Christian Von Koenigsegg is to Sweden what Elon Musk is to Silicon Valley — a bold, daring entrepreneur who sees what others do not. His company manufacturers some of the most desirable high performance automobiles on the planet, but few here will ever get to drive one. They are built in limited numbers and sell for prices that will startle your heart.
But Christian Koenigsegg is about more than building supercars. He and his engineering team are constantly thinking about how to make better automobiles. Where Tesla focuses on electric power, Koenigsegg dreams of improvements to the internal combustion engine. He has created a new stand alone business called FreeValve. It has developed technology that completely eliminates the normal valvetrain of a combustion engine. Gone are the camshafts, timing chains, sprockets, tappets, cam followers, and valve springs that have been part of 4 stroke engine design since Hector was a pup.
Rather than have me interpret what the company says about its FreeValve system, here is the explanation direct from the Koenigsegg website:
The Pneumatic-Hydraulic-Electric-Actuator at the heart of FreeValve technology replaces traditional camshaft technology and allows the engine management system to have full control over each individual valve. Where camshaft technology has always been limited to the relationship between the valves and the camshaft position, FreeValve allows independent control over every valve’s precise opening/closing position and timing throughout the whole combustion cycle. The result is a disruptive technology that allows an unprecedented degree of control – the kind of freedom that engine designers could previously only dream about.
With the Koenigsegg PHEA system, the engine management computer can vary valve timing for each individual valve according to the demand on the engine every time it opens and closes. That gives engineers the ability to control the power and emissions produced more precisely than was ever possible previously.
Koenigsegg has forged a business relationship with Chinese car company Qoros. Together, they presented a concept car based on the Qoros 3 hatchback using a FreeValve camless engine at the Beijing Auto Show this week. Sharp eyed readers will notice the engine, cleverly called QAMFREE, has a valvetrain that is a little taller than usual. That’s because the pneumatic, hydraulic, electric valve actuators sit on top of the valve stems, which raises the height of the complete valvetrains a few centimeters.
The concept car is expected to lead the way to full production of cars equipped with the FreeValve system. As automakers struggle to reduce emissions and improve fuel economy, the Koenigsegg PHEA technology may play a vital role.
Photo credit: FreeValve AB