Research on revolutionary combustion technology: Contemplating the limits of innovation

Nissan's variable compression ratio technology and Volkswagen's latest 1.4L TDI engine



SIP challenge
(* SIP challenge "Innovative combustion technology": Combustion visualized with laser beams)

  Research on combustion engines will go on through 2050. According to a prediction by the International Energy Agency, the percentage of internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs) in global vehicle sales will drop to 55% in 2050. However, automakers around the world are competing fiercely to improve the fuel efficiency of ICEVs. Toyota Motor Corporation is investigating all possibilities for these engines in its development processes. Honda Motor Co., Ltd. is pursuing engine development together with technologies for downsizing, plug-in hybrid vehicles, and electrification. Infiniti, a brand of Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., is developing a turbocharger with variable compression ratio technology (VC-Turbo). Mazda Motor Corporation is advocating right-sizing in its pursuit of ICEV development under a slogan of right sizing.

  In Japan, AICE (The Research association of Automotive Internal Combustion Engines) was formed based on the model of a European consortium. AICE aims to achieve a thermal efficiency of over 50% for gasoline and diesel engines through cooperation between industry, universities, and the government. In Europe, Real Driving Emissions (RDE) testing is scheduled to begin in 2017. Volkswagen AG, the General Motors Group company Adam Opel AG, and other OEMs announced that the displacement of their engines will be increased to improve exhaust gas and fuel economy during actual driving. Meanwhile, Daimler AG unveiled its intention to focus on Connectivity-Autonomous-S hared-Electric (CASE) technology at the 2016 Paris Motor Show and has started strategically shifting its emphasis to the development of electric vehicles. Volkswagen management has stated its intention of concentrating the company's efforts on developing battery electric vehicles (BEVs). European OEMs will accelerate the development of BEVs at the expense of fuel cell vehicles (FCVs). This report will describe AICE's achievements, Nissan Infiniti's VC-Turbo technology, and Volkswagen's latest downsized engine.

Note) *SIP:Cross-ministerial Strategic Innovation Promotion Program
In June 2016, an open lab (explanation of research and laboratory tour) was conducted at Keio University's SIP engine laboratory in Ono Sokki's Technical Center).

Related Reports:

Automotive technology on the road to 2050: ICEV, electrification, PHV, FCV, weight reduction, and ADAS (Oct. 2016)
Volkswagen Passat teardown (1): 1.4L turbo-gasoline engine (Oct. 2016)
Evolution of the internal combustion engine (Feb. 2016)

JSAE Exposition 2015:
Envisioning future of powertrains for passenger cars (1) Trends in Japan (Jun. 2016)
Envisioning future of powertrains for passenger cars (2) Trends in Europe (Jun. 2016)

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