less economical where I live since the electricity cost is so high.
Natural gas and clean diesel ICE's are where it is if you ask me. I lean more so toward the NG. Clean diesel is too complicated. The Ford 6.7 trucks and other 2010 diesel trucks will suffer due to high repair costs of dpfs, scr heaters, pumps, sensors, and all the other crap related to SCR, EGR, and DPF. The advantage to diesel was simplicity. I will drive my '97 Cummins ram with 326,000 miles for a long time to come. Why? Becaues is just runs. No engine computer, no emissions computer, no egr, etc. Wire the stop solenoid and it will run without a battery. Emissions diesels lost their reliability advantage over gasoline and actually got worse IMO.
I find the combination NG/gasoline vehicles like the up and coming Ford Super Duty conversion to be quite practical. By using gas or NG there is the cost and emission advantage of NG where it's available and no range anxiety since it will run on gasoline too. The big compromise is some cargo space, cargo capacity, and $9800. Not a huge payback at the claimed $2 per gallon advantage to NG.
I think you have a point on the turbo. I have read dozens of posts of people complaining that their F150 EcoBoost gets nowhere near the advertised 20 mpg. First problem is they aren't going 65 which is the rated speed. More importantly, there aren't being nice to it. The turbo engine allows good mileage from a smaller engine while out of boost. The turbo allows more power from the smaller engine with boost when needed such as towing. The problem with the EB F150 is that most of the people who drive them beat on it since it has so much power at low rpm they feel obliged to use it.
naperlou - not sure why the specs of the never-meant-to-be-practical Tesla roadster are cited after raising the issue of practicality of electric vehicles - seems the Leaf is the the more appropriate vehicle to cite with still impractical issues. However, since when do Americans buy cars on the basis of just practicality or just cost? My neighbor just fired-up his huge diesel powered truck to drive 2 miles to McDonalds. I have never seen anything in the back his truck - he is an office worker. My wife's molecules arrive at work in her Honda Fit the same as her friend's Mercedes. Both the truck and the Mercedes cost well over the 40,000 for the Leaf yet based on usage provide no practical advantage so some people may choose to pay extra for the Leaf - love that we all have the choice!
When I lived in Ohio the specs on the Leaf and other electrics would not have worked well with cold snowy winters, hills, and distances driven. Now I live in a medium size city in California where nothing is more than 35 miles away RT and it is flat - the Leaf would handle well over 90% of our trips with a second gasoline car for long trips. When I lived in Ohio I probably would never have fully appreciated how practical an electric car would be for some parts of the country and for some users.
To your last point on operating cost - I just carefully calculated this based on our (high) electric rates and our (even higher) $4.15 CA gas prices. The Leaf would cost us 2 cents per mile compared to 13 cents for the Honda Fit. Would the wife and I ever save this back? No way, we do not drive enough miles, but hey, instead of buying the impractical Merc or the big truck we are looking at the new (impractical) electric Fords because this interests us.
Before I get rants back about subsidies - yea, agree, but get rid of the oil subsidies first - including military expenses to keep the gulf safe for our oil. companies.
We may need to agree to disagree. You appear to have a particular type of EV and usage in mind that does not make sense to people who operate EVs on a daily basis, but with your ideas of what you consider that an EV should be able to do then I can see that you claim that they are not practical, but I am afraid that it has more to do with your narrow requirements than with the EVs. Mind you - most EVs are built for a particular task and do that very well. You may not immediately recognise many of them as EVs but they are - from trains to elevators; golfcarts to pallet jacks and hundreds of thousands other vehicles.
I agree that we were talking about technology for freeway capable vehicles and also there EVs can be quite practical, if you accept that they have a particular purpose and perform it well.
If you talk about Tesla Roadster - yes, that is a sports car, a toy if you like. Almost every roadster is just that, so why not the Tesla? Thousands of people thought it was worth its price and millions were wishing they could afford one. Todays most popular EV seems to be the Leaf. One very well executed family sedan that brings a lot of value and luxury with it. Many thousands have voted with their wallet and I see more Leafs driving around each day.
Personally I am not so into the depreciation of a new vehicle, which is always a bad proposition whether ICE or EV, so I just recently bought an EV (Ford Ranger Pickup) with new batteries for 4 grand. If I just drive that EV for 20k miles then I have earned back the purchase price of the entire truck in just the displaced cost of gas and have even chipped in some for the approx $500 cost of electricity over those 2 years of driving.
The Ford Ranger will likely give me no more than 60 miles of range and I am perfectly fine with that. I had an EV truck before (S10) and it had about the same range, I used it to commute daily, run errands, cruise around town and haul heavy loads. So, it did what every other truck does - I just had to plan the trips I make enough in advance to utilize the available range or select a different vehicle for any long trips.
I see you make claims about the Tesla battery that died - that was a single occurrence and caused by neglect. Surely you are not judging and entire class of vehicles by such a fluke - that would make your position very suspect. Tell me which EVs that you have driven that give you the opinion that they are not practical? I often found my self in the vehicle of a friend, because they insisted that I should drive theirs so that they got to drive my EV. For me the EV is very practical. What comes to mind is claimed to be a Chinese saying: "The man saying it cannot be done should not stand in the way of the man doing it."
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.
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.
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.
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.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.