Wednesday, March 12, 2008

So Many Engines, So Little Time

As an extension of yesterday's post on engines, I wanted to share some of the other options we're researching. These range from current production car diesel engines to newly developed engine systems that can support multiple fuels.

In addition to the aforementioned Mercedes-Benz Bluetec V6, other diesel engines available (or soon to be) for light trucks and SUV's include the Caterpillar/Ford V6 3.0L HSDI, GM V8 4.5L DURAMAX, and the CUMMINS V6 4.2L/V8 5.6L. All of these engines (and more) were recently cataloged in the January 2008 Issue of Diesel Power Magazine in an article titled, "The New Diesels."

This article gives a very detailed description on performance specs of each engine, the applications, and some history on each. We will be following the development and availability of such "traditional diesel" engines during our development process. Alternatively, we will stick to our core values of being open minded and innovative in our approach to developing a new vehicle and a new car company as a whole and simultaneously continue research on alternative power sources. Two such power sources that have come to our attention are the Kiss Engineering KV-331, fuel injected 5.4L opposed 8 cylinder IC engine, and the Scuderi Air Hybrid Engine.

The KV-331 is a lightweight (only 215 lbs for an 8 cylinder!!) engine that can support alternate fuels like propane, natural gas, or diesel. It is also ready to accept such power add-ons as superchargers or turbos, and it's already putting out 330 hp stock!

Courtesy of Kiss Engineering

As for the Scuderi engine, I've mentioned that in a previous blog post, but to quickly recap, it's a technology using a split cycle where there are two cylinders: one for the compression stroke, and one for the power stroke. The compression cylinder can use air from a storage tank linked to the cylinders, which creates the same effect as using a supercharger. This system increases efficiency to 40% and also lowers the toxic emissions generated by up to 80%. Independent tests show it also has higher power, torque, and efficiency ratings under full load than standard turbocharged engines.

You may be wondering why we haven't already just settled on one of these (or other) newer technologies if our goal is to deliver a game changing vehicle that offers today's consumer something they haven't been offered already and something that isn't currently available and started our research with the diesel technology.

In order to maintain another one of our "mission critical" ideals of getting to market quickly, it may be our best option to limit unknowns (and keep cost low) for the first prototype and use the diesel, then transition to newer technology. However, we also plan to be innovative, so utilizing one of these new technologies is a very viable option for the prototype or for the next vehicle in the very near future.

Stay tuned for more details. In the meantime, take a look at this video explaining how the Scuderi engine works.

No comments: