According to Autoweek, Valeo SA is close to coming up with a camless gasoline engine, in fact, they’re predicting 14 to 16 months to market. Camless technology has been long sought after but extremely difficult to pull off. Look at the benefits:
* Internal friction is reduced greatly because there are fewer moving parts. At low speeds, about 25 percent of an engine’s friction is caused by the valvetrain.
* Horsepower, torque and fuel economy are improved because the crankshaft’s power is driving only the wheels.
* Emissions are reduced because the computer-controlled valve timing is infinitely variable. Each valve in each cylinder can be opened and closed independently, something not possible with a traditional engine.
If reductions in fuel consumption, predicted to be about 20 percent, are true and if you also get greater power and lower emissions, look at camless engines to be a big hybrid competitor.
Computer control of various engine components has been increasing dramatically over the years with the unique advantage of almost infinte variations in performance from the same engine with only a software change. The speed at which you can change performance with a computer is impossible with purely mechanical controls. Plus, engine design is somewhat limited by the enforced physical relationship between parts. Remove some of the parts and engine design becomes much more flexible. This is a fascinating development and I’ll be very interested to see if it works. Performance possibilities with this technology should be of great interest to enthusiasts, too. Stay tuned.