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In a decade from now, cars will look totally different from how they appear right now.
A lot of things would change, from the body architecture to the engine architecture, and then the interior designs.
Several techs are currently disrupting the auto world, and they are equally paving the way for more trailblazing techs to come.
One of the most places to pay attention in a car is the engine – it is the engine of a car that determines the performance.
There has been news regarding how EVs would kick out ICEs in the nearest future, but is this obtainable?
Owing to that EVs are highly-priced while ICEs are getting better, integrating hi-tech features, yet available at lower prices, how then can EVs take over?
Well, this article focuses on car engine technology; what would be the future hi-tech engine to be found in cars, and how would those techs affect the way we drive?
What becomes of autonomous vehicles, and what engine would power them? These questions and much more similar ones are all answered in this article. Are you ready? Let’s go!
Future Car Engine Technology That’d Transform Upcoming Vehicles
When Internal Combustion Engines launched, it seemed they were the future, and this engine powers virtually all vehicles you see on the road today; however, except EVs.
There have been issues and concerns regarding the eco-friendliness of ICEs; thus, automakers are attempting to replace them with safer car engines that would offer even more efficiency and power.
Think about CAFÉ (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards; some engineers don’t see this as a perfect tech.
Hence, a lot of them have deepened their research to come up with safer, lighter, and more efficient engines to power future rides.
Flex Fuel Engines
Ever heard of Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFVs), also known as Double Fuel Vehicles? They are simply cars that can be propelled with regular gasoline or an ethanol blend.
FFVs come with an internal combustion engine capable of operating on gasoline and Ethanol, which blends up to 85%.
These vehicles are also referred to as E85 vehicles – the E represents Ethanol, and the 85% signifies the amount of Ethanol present in the fuel.
However, most FFVs seen today are trucks and big vehicles that are known to utilize fuel massively.
Reports have it that Bentley Motors is working to make all its cars Flex Fuel-capable, and this starts with its Continental SuperSports model.
Higher Compression Ratios
It is confirmed that a higher Compress Ratio (CR) is beneficial for car engines.
Basically, compression ratios range from 8:1 to 10:1, and this is the norm –but we talk of higher compression ratio; that’s about 12:1 to 14:1.
The compression ratio is the amount of fuel to the amount of air pushed into the combustion chamber.
So, when the ratio is higher than the norm, it means more fuel will be saved.
Simply put, a higher compression ratio will result in maximal combustion efficiency.
Here, the car will utilize less fuel for more power because the engine extracts more energy from the combustion process, thanks to thermal efficiency.
A higher compression ratio is one of the best ways to improve performance and fuel economy.
Also, reports tell that Mazda is testing its diesel and gasoline-powered vehicles with this car engine technology.
Currently, Mazda’s SKYACTIV-G gasoline engine uses 13:1 CR against 10:1 (the standard CR in North America).
The same SKYACTIV-G engine (Europe model) uses a 14:1 ratio.
However, a drawback on this car engine technology is the knocking sound heard when temperature and pressure in the combustion chamber go up too high, causing air and fuel mixture to ignite too early.
Mazda is reportedly working to make this tech much better on its future vehicles.
Not really an engine technology, but a worthy mention for the sake of EVs.
For electric vehicles, the era of electrochemical batteries is gradually fading away, as we would most definitely begin to see solid-state batteries.
Li-ion batteries are currently the standard for EVs; however, it has been confirmed that Li-ion batteries’ performance is limited due to the liquid (gel) that sits between the electrolytes and electrodes.
Researchers have discovered crystalline electrolyte materials capable of passing electrons much faster and won’t degrade – this is expected to be used in future car batteries to improve efficiency and density while reducing the general cost of EVs.
Cylinders on Demand
The cylinder on Demand (CoD) tech is not new; Audi has been using this car engine tech for some time now.
However, a lot of things are about to change as per how this technology functions.
As seen on Audi vehicles, particularly, the S8 model, when it’s accelerating to 62MPH in less than 5 seconds, the car engages all the eight cylinders built into it.
However, after acceleration, the vehicle releases up to four (4) cylinders and keeps on with rest.
The resting cylinder will engage again when there’s too much workload on the engine. CoD technology allegedly saves up to 10% fuel when you speed.
Interestingly, Audio integrates an active noise control system and engine mounts to minimize the level of sound coming from the engine when the car drops or fires up, engaging all the built-in cylinders.
It is alleged that Direct Injection technology delivers more power and better fuel economy based on how it is applied.
Currently, most car engines are used right now combine fuel and air, and push them to the chamber, but with Direct Injection tech, fuel is pressurized and shot into the combustion chamber, close to the spark plug is liable to knock car engines.
However, Ford revitalized this tech to combine direct injection with turbocharging to utilize exhaust gases to boost performance.
Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI)
Researchers have continuously worked on several techs to land at a car engine with improved efficiency and reduced emissions for the sake of improved environmental safety.
Thus, certain new combustion strategies by researchers had Otto (gasoline engine) and diesel cycles mixed to come with effective results – HCCI.
HCCI – Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) means combustion mashup runs on gasoline, while heat is generated by compressed air to trigger fuel without a spark plug, as with diesel.
It is seen that HCCI car engines would improve fuel efficiency by 15% or even more.
Plus, this is without intricate and expensive exhaust after-treatment as with diesel.
There hasn’t been news about today’s car coming with HCCI engines; however, GM and Daimler have hinted that they’re consistently working on featuring this engine technology on future cars.
From the progress reports, this car engine technology might still take years to come.
Variable Valve Timing
VVT – Variable Valve Timing is one of the cutting-edge car engine technology used on most cars we see.
Different automakers call this tech by different names; for BMW, it is VANOS; for Mitsubishi, it is MIVEC, for Honda, it is VTEC.
However, the function is the same (adjusting the timing of valve lifts) on all vehicles that utilize the tech.
It is confirmed that VVT tech will improve engine performance, as well as promote fuel economy, and reduce emissions.
As complex as it may sound, VVT works by constantly adjusting valve control to match the conditions, and thus, providing more power and torque to the rev range.
This is a process believed to minimize emissions and reduce fuel consumption by at least 7%. VVT allegedly does not have any drawbacks at this time.
Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine and Fuel Cell
There have been conspiracies regarding the use of hydrogen to run automobiles.
More so, it is seen that hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are more economical than battery-electric counterparts.
Well, there are basically two types of hydrogen car engines – the fuel cell engine and the internal combustion engine.
The hydro fuel cell technology is what powers electric cars at the moment, and quite a several auto engineers are working on hydro ICEs to take over petrol ICEs that obviously power the most cars you will see various roads today.
Reports show that hydrogen ICEs will have the same engine layout as petrol engines – the only difference will be the use of hydrogen instead of petrol.
This has been recorded as a significant technology breakthrough by many sources as hydrogen appears cleaner and better than petrol.
Will a hydrogen internal combustion engine vehicle (HICEV) outperform a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle (EV)? We don’t know yet.
However, if HICEV is achieved, it will promote environmental cleanliness and safety because HICEVs promises zero emissions from the exhaust.
How to store hydrogen in stations (just as petrol) and make it available to everyone is one of the significant drawbacks to the actualization of this car engine technology. Hydrogen is practically immovable and challenging to store.
More interestingly, petrol and diesel contain carbon, but hydrogen doesn’t – this is one reason why hydrogen ICEs are being considered a replacement for petrol/diesel ICEs.
Well, quite an old tech – turbochargers were first seen in the 1970s sports cars. However, as time went by, automakers have seen turbochargers as a vital element for building highly efficient vehicles.
Turbocharging technology promises minimal fuel consumption and less emission from the exhaust pipe.
You will see this car engine technology on most cars, trucks, trains, aircraft, and some construction-equipment engines. So, what does turbocharging do?
A turbocharger compresses and passes more air-fuel mixture into the car engine cylinder(s) to supercharge the vehicle.
The process is triggered by a fan propelled by exhaust gases – and when air is compressed, the oxygen molecules compact, which can improve fuel efficiency and ICE efficiency.
Turbocharging is used for the Otto cycle and Diesel cycle ICEs.
An alternator is very important in an automobile – it is the driving force that recharges the battery in an automobile, whether it is a conventional car, truck, bike, and just about any auto that contains a battery.
Alternators work by revolving pulleys to generate power – they further convert generated rotational energy into battery charging energy.
Alternators are also used to power several electrical systems in a car once the engine is running. It is an important component in a car.
However, active alternators are seen as the next-gen alternators to power future cars.
With Mazda and BMW taking the first steps towards utilizing this technology, other top auto manufacturers are following suit.
Active alternators mean the clutch system will allow alternators to spin freely (without engine the car engine anymore) when the battery is fully charged.
This will relieve the car engine a bit and improve its efficiency. The performance of active alternators in different cars aren’t the same – automakers tend to achieve various purposes with each of their models; thus, they utilize quite different technologies and systems.
Cars to Run With LPG
It is now possible than cars can run petrol and LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) interchangeably.
There have been several conspiracies against this move, but yet, we still see “dual-fuel cars” – cars than can run utilize petrol and LPG.
This tech was introduced because researchers discovered that LPG more eco-friendly than petrol, and it’s also cheaper.
Some cars now come standard with LPG compatibility, while others require aftermarket tank installation coupled with engine modifications.
Reports have shown that LPG would be better for future car engines because it mitigates carbon generated during combustion. It is generally eco-friendly than petrol-diesel cars.
Most of these car engine technologies are in use at the moment, and they are all geared towards improving car engine efficiency, reducing fuel consumption, and emissions.
Standard ICEs have been the main thing for a very long time, and it’s time we switch to much safer technologies that are cost-effective.
Nevertheless, in the near future, many innovations will hit these technologies, and we will see totally new aspects of what they could do.
But for a while, check our blog regularly for detailed articles regarding cars and automobiles in general.
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