Honda is Working on an Engine with Different-Sized Cylinders

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Honda has filed an interesting patent that could reveal what it is working on for its next generation of engines.

Found on Japan’s patent office database, it appears that Honda is working on a solution that would vary the stroke of each cylinder in an engine, allowing each cylinder to have a different displacement. For example, if you take a current Honda 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine where each cylinder has 500cc of displacement, you can only vary the displacement in four different ways, either 500cc, 1000cc, 1500cc or 2000cc depending on how many cylinders are firing.

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The new technology could offer more than four different total displacements working at the same time, with a smaller gap between each of them. Given four cylinders of varying sizes, there are a total of 15 different combinations of one-to-four cylinders firing. Yes, that essentially means an engine could have 15 different displacements working at a time.

Interestingly enough, the patent describes how the technology would work on inline- two, three and four-cylinder engines as well as a V6. Presumably, this type of setup would help increase fuel efficiency, but Honda didn’t disclose what the purpose was. Got any ideas? Let us know in the comments.

Discuss this story on our Honda Forum

  • Transpower

    Pumping losses are lower at higher throttle, so the displacement could be adjusted so that the throttle is kept quite high regardless of the horsepower requirement.

  • Thanks for posting this interesting concept from Honda, Jason.

    Usually for a patent to be granted, a purpose has to be declared as well as a preferred embodiment. Would like to read the claims to know exactly what is covered. Curious if they have a U.S. patent or whether there is an English translation of this Japanese patent.

    Dale Murrish, GM Global Propulsion Systems Cranktrain Analysis

  • Interestingly enough, the patent describes how the technology would work on inline- two, three and four-cylinder engines as well as a V6. Presumably, this type of setup would help increase fuel efficiency, but Honda didn’t disclose what the purpose was. Got any ideas? Let us know in the comments.