Remember the days when almost anyone with a basic vehicle knowledge could work on their car with no problems? Nowadays, there are still a few of those people left. However, automotive engine technology innovations have made it harder to work on your vehicle. On the other hand, these same modernizations have made cars more powerful, fuel-efficient, and smarter.
Active Cylinder Deactivation
Back in the days of cars being V8s, V6s, I6s or other cylinder configurations, that is all there were. Now we have vehicles that have eco mode. This is great for fuel economy as when you’re driving along at a lower speed the computer shuts off cylinders that are not needed, so when they are shut down, they don’t burn fuel. This gives you enough power to drive at the speed set or slower while the fuel economy is increased.
Cylinder Deactivation can take a V8 and turn it into a four-cylinder in Eco mode. Or an Inline six to a three-cylinder or four-cylinder. Shutting off these cylinders that are not needed is excellent. Some argue that this robs sports cars, muscle cars, and trucks of the power they have. So the market is practically split at 50/50. The upside to this automotive engine technology is that you can turn it off by putting the car in manual mode. Some cars or trucks require you to paddle-shift some still allow the computer to shift for you until you hit a paddle shifter.
Turbochargers are a simple yet complex innovative addition to automotive engine technology. Gear heads and non-technical drivers both like turbochargers for the performance side of speed because they add horsepower to the car via back pressure from the exhaust system. By forcing pressurized air into the engine, you can get better acceleration and performance.
Turbochargers also help fuel economy by aiding the engine in lower rotations per minute (RPMs). Lower RPMs mean better fuel economy as the motor is not working as hard. That is why we see many entry-level cars offer turbocharged options for power addition and fuel savings.
Electric-assist also is known as hybrid technology is one of the greatest innovations. This works well paired together, at low city speeds. The vehicle usually uses the electric motor to cruise. However, when you reach a certain speed, the gas motor kicks in and either takes full control or works with the electric motor to be the most fuel economical as possible.
A mild hybrid is on the opposite end of the scale in terms of “hybrid.” A mild hybrid does not drive the vehicle in any way. It does, however, assist the car in the auto start and stop side of things.
This feature is a fuel-saving technology that happens when at a stoplight, stop sign, or in traffic for a specified period. The engine will shut down while at a stop leaving electrical components to run from the battery alone, and the engine will instantly restart for propulsion as soon as the driver presses the accelerator.
Engine improvement and Efficiency
The last bit of automotive engine technology is the constant improvement of engines. Companies are trying everything in their development power to create more efficient engines with or without electric assist and turbochargers. Many are doing their best to enhance thermal efficiency.
Bottom Line About Automotive Engine Technology
The days of massive mechanical engines that guzzle gas are coming to an end. Although, a few manufacturers are holding off and sticking to what they do best, which is powerful cars with ok fuel economy. Those days are coming to an end with the new EPA restrictions.
Soon enough, all cars will have some form of electric assist to reduce the size of these massive engines. If companies don’t comply, they will be handed hefty fines. Due to the results of Federal CAFE Standards, we will continue to see growth in the efficiency of automobiles. Please feel free to mention in the comments your favorite automotive engine technology listed above. If you think we missed one, please share what it is and why you think it is an advanced automotive technology.