Freevalve

Koenigsegg recently debuted their One:1 at the 2014 Geneva Auto Show. It is their latest iteration of their Agera platform. The name derives from the fact that the car produces 1 megawatt (1,341 hp) and weights 1,360 kg and thus yielding a 1:1 power to weight ratio. It is an impressive feat of engineering but unattainable for the 99.99% of the population. Even with money, the six examples to be produced are already spoken for.

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However, Koenigsegg is researching a technology that will hopefully make it into the mainstream within the next few years. It is something that they call Freevalve. At the heart of the car engine is the combustion cycle, which is regulated by the camshaft. The camshaft has fixed lobe profiles that closes and opens the valves in relationship to the crankshaft. Freevalve replaces this system with pneumatic actuators. This dramatically changes the behavior of the engine. Rather than a curve profile, the pneumatic system provides an instantaneous on/off (think of a sinusoidal vs a square wave). Without the restriction of the camshaft, the valve timing can vary based on load conditions and controlled on an individual cylinder basis.

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The results are impressive. “If applied to a current engine, it will provide 30 percent more power and torque, and up to 50 percent better economy. It’s also lower and smaller than an engine with a camshaft. So, if built from scratch, a smaller displacement engine can have the power and efficiency to compete with larger engines.” Current hybrid and electric vehicles have the drawbacks of lacking performance (unless it’s a Tesla or a million-dollar supercar like the Porsche 919 and McLaren P1), added weight and cost. Should Tesla be worried? Maybe. This technology will surely extend the relevance of the combustion engine. I’m still a gasoline guy so I’m cheering for this.

Source: Jalopnik, Freevalve

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