Koenigsegg’s New Cam-Less Engine
February 13, 2012 by Matt
Jalopnik reports on an upcoming supercar from Swedish boutique automaker Koenigsegg that will feature a twin-turbo V8 engine whole valves are actuated without camshafts. Partnering with Swedish engineering firm Cargine, Koenigsegg plans to develop a valvetrain system whereby the valves are operated using pneumatic pressure alone. F1 car engines have used pneumatic valve springs since the Renault turbo engines of the mid-’80s, but always in conjunction with a camshaft. The Swedish performance car concern intends to do away with the camshaft altogether, actuating the valves directly via servos. The breakthrough has the potential to eliminate a great deal of complexity (the entire valvetrain, cam gears and tensioners) and offer benefits including infinitely variable valve timing and cylinder deactivation, among others. The challenges include reliability (how to make sure the valves remain closed in case of servo failure, to eliminate the potential for valve-to-piston contact) and noise (servos have exactly two states—open or closed—as opposed to the more gradual, less noisy opening and closing profile offered by a cam lobe). This is a smart move for Koenigsegg. Publicity drives supercar sales, and without the resources to sustain an indefinite top speed pissing contest against Bugatti and SSC, the Swedish automaker has sidestepped that key issue and instead focused on innovation and efficiency. But rather than cooking up yet another oh-so-trendy hybrid supercar, they’ve decided to “borrow from the top,” as it were, and incorporate racing technology in their new engine. Instead of merely “going green” for the sake of going green, shoehorning in hybrid technology well aware of the weight and complexity drawbacks, as with a whole host of recent supercar concepts (New Acura NSX, Jaguar C-X75, Porsche 918, etc), Koenigsegg plans to boost efficiency in the pursuit of power and speed. It’s a win-win.
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