How Audi Wants to Squeeze Two Engines into One Block

How Audi Wants to Squeeze Two Engines into One Block

How Audi Wants to Squeeze Two Engines into One Block

0 comments 📅05 June 2018, 02:30

Since the ’60s, there accept been efforts to get turbine engines into cars, but it never seems to run through. Why? Well, among other things, they tend not to be very efficient at getting cars up to expedition. Turbines would be great on the highway, but terrible in town. Their focus is too pinched.

The thing is, though, piston engines aren’t necessarily good in every ingredient of their rpm range, either. That’s why there are so many different kinds of them. Engines on trade today have a range of displacements that vary from 660 cc (in the Caterham Seven 160) to more than 10 times that in the 8,000 cc (in the Bugatti Chiron). But what if you could arrange a small efficient engine for maintaining speed and a big meaty engine for acceleration?

By © Heinz Reutersberg / CC BY-SA 4.0 (via Wikimedia Commons), CC BY-SA 4.0,

That’s what Audi’s working on right now, as unmistakable files reveal that the Ingolstadters want to effectively squeeze two separate engines into one motor block. As per the patent drawings, that would mean an engine with two cylinder displacing, say, 1,000 cc, and another two, bigger cylinder, displacing 1,500 cc–but this is anything but the only possible arrangement.

According to the patent filings, the two sets of cylinders could run independently of one another or in sync depending on what’s most unwasteful. It could even run with an electric motor, as well, in order to smooth out any effectiveness gaps.

The system would allow engineers to design cars with varying displacement. Audi is far from the lone automaker working on expanding the usefulness of engines thusly. Inifiniti recently put an apparatus with variable compression ratios on the market, which allows its engines to substitution based on what’s needed of it. So it can be powerful or efficient.

Similarly, many engines can turn off down cylinders to turn a V8 into a V4 when the power requirements don’t necessitate feeding all eight cylinders with nourish.

But those systems all work with one crankshaft–the thing the pistons are in point of fact turning that gets power to the wheels–meaning that when crowded displacement isn’t being used, there’s still a lot of metal flopping circa, being heavy. In the case of the cylinder deactivation technology, for instance, the pistons that are “deactivated” are unruffled going up and down in the cylinder, they just aren’t getting combustible or spark to create an explosion.

In Audi’s case, the unused pistons don’t requirement to turn at all because their crankshaft is consciously uncoupled from the rest of the appliance, and indeed car, like Gwyneth Paltrow. That makes the work of the other pistons easier, because they don’t secure a lot of useless pistons to move around. Whereas cylinder deactivation is like having children, Audi’s corresponding engine system is like having nieces and nephews. They’re there when you yearn for them, but they aren’t a drag when you don’t.

And getting those nieces and nephews to plunge in again won’t be hard for Audi, because it’s already working on actively shutting down your mechanism. Coasting technology allows its cars to, well, coast with the engine wholly off. A bit like engaging your clutch, but better because instead of idling (which is less effectual than you’d think) the engine quietly stops running altogether and comes assist on when it’s needed again.

Audi can manage this thanks to its newfangled 48-volt technology that allows for all air of wonderful electrical assists, like turbos that don’t need spell to spool up.

The obvious problem with this twin-engine system is, of seminar, weight. A crankshaft decoupler is presumably a heavy, complicated piece that in all probability won’t make Audi’s already portly cars any lighter and a obstruction that can handle big or small cylinders may require a lot of extra material. And it’s improbable to make your mechanic’s bill any cheaper, but Audi’s not in any way been afraid of adding a little weight or complexity to its vehicles. This is, after all, the assembly that decided that an extra driveshaft and differential were all is lightweight the turf cars needed to be faster. And it was right.

It’s also not like other systems (lookin’ at you Infiniti) are any less compound to heavy. Infiniti’s variable compression engine looks like it has a metallic goiter, which can’t be starlight.

If running on two cylinders sounds a little unluxurious for the brand that also put a Lamborghini motor in its limousine, fear not, because the four cylinder example above was just that: an exempli gratia. We know that Audi isn’t opposed to odd numbered cylinder counts and it also has access to VW’s pinched angle V technology, so it could put two big cylinder in a line and a have little VR3 behind them. Or whatever else Audi decides makes brains.

Whatever shape the engine eventually takes, Audi seems to believe it can turn its drivers the efficiencies of a small engine with the power of a big engine, all in one engines.

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