Nissan's luxury offshoot, Infiniti, has developed a ground-breaking new petrol motor engine that it claims could replace or make diesel engines obsolete in the future. The technology behind the engine, which aims to combine the power of a gasoline engine with the fuel efficiency of diesel, is being described as one of the most advanced combustion engines ever made.
The world's first production-ready Variable Compression-Turbo (VC-T) engine does exactly as it says on the box by having the ability to automatically vary its compression ratio of air and fuel before it hits the cylinders for combustion. This means it can choose optimal levels for when drivers want performance or fuel efficiency, rather than sticking to one ratio, which is what engineers would produce for traditional engines under the bonnet of cars today.
If it all still sounds too technical, to put that in context, your average petrol car engine would likely run on a compression ratio (how much air is compressed in a cylinder) of no more than around 10:1, while sports cars would operate on around 12:1 or higher. The higher the ratio means more air is compressed in the cylinder and therefore will produce more power per stroke.
Diesel engines however have much higher compression ratios as only air is in the cylinder with diesel fuel being added after the combustion. It makes for a greater fuel economy but it hasn't got the power and performance of a petrol engine.
Nissan's VC-T, however, claims to offer the best of both worlds with variable compression ratios ranging from 8:1 to 14:1 on the fly. The engine claims to be the world's first production-ready variable compression ration engine.
"It is a revolutionary next-step in optimising the efficiency of the internal combustion engine. This technological breakthrough delivers the power of a high-performance 2.0-litre turbo gasoline engine with a high level of efficiency at the same time," said Roland Krueger, President of Infiniti Motor Company.
The engine, which has been 20 years in the making, is being described as one of the most advanced combustion engines ever created and achieves the feat by allowing pistons to raise or lower their height to allow more or less air in.
"Diesel engine is a hot topic globally. We believe this new engine of ours is an ultimate gasoline engine that could over time replace the (advanced) diesel engine of today," explained Kinichi Tanuma, a Nissan engineer working on the project as he offered a glimpse into the future.
According to a report by Reuters it is believed the turbo-charged, 2-litre, four-cylinder VC-T engine will produce similar power to a 3.5litre V6 engine but at 27% greater fuel economy.
The engine will debut for the first time by Infiniti at the Paris Motor Show on 29 September.