Volkswagen, Kia, Chevrolet, Tesla, and Ford are already manufacturing all-electric vehicles (EV), so it would seem that internal combustion engines are old-fashioned in terms of car tech and carbon emissions. The auto world will do less and less of this, but Nissan just very recently invented an engine that could kill advanced diesel systems, according to senior Nissan engineer, Kinichi Tanuma.

Nissan’s luxury arm Infiniti claims to have invented a revolutionary new petrol engine that consumes 27% less fuel yet can match the performance outputs of engines up to 50% larger. The new engine technology is called Variable Compression Turbo (VC-T). Its name is derived from its abilities, as this petrol engine can vary its compression ratio, the ratio at which fuel is mixed with air inside the cylinder, on demand. It could supposedly respond to needs of power, speed and efficiency on the fly.

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VC-T Specs

Nissan’s V-6 engine has remained an industry standard for decades. This invention is a masterstroke because the company still improved the power and precision of the gas motor. The VC-T is a turbo 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine. It has about the same power and torque of a 3.5-liter V-6 engine but 27% better fuel economy. According to Infiniti engineer Shinichi Kiga, this engine produces 200kW and 390Nm, equivalent to a conventional 3.0-liter V-6. Also, it can, “make intelligent choice between performance and efficiency in all (driving) conditions,” and move, “seamlessly between any compression ratio from 8:1 and 14:1.” That compares with mainstream production gasoline engines that run at compression ratios of 8:1 to 10:1. Exotic sports cars and racing cars run at 12:1 or more.

The engine is also cheaper than today’s advanced turbo-charged diesel engines, Nissan engineers said at the briefing at the company’s technical and design center in Atsugi, south of Tokyo. They said it should also meet nitrogen oxide (NOx) and other emissions rules in certain markets without requiring costly treatment systems.

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“Everyone’s been working on variable compression and other technologies to significantly improve gasoline engine fuel economy … at least for the last 20 years or so,” said James Chao, Asia-Pacific managing director at consultant IHS. Infiniti has has successfully manufactured this engine via a multi-link that was actually invented 20 years ago. It took until now for Infiniti’s engineers to make it fir for production.

The VC-T engine will be shown at the Paris Auto Show in September. It would initially be manufactured for a new Infiniti car expected to be officially unveiled next year, but is likely to soon be seen under the hoods of other cars in the allied car maker companies like Nissan cars and possibly in its alliance partner Renault.

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