Nissan Re-Invents The Internal Combustion Engine – Again

Hold your fire, people. Yes, this is a story about a new kind of internal combustion engine. Yes, we’re all in favor of zero emissions vehicles. Yes, internal combustion is so last century. But settle down out there. In all likelihood, the infernal combustion engine will be with us for a while yet as we transition to a sustainable economy.

Nissan variable compression engine

It says it has invented a new kind of gasoline engine, one that can adjust its compression rating moment by moment. That means it can always operate most efficiently, whatever demands are made upon it. Need more power? The engine supplies it. Need better fuel economy? The engine can do that, too.

Nissan says its new VC-T engine has the power of a turbo and the fuel economy of a diesel. In fact, it expects it to replace diesels completely in most applications. The VC-T engine can choose a compression ratio between 8:1 and 14:1.

“The 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 (advanced) diesel engine of today,” says Kinichi Tanuma, a senior Nissan engineer in charge of development for the Infiniti brand.

The turbo 2.0-liter, four-cylinder VC-T engine averages 27 percent better fuel economy than the 3.5-liter V-6 engine it replaces with comparable power and torque. It is expected to debut at the Paris auto show next month in a new Infiniti model that will come to market next year. It will then spread to other Nissan models and may find its way into selected Renault offerings.

The VC-T is cheaper to manufacture and also will meet or exceed tougher emissions rules in major global markets. The Nissan V-6 engine has been one of the sweetest power plants available for decades. If the VC-T can exceed that beauty in terms of power and refinement, that will be quite an accomplishment.

Improvements to the venerable internal combustion engine are always being touted. Regular Gas2 reader Jeff B0nner has an idea for an innovative 5 cycle engine that features a variation on the variable compression theme.  The good news in all this is that the VC-T engine may ultimately get paired with a hybrid electric power train. That could be good news for all of us.

Source: Automotive News



Steve Hanley

Closely following the transition from internal combustion to electricity. Whether it's cars, trucks, ships, or airplanes, sustainability is the key. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.