Major automotive parts supplier, Delphi, is working on new technology that could improve the fuel economy of standard gasoline engines by 50 percent.
Currently Delphi is running a test engine that is similar to a diesel engine, but runs on gasoline. The single-piston test engine with the new tech was demonstrated under a wide range of operating conditions and early fuel economy figures show that the engine could be far more efficient than even diesel engines. The estimates were based on simulations on how an average, mid-sized vehicle would perform with a multi-cylinder variant of the powerplant.
Delphi is hoping that this technology, which combines the best qualities of diesel and standard gasoline engines, will make an affordable alternative to the much more expensive hybrid and electric vehicles on the market today. Its approach is using a gasoline-direct-injection compression ignition system, taking advantage of the advanced fuel injection, air intake and exhaust controls modern engines have.
Engineering manager of advanced powertrain technology at Delphi Powertrain, Mark Sellnau, also said the engine could be paired with a battery back and electric motor to further improve fuel efficiency, though the costs may not be worth it. The major question is whether or not automakers will adopt the technology rather than investing into a hybrid or electric powertrain of its own.
[Source: MIT Technology Review]