|The ChangAn CA18 FlexDI Concept Engine. Click to enlarge.|
ChangAn Auto, China’s fourth largest automotive manufacturer, is displaying a concept engine developed with Orbital at Auto China 2008 (the Beijing International Motor Show).
The CA18 FlexDI concept engine, fitted with Orbital’s FlexDI combustion and direct injection systems (earlier post), was commissioned by ChangAn, with design and assembly by Orbital in collaboration with ChangAn.
|The FlexDI combustion system. Click to enlarge.|
Orbital’s core technology—the Orbital Combustion Process (OCP)—uses air-assisted, low-pressure direct fuel injection rather than high-pressure injection to atomize the fuel charge. With OCP, fuel is first metered into an injector pre-chamber via a conventional automotive port injector (MPI), and then delivered into the combustion chamber with the assistance of air at pressure.
The air-assisted injector decouples the fuel metering and delivery events, thereby assisting the dynamic range of the injector, according to Orbital. The Orbital DI system creates a precisely-controlled, finely atomized fuel cloud allowing engines to run with greater fuel efficiently and with reduced emissions output.
The FlexDI system, introduced last October, enables engine manufactures to develop one spark-ignited engine family capable of handling different fuel types through changes to the fuel system. This opens up the potential for manufacturers to offer customers gasoline, ethanol, CNG, hydrogen and SI heavy-fuelled engine variants utilizing the same base engine design. FlexDI can also be configured for Bi-Fuel or Tri-Fuel operation.
The concept engine on display at Auto China 2008 incorporates a high-technology twin turbocharger design to enable very high levels of performance while maintaining a desirable flat torque curve across a wide speed range. The combination of engine down-sizing and the FlexDI combustion system can deliver significant fuel economy benefits and offers the potential to utilise both gasoline and other gaseous fuels in the same combustion chamber.
The concept engine is part of ChangAn’s advanced technology investigations, with the leading Chinese auto group continuing discussions with Orbital on a possible feasibility assessment of FlexDI technology with the objective of launching further joint engineering activities in 2008/09.
Chinese automotive manufacturers now account for approximately 15% of global automotive production, according to Orbital, and are seeking to implement cost-effective technology solutions for emission and fuel consumption control—both for export and for the rapidly growing Chinese domestic market.