It seems like self-driving cars running on electric power will be the vehicle for the near future to replace the internal combustion engines (ICE) that have been powering vehicles for more than a century. While gas-burning engines have done serious damage to the environment and have contributed to global warming, gasoline-powered vehicles are not going away any time soon.
Internal combustion engines will remain relevant in spite of an electric power future if people can fundamentally change the function of ICE. For several decades, the internal combustion engine has relatively remained unchanged and an evolution is required to keep it running. Companies like Koenigsegg are working to recreate parts of the age-old design.
Koenigsegg is pushing its Freevalve technology that makes use of pneumatic actuators to open and close valves instead of the traditional camshafts that have powered ICE for decades. If engines will be equipped with the new technology, they can run on diesel, gas and/or alcohol without the need for mechanical modification. The Freevalve technology can also produce engines that are completely CO2 neutral.
Another company that is making strides to innovate internal combustion engines is Mazda. Mazda’s X engine will be the first mass produced compress ignition gasoline engine. By designing a gasoline engine to perform like a diesel engine, it will drastically increase fuel economy and at the same time reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Microwave Ignition is a company that is focused on using microwave to ignite fuel instead of the tradition spark plugs. Fuel economy will be increased because the system will burn fuel at a lower temperature. Aside from the 30% reduction in fuel consumption, microwave ignition systems are cleaner technology with fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
Toyota is now leading the change with its advanced hybrid system that will increase fuel economy in its current product line. Instead of killing its gas-powered vehicles, Toyota has focused on an advanced system for its vehicles.
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