What do gasoline engines look like

Nissan promises the most efficient gasoline engine yet

Renault's partner in Japan, Nissan, was one of the first major car manufacturers to opt for electric cars. In December 2010, the group launched the Leaf, the world's first mass-produced electric car. Ten years later, the manufacturer is now promising the development of a gasoline engine for mass use with the highest efficiency, while other manufacturers such as Jaguar want to say goodbye to the combustion engine entirely by 2025.

The new engine should achieve a thermal efficiency of 50 percent, said Nissan's Vice President Toshihiro Hirai in a recent briefing. This means that half of the energy ends up on the road and less is lost as heat, for example. That would be a big step. So far, the best marketed gasoline engines that are not only run in laboratories have achieved values ​​of just over 40 percent.

Electricity isn't everything

Toyota celebrated breaking the 40 percent mark in 2018. And this group also promises to further develop its gasoline engines in addition to its electric car offensive. Mazda is working on the dream of engine engineers to compress the air-fuel mixture in the cylinder so strongly that it ignites like diesel in the diesel engine. Because the manufacturers continue to expect that there will be gasoline engines for a long time - and if only in developing countries and as an aggregate in hybrids.

The trick with Nissan: The engine is part and result of Nissan's electrification strategy, with which the company wants to make electric driving more palatable to the masses. The group calls the concept of the smoking electric car ePower, which has already become a bestseller for Nissan in Japan.

Like Nissan's electric cars, the ePower models are powered by an electric motor. But there is only one small battery on board, which is only sufficient for a short distance of purely electric travel. Instead, a gasoline engine provides the necessary electricity when needed. This type of hybrid drive not only lowers costs, but also consumption. Because released from the obligation to drive the car when accelerating, the combustion engine can work longer than with non-hybrids in the optimal speed range and thus more economically.

Until 2025 with a comparable price

The ePower version of the Note compact car can travel 100 kilometers with around 3.3 liters. The new version would cut consumption by a quarter, promised Hirai. But in order for this to succeed, the engineers have to tweak a number of parameters.

One is miniaturization and compression. Nissan uses a turbo in the 1.5-liter / three-cylinder engine. In addition, the gasoline mixture is thinner, better distributed in the cylinder and burned more efficiently thanks to a newly developed ignition. Another point is the work on more powerful batteries that can also master faster accelerations without additional power from the generator.

With this process, Nissan wants to reduce the costs for the system to the level of comparable internal combustion engines by 2025. Among other things, Nissan is relying on the fact that the massive use of components for electric cars can also lower the prices for pure electric vehicles. Because even Nissan no longer has a long life expectancy with pure combustion engines: By 2030, the group wants to offer electrified models in its main markets. (bsc)

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