As much as we support the Volt, GM will need to bring more cutting edge technology to the table if it wants to remain a viable company, so it's good to hear that they're making gains in other development projects. The company announced this week that its homogenous charge compression ignition engine (HCCI) is able to improve fuel economy by 15 percent when combined with other advanced technologies.
The HCCI works by igniting the air and fuel mixture through compression instead of with a spark. According to GM, this method saves fuel by reducing pumping losses, burning fuel faster at lower temperatures and reducing the loss of heat energy. The company has been tinkering with the HCCI engine for a couple of years now, hoping that it would be their answer to more efficient vehicles and it seems they're finally making notable progress.
The significance of the HCCI engine is that it could advance the fuel efficiency of any hybrid and extended-range vehicles that GM adds to its fleet as though they were operating with a diesel engine. The engine comes close to matching the efficiency of a diesel engine, but has the advantage of not requiring a more expensive exhaust system to meet stricter state emissions requirements. Ultimately, GM would be able to offer more efficient hybrid vehicles that could be sold in all 50 states.
The company plans to do more extensive testing on the engine, but believes it will be in production in less than 10 years.
written by Glenn, May 23, 2009
written by Frances Cerra Whittelsey, May 28, 2009
written by gonzodave, June 23, 2009
written by Fred, July 24, 2009
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