Automotive

Camless technology promises more power, better fuel figures

Camless technology promises mo...
Qoros used the Beijing Motor Show to demonstrate its camless engine
Qoros used the Beijing Motor Show to demonstrate its camless engine
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Qoros used the Beijing Motor Show to demonstrate its camless engine
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Qoros used the Beijing Motor Show to demonstrate its camless engine
Christian von Koenigsegg at the Beijing Motor Show
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Christian von Koenigsegg at the Beijing Motor Show
The QamFree engine promises improved fuel efficiency and power
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The QamFree engine promises improved fuel efficiency and power
By removing the camshaft, FreeValve and Qoros claim to have made compact, powerful and efficient engines
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By removing the camshaft, FreeValve and Qoros claim to have made compact, powerful and efficient engines
FreeValve's clever actuators
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FreeValve's clever actuators
The QamFree engine on display in Beijing
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The QamFree engine on display in Beijing
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Chinese carmaker Qoros has joined Koenigsegg in demonstrating a camless engine. Rather than using a traditional camshaft to control an engine's valves, the QamFree motor uses electro-hydraulic-pneumatic actuators to provide precise control over each valve for more power and a 12 to 17 percent improvement in fuel economy.

In most engines the camshaft's rotating lobes push rockers that open the valves and allow valve springs to shut them. Unfortunately, this process involves a stage where the valves are partially open or shut, which means the system isn't always operating at ideal efficiency.

Rather than continuing to use this technology, which Koenigsegg likens to "playing a piano with a both hands tied to the opposite ends of a broomstick," the QamFree engine allows far greater control over the engine's intake and exhaust valves thanks to electro-hydraulic-pneumatic actuators.

The QamFree engine on display in Beijing
The QamFree engine on display in Beijing

The engine has been developed in conjunction with FreeValve AB, one of Koenigsegg's sister companies. According to FreeValve, the technology reduces fuel consumption by 12 to 17 percent when compared to a modern, direct injection engine with variable cams.

Qoros also says the QamFree engine allows the company to eke more power from a more compact package, which should mean punchy performance from engines that meet the ever-tightening Euro and Beijing emissions standards.

Unfortunately, there's no mention of a release or production date for the engine, although Qoros does loosely suggest we might see it in future models. Currently, the engine remains a concept.

Freevalve's video about the technology is below.

Sources: Qoros, Koenigsegg, Freevalve

Freevalve

View gallery - 6 images
27 comments
Naoki Watanabe
"12 to 17 percent improvement". Great but combustion engines need about a 400% improvement to get close to electric cars and even then they still have the pollution thing working against them.
Donald Vitez
"Electo-Hydraulic-Pneumatic", fancy terminology for what is an air over oil, system used to control a cylinder. I was first exposed to this technology in the early nineties while working as a controls Engineer in the thick film industry. They were used to move one or more squeegees across the screen of screen printing machines, because of their very smooth, consistent motion.
yawood
Makes sense in this era of computer control. It will be interesting to see where this goes.
HerbertShallcross
"- eke more power from a more compact package..." Koenigsegg makes high performance supercars. Do they use this idea on their own cars? 17% improvement in power to weight, if it was achievable would seem ideal.
Naoki Watanabe- While electric motors can be much more efficient than internal combustion engines, as a complete system, when battery efficiency is considered, they are not. Batteries are, at present the limiting factor on electric cars. Show me an electric family sedan that carries four comfortably with a little luggage that you can take from a 1/4 energy storage state to a complete energy storage state in five minutes that can then travel non-stop for 350 miles, and in five minutes reach it's full energy storage potential again. I can, and have done this several times in my Volvo S60, a gasoline sedan with comparable range to Camrys and the like. Current electric cars are limited to about 250 miles, and even that range is reduced by cold weather and accessory use. Try to recharge those batteries in five minutes when still hot from high discharge and they would almost certainly be damaged.
Electric cars may be the future. They still operate at a disadvantage in the present.
Lewis M. Dickens III
It would be interesting to know if it were quieter.
Sounds like less is more to me.
Maybe the wind engine guys might wake up and realize that more blades pull more power. Too much lemming crap going on in this field that refuses to discuss and post efficiencies. Huge missing integrity for that covert omission.
telocity
It would be nice to see this tech in a direct injection diesel. Maybe we can finally achieve in a production car what Craig Henderson with partner Bill Green achieved in 1984, a 100+mpg car. http://jalopnik.com/5628752/from-canada-to-mexico-on-one-tank-of-diesel
CraigDaliessio
A: Electric sucks. B: Ducati has been doing a variant of this for years. The Desmodromadic valvetrain uses very similar technology but it's entirely mechanical.
Primecordial
Nice video graphics of the exploded engine - there are some really talented people out there
BobAlgie
This is definitely a step in the right direction. However, the main problem still lies in the fact that there are valve springs involved. This is the weak link in any overhead valve engine. Back in 1968 I came up with a design that involved cylindrical, timed fuel release "valve" trains. We did not have sophisticated computer design at the time. It was only on paper and in my head. By completely eliminating the valve train, downsizing, the internal moving mass of the valve train, and increasing the system efficiency, we could then move on to the other reciprocating parts of the engine such as crankshafts and connecting rods. Of course, the biggest problem is the unit cost. As long as we can cheaply produce engines with conventional valve trains manufacturers will continue to be wooed by high profits rather than efficient and practical technology. The 12 to 17 percent fuel efficiency estimates are ridiculously low for a "new" technology. This new design also appears to be accomplished by using a large number of small parts, We need to eliminate moving parts, decrease reciprocating mass, increase volumetric efficiency, and design engines around new fuel sources.
VincentBrennan
Nothing totally new here even for engines. The original Renault F! cars from the 1980s turbo era with gigantic horse power out of small engines had a very similar valve system. Seemed like a good idea then and with today's much enhanced computer controlled systems it makes good sense. There is quie a bit of parasitic friction power loss from turning a cam and forcing those springs open. This system is free of that.