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Bath project seeks to develop new gasoline engine that reduces fuel consumption by about one-third

Researchers from the University of Bath (UK) are embarking on a new project to achieve a 35% reduction in car fuel usage. The project aims to develop a gasoline engine achieving the same performance as the current 5.0L V8 engine from an engine less than half the size.

The team, from the University’s Powertrain & Vehicle Research Centre in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, has been awarded £590,000 (US$946,000) from the Technology Strategy Board as part of a £4.2M (US$6.7 million) consortium which includes Jaguar Land Rover, Lotus Engineering and Shell. The other consortium members are GE Precision, CD Adapco, the University of Leeds and Imperial College London.

The resulting engine is intended to have a higher specific torque rating than any production engine but with better fuel economy than current diesel engines and with the refinement, durability and emissions compliance of next generation gasoline engines.

The experimental program will utilise a unique air-charging facility developed as part of my EPSRC Advanced Fellowship that is able to emulate the performance of advanced turbochargers and superchargers before they are available as physical prototypes. This will speed up the engine development process, allowing us to find the ultimate boundaries of engine operation under these extreme operating conditions.

—Dr. Sam Akehurst, principal investigator

The researchers anticipate the first demonstration engine will be built in 2011.



If they really want to save fuel, they would be better off doing work for 1.6L engines for Ford Focuses or equivalent rather than 5L engines for Range Rovers.


An MIT group arrived at the same conclusion. Half size smaller, higher compression gasoline or alcohol ICE can produce as much and even more power and torque than their bigger brothers. Cars equipped with smaller, lighter ICE consume less fuel. The 2011 Sonata is a relevant example.

Smaller, 4 cyls 2.0 liter high compression ICE with 300+ hp could satisfy most if not all large cars; 1.5 liter would be enough for most mid-size cars and 1.0 liter would be OK for compacts.


The trade off is always wear rates to the rings and cylinder liners. downsizing increases the forces on the piston skirts where rotational torque is generated that is physics and unavoidable by operating at higher BMEP on smaller piston area to generate the same torque from the now smaller piston skirt area increases the force per cm squared and wear rates in piston engines is proportional to the force over area and sweep velocity of this loaded area against the wear surface in this case the cylinder wall or liner so smaller higher speed engines will wear at faster rates this is unavoidable via physics. improvements in synthetic oils and surface coatings might reduce the wear rates relative to cast iron and AlSi pistons but large engines at lower torque/low RPM loading relative to the maximum design point will ALWAYS outlast a small engine screaming at near peak torque and high RPM the physics of this is just that physics material sciences being equal on could put the advanced lube and coatings on a larger engine and still outlast the smaller one every day of the week. for the consumer who replace there car at 100k miles this might be acceptable but fleet operators go 500k plus and endurance is a key cost factor.


TXG....could be ideal for PHEVs genset since it would normally not run that often and smaller-lighter ICE could liberate more space for batteries.

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