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Ricardo Developing New Gasoline Engine Concept with Potential 30% Improvement in Fuel Economy

Technology consultant and provider Ricardo is leading a consortium of automotive partners in a £1.9 million ($3.62 million) advanced research program to develop a new gasoline engine concept that may deliver up to 30% improvements in fuel consumption and reduced CO2 emissions as well as class-leading performance and economy.

Ricardo, a leading independent technology provider and strategic consultant to the world’s automotive industries, worked with Ford on creating the diesel hybrid HyTrans van. (Earlier post)


The 2/4SIGHT concept (diagram at right) uses a direct-injection gasoline combustion system in which the design of intake and exhaust ports, combined with appropriate changes in fuel injection, ignition and valve timing, enable operation both in two-stroke and four-stroke modes. By matching the control strategy to make best use of the 2/4SIGHT engine’s capabilities, the project indicated that the concept had the potential to deliver:

  • Up to 30% improvement in fuel consumption and concomitant reduced CO2 emissions

  • The potential for aggressive engine downsizing—using a smaller, lighter engine operating at higher specific load

  • Compliance with Euro 4 emissions standards and the potential to adapt to meet future standards as applied to conventional gasoline engines

  • Similar economy and production costs to a conventional diesel engine>

  • Highly attractive driving characteristics, with class leading torque delivery

The 2/4SIGHT research and development consortium includes Ricardo, DENSO, Ma 2T4, the University of Brighton and Brunel University, as well as some unnamed automotive manufacturers. The UK Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is providing funding support.

The research engine created by this phase of the project will be a 2.0-liter V6 targeted at levels of performance and driveability more usually associated with 3–4 liter V8 gasoline engines.

In addition to this, the project will study in some detail the potential cost/benefit of a much smaller 1.0 liter 2/4SIGHT engine for use in mid-sized family cars as a highly efficient replacement for a conventional 1.8–2.0 liter gasoline engine.

Ricardo’s role in the 2/4SIGHT will be leadership and co-ordination of the project, design and development of the novel engine and integration of its systems. DENSO will develop and supply the direct fuel injection and advanced engine control systems. Ma 2T4 will contribute its knowledge of valve train switching technology. The University of Brighton will carry out investigative engine testing and combustion and cooling system analysis, and Brunel University will carry out transient engine testing and development. Work on this program is expected to last 30 months.



Your valve and head design are still antique. the current valve technologie is over 100 years old. If you would like to see the latest head, valve, and camshaft design let me know?

Marvin McConoughey

Yes, I would like to see the latest head, valve, and camshaft design. The shift away from bucket tappets to pivoting arms between camshafts and vales is interesting. Is the primary reason fuel economy?

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