New Gas Engine Technologies
It’s easy for people to believe that the gasoline engine has passed all the talk about hybrid, electric, and alternative fuel vehicles. The internal combustion engine can look dated when you have cars that run on hydrogen and plug into the wall.
The fact is that a gasoline engine powers most cars sold in America. For the foreseeable future, gasoline engines will continue to dominate the automotive market. There are many reasons why car makers use gasoline engines. They are well-known, people know them, the infrastructure supports them, and they work well with American car ownership.
However, gasoline engines are not without their faults. They pollute, and they are dependent on gasoline, making American drivers vulnerable to fluctuations in fuel prices. Although the engine in your car has many similarities with those in the early cars, engine technology innovations have enabled carmakers to eliminate some of the problems associated with gasoline engines. People can now drive the cars they want while saving money on gasoline and increasing power efficiency.
Although it may seem small to make a difference in fuel economy, most cars still use gasoline engines. Electric and hybrid cars make up only 2% of all cars currently on the roads. The other 98 per cent is more efficient, saving money, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and reducing pollution. New cars are also affordable and attractive to all buyers.
- Variable Valve Timing and Lift
- Cylinder Deactivation
- Direct Fuel Injection
- Light-footed drivers
Variable Valve Timing and Lift
The variable timing and lift are two ways car manufacturers update gasoline engines. This will help you understand the basic workings of an engine.
The valves in an engine open and close to control the flow of air and fuel mixture into the engine. The vales of most gasoline engines open and close simultaneously, regardless of the engine’s performance. Speed is the measure of how hard an engine works. Engine speed does not measure how fast a car moves down the road. Engine speed is the speed at which the crankshaft of an engine rotates. The engine’s pistons are responsible for this rotation. They move faster, which means that the engine’s speed is higher, and the engine works harder.
The engine can be controlled to get just the right amount of fuel and air by changing the distance and time the valves are opened. Variable valve timing and lift can make gasoline engines about five per cent more efficient. Source: U.S. Department of Energy
The same principle applies to cylinder deactivation as variable valve timing, lift and timing: An engine requires different fuel amounts for different types of work.
Consider a V-8 engine as an example. Eight cylinders make up a V-8 engine. All eight cylinders of a V-8 engine are activated when running. They start burning fuel and air, and all eight of them work. V-8-powered engines are found in most cars, trucks, and SUVs. The engine’s number of cylinders determines how powerful it is. V-8 engines are often found in heavy-duty trucks or sports cars. V-8 engines are popular because they can haul heavy loads and go fast. However, V-8 engines are not for everyone.
Cylinder deactivation is a solution. Cylinder activation turns off a few of the engine’s cylinders when they aren’t needed. Some cylinders will not be used if a vehicle or truck moves at a constant speed and does not increase. They don’t get any gas because they’re not in use. This saves fuel. V-8-powered vehicles and trucks have used cylinder deactivation technology for the last few years. However, some car manufacturers are now adding it to their six-cylinder engines. Cylinder deactivation technology is estimated to improve engine efficiency by 7.5% [source: U.S. Department of Energy
Direct Fuel Injection
A modification to the fuel’s path into the combustion chamber is another way gasoline engines can be improved. A gasoline engine uses fuel and air to ignite the combustion chamber. Researchers have discovered that they can ignite fuel by heating and pressurizing it before being injected into the combustion chamber. This is similar to how a diesel engine works. This makes the engine burn cleaner and more efficient while reducing fuel consumption.
The compression ratio for a normal gasoline engine is about 10 to 1. This technology is used in a Mazda engine currently available in Japan. It has a compression ratio of 14 to 1. According to the Mazda Demio, it gets 70 miles per gallon (29.8 km per litre).
An increased compression ratio can lead to engine knock and premature fuel ignition. Direct injection systems inject a fine mist directly into the cylinder to prevent this (usually, fuel and air are mixed in the port before entering the system). This helps to keep the engine’s temperature down and reduces knock. Direct fuel injection can increase engine efficiency by up to 12 per cent [source U.S. Department of Energy
It might seem odd to discuss turbochargers in terms of improving fuel economy. They are often associated with high-performance cars, not known for their fuel economy.
Turbochargers use gasses from your car’s exhaust. They allow for more compressed air to enter the cylinder. This allows for higher compressions (like direct fuel injection) and thus more efficient combustion. A turbocharger is a direct injection device for the air component of an engine’s fuel/air mixture.
Turbocharging performance cars can generate more power but putting them on smaller engines allows them to do the same work as larger engines. This saves fuel. Ford’s F-150 trucks received a turbocharged V-6 motor in 2011. They are called EcoBoost engines and prove that you don’t need a V-8 to power a pickup. The EcoBoost engine in the 2011 F-150 produces 365 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. It can also tow up to 11,300 lbs (5,126 kg). The base V-8 of the F-150 produces 360 horsepower and 380 pounds-feet torque. The F-150’s EcoBoost V-6 produces more power and has a better fuel economy. The EPA claims that it can get 16/22 miles per gallon in two-wheel drive (6.8/9.4 km per litre), city/highway. While the base V-8 can go 15/21 miles per gallon, the city/highway can go 6.4/8.9 km per litre.
It’s not just the technology determining how much gas an engine consumes. It is how it is driven. It’s really simple: If you accelerate slowly, you will use more gas. Fuel economy estimates are based on the fact that mileage can vary.
Car companies are working with drivers to improve their driving skills. The engine will operate at its best efficiency levels if the driver lets it know when they are driving efficiently. The dashboard lights of the Kia Forte or the Honda Odyssey indicate when they are being driven efficiently. They’re not the only carmakers that have similar indicators for driver efficiency. Manufacturers hope drivers will view keeping efficiency low as a game and increase their overall efficiency, decreasing fuel consumption.
Eco mode is another feature found in many new cars. Although eco modes are already common in hybrid cars, automakers have added them to gasoline-only vehicles. The button that activates eco mode in most cars is pushed. This changes the transmission shifting characteristics so that the engine runs at lower speeds. The engine doesn’t work as hard and therefore uses less fuel. Even though the eco mode isn’t ideal for all driving situations (e.g., it can cause lag on the highway), it can be useful for driving around town.