California ARB Staff Proposes Nearly Tripling Early Action Measures for GHG Reduction
Rolling Road Wind Tunnel To Improve Aerodynamics of Class 8 Trucks

Lotus Engineering and Siemens VDO Collaborate on Lower CO2 Gasoline Engine

Lotus Engineering and Siemens VDO are collaborating on a research and development program to reduce the CO2 emissions of future gasoline vehicles. In advance of the full unveiling of the Low CO2 engine in a demonstrator vehicle towards the end of the year, the final cylinder head design with a number of integrated technologies will be featured at the Siemens VDO exhibit at the IAA International Motor Show in Frankfurt in September.

The Low CO2 exhibit will showcase key features from a newly-designed 1.5-liter, pressure charged, three-cylinder downsized hybrid engine. The display will include Lotus’ integrated exhaust manifold design and its cam profile switching system, and will also feature Siemens VDO’s new high pressure fuel pump and centrally-mounted gasoline injectors.

The primary objectives of the Low CO2 project are to deliver greatly reduced emissions while maintaining an engaging driving experience from an affordable set of technologies. The solution employs an integrated set of powertrain systems within a low mass, downsized overall package.

Ultimately, the technology and know-how will be used by both partners to support vehicle manufacturers’ efforts to reduce fleet average CO2 emissions in next generation products.

Lotus Engineering is contributing its powertrain design, downsizing and systems integration expertise along with a number of advanced technologies. Siemens VDO is supplying its experience in powertrain management and control systems and a number of new technologies.

Earlier this year, Lotus Engineering is unveiled the ‘EVE Hybrid’ (Efficient, Viable, Environmental) technology demonstrator at the 77th Geneva International Motor Show. Developed for, and in close R & D engineering cooperation with its shareholder Malaysian automaker Proton Holdings Bhd, it showcases how OEMs can introduce lower-emissions variants to existing model ranges that currently only offer conventional gasoline and diesel powertrains. (Earlier post.)

The hybrid development team at Siemens VDO in 2006 unveiled a full hybrid vehicle as a demonstration of its Hybrid Tool Box—a portfolio of hybrid components including high- and low-voltage motor inverters, electric motors and vehicle control algorithms and integration capabilities.

Simulations on the prototype—based on a Mercedes C230 K Sport Coupé show improvements in fuel economy of 30% to 38%, depending on driving strategy. The hybrid functionality includes stop/start, regenerative braking, pure electric drive, gear shifting optimized to electric drive and regeneration and operating mode shift. (Earlier post.)



Yup, notwithstanding the objections found on GCC, efficient car engines for the next few years will be all about the twos and the threes.

These are excitin' times in the development of electric drive cars. This article is another example of where we are headed and how we will get there. Unless there is some other disruptive technology not yet known, The path looks like a mixture of gasoline ICE, diesel ICE, gasoline HEV, diesel HEV, BEV, FCV. and, as batteries become economical enough and developed for longer ranges for the mass market, we will move further toward the pure BEV. Dot.Com was the big thing of the 90s and Real Estate was the big thing of the early 2000s; Now electric cars and alternative energy is the next big thing.


And yet, the likes of Toyota seem very, very cautious with respect to PHEVs, much less pure EVs. I wonder whether or not Toyota sees real progress on PHEVs as the beginning of the end of the ICE. I still wonder whether the big auto companies like Toyota have secretly concluded that a true revolution beyond just the hybrid would require them to write off billions and billions of dollars that they have put into the EV. There is still this issue. A pure EV would be relatively maintenance free, a bane to after market profits.

I don't know, but all this tinkering with the ICE just seems like an attempt to delay the inevitable.

But then, there's the battery issue, which provides the counterargument that EVs will never be fully practical or economical regardless of how much money and ingenuity we invest in them.


Correction: Above,I was referring to the billions of dollars being written off that has been put into the ICE and all its variants.

Rafael Seidl

@JC -

don't count out regular four-bangers just yet. They doesn't need inertial compensation, so the money can be spent on other fuel efficiency technologies such a variable valve trains, GDI or HCCI combustion. Premium I4 turbo mills with balancing shafts can replace V6s. Turbo sixes can replace V8s. So yes, the trend in Europe is definitely toward as little displacement as necessary. Downsizing and downspeeding haven't caught on in the US yet, because fuel is much cheaper and vehicle license fees are not based on engine displacement.

There will be a market for subcompacts with advanced two- and three-cylinder designs. In Japan, kei cars command a sizable share of the market because for anything bigger, you need to prove you own or rent a parking spot. Another application are two-seater commute/errand vehicles narrow enough to split lanes in heavy traffic and make do with half the parking space. However, such vehicles need a very low center of gravity or else lean into corners. This makes them quite different from regular cars.

However, the bulk of the new crop of two- and three-cylinder engines will be conventional, to keep the cost down. Joe Average living in one of the rapidly emerging economies can barely afford a car at all, let alone a fancy one. The situation is somewhat analogous to that in Europe during the 50s and 60s, though today's technology is obviously a lot more advanced.



first off let me say that you are obviously an intelligent person and seem to me like another mechanical engineer, and i always look forward to your well-written and informative posts.
question for you though when you say 4-cyl "don't need inertial compensation", it seems like you are talking about balance shafts for vibration. don't 4-cyl actually require double balance shafts because of the lack of symmetry as opposed to v6, v8? please explain this to me further.


4 cylinders only need balance shaft(s) when displacement is over 2L. This is because of the 2nd order vibration (couple)caused by the large stroke of the crankshaft needed to make the engine have such a large displacement. Usually they can get away without them when they are under 2L.

Rafael Seidl

@Marc -

what reed said. Engines below ~2L displacement are very common all over the world - except in the guzzle-go-lucky US.



There are some 4 cylinder engines above 2 liters w/o balance shafts; for example, the Toyota 22R in Tacomas is 2.4l; but, their 2.7l do use a balance shaft. The 22R drive line is designed for high torque at low rpm and the large five main bearings make the low end almost bullet proof and hold it together at high rpm vibration levels.


What is happening right now is that Volkswagen's 1.4-liter I-4 TwinCharger engine could be a preview of powerful engines that don't need big engine displacements, which means lower fuel consumption to start with. It's already available in Europe on the VW Golf and VW Bora (as the Jetta is known in Europe) models, and will soon be one of the engine choices on the VW Tiguan "crossover" SUV.

I wouldn't be surprised that VW may use the 1.4 TSI engine on its US market cars within the next few years.

Harvey D

Horses and buggies coexisted with ICE vehicles for over 50 years. The same thing could be said of railroad and ship steam engines.

It would be fair to assume that ICE vehicles will coexist with BEVs for 5 decades or more.

It seems that ICE improvements are still justified.

The comments to this entry are closed.