|A schematic of the Rotoblock design. Click to enlarge.|
Brazilian automotive company OBVIO! has signed a development and license agreement with Rotoblock Corporation for the development and incorporation of a more compact Oscillating Piston Engine—a toroidal internal combustion engine (earlier post)—into the OBVIO! 828, 012 and subsequent models.
OBVIO! has agreed to license Rotoblock’s technology for the Oscillating Piston Engine (OPE) in exchange for US$5 million, paid through a royalty agreement on each unit sold. Rotoblock would receive additional royalties after terms of the initial agreement have been met.
OBVIO! is in the process of manufacturing two microcars powered by traditional internal combustion engines and the company is interested in the OPE’s ability to be incorporated into an ethanol hybrid drive train projected for production. (Earlier post.)
Rotoblock constructed the current second generation OPE as a test model and will need joint efforts with OBVIO! to develop a more compact engine suitable for hybrid applications.
The third generation OPE would be lightweight and compact enough for hybrid applications. Its small size opens the engine compartment to the availability of additional battery space. We think the result will be a microsports car with a lot of muscle and the fact that the OPE can also use ethanol makes the engine the ideal candidate.—OBVIO! President Ricardo Machado
A toroidal engine is one in which the power pistons rotate in a perfectly circular chamber with the drive shaft at the geometric center. (A torus is the doughnut-shaped surface of revolution generated by revolving a circle about an axis coplanar with the circle.)
One of the theoretical benefits of the design is a dramatic increase in power-to-weight ratio compared to a conventional reciprocating piston engine. The Rotoblock engine fires 16 times on one revolution of the crankshaft, compared to a V-8’s four times per crankshaft revolution, for example.
OBVIO! is also developing all-electric versions of its 828 and 012 models. (Earlier post.)