That’s the sales pitch for an opposed-piston alternative to today’s vehicle engines. No valves, no cylinder head. But will it get off the drawing board? WIRED reporting.
IF YOU POP THE hood on your car and yank out the plastic cover beneath it, you’ll see a beautiful bit of mind-boggling engineering: the internal combustion engine.
Today’s engines harness around 100 explosions of fuel and oxygen each second, generating massive power with minimal emissions. That’s great, but tightening pollution standards around the world mean automobiles must become increasingly efficient.
Electric cars offer one way forward, but they remain expensive and hobbled by range anxiety—the fear, often unfounded, that you’ll end up stranded with a dead battery. Internal combustion isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, with advancements like turbochargers, direct injection, and variable valve timing squeezing more miles from every gallon.
Achates Power in San Diego believes it has a better way: Ditch the design that has dominated engine design for the past 130 years in favor of an idea abandoned in the 1940s and see a 30 percent bump in efficiency.