Nissan Motor Co has introduced a new type of gasoline engine that may make some of today’s advanced diesel engines obsolete.
Nissan provides that the engine uses variable compression technology, which allows it at any given moment to choose an optimal compression ratio for combustion.
The tech gives the new engine the performance of turbo-charged gasoline engines while matching the power and fuel economy of today’s diesel and hybrid cars – a level of performance and efficiency the conventional gasoline engine has so far struggled to achieve.
“Diesel engine is a hot topic globally. We believe this new engine of ours is an ultimate gasoline engine that could over time replace the diesel engine of today,” Kinichi Tanuma, a senior Nissan engineer who leads product development for the premium Infiniti brand, told Reuters.
“Everyone’s been working on variable compression and other technologies to significantly improve gasoline engine fuel economy – at least for the last 20 years or so,” said James Chao, Asia-Pacific managing director at consultant IHS.
“Increasing the fuel efficiency of internal combustion engines is critical to automakers. Not all consumers will accept a battery electric vehicle solution. But significant challenges remain, such as increased complexity and cost, as well as potential vibration issues.”
The Variable Compression-Turbo (VC-T), is expected to be officially launched at next month’s Paris motor show, will initially be showcased in an Infiniti car to be unveiled next year.
According to Nissan, the turbo-charged, 2-liter, four-cylinder VC-T engine averages 27 percent better fuel economy than the 3.5-liter V6 engine it replaces, with comparable power and torque. Nissan says the new engine matches the diesel engine in torque – the amount of thrust that helps determine the car’s acceleration. The engine is also cheaper than today’s advanced turbo-charged diesel engines.
Nissan further provides that the new VC-T engine can choose an optimal compression ratio variably between 8:1 and 14:1. That compares with mainstream production gasoline engines that run at compression ratios of 8:1 to 10:1. Exotic sports cars and racing cars run at 12:1 or more.
“We think the VC-T engine could replace or become an alternative to some of today’s advanced diesel engines,” Tanuma said.