The Achates Power engine could be twice as efficient than today’s best engines, and could be used for the Army.
A few months ago, we discussed a radical new engine design from Achates Power in San Diego, CA. Well, the design isn’t radical, but based on a German engine from the 1930s, and with significant design changes, according to CEO Dave Johnson, the new two-stroke diesel should be able to run a vehicle at 100 MPG, twice as efficient as gasoline engines.
Still, there are neither prototype vehicles nor a prototype multi-cylinder engine of this design, so whether these claims are true remains to be seen.
Simulation data from their single-cylinder test engine seems promising enough, and convincing enough, that the US Army has given Achates Power and partner AVL Powertrain Engineering $4.9 million to develop a complete multi-cylinder prototype based on the current design.
The Army is interested in this technology because the Achates Power engine ought to be smaller and lighter than current diesel models, as well as more efficient. Additionally, with some minor changes, the Achates engine could run on a variety of fuels, including diesel and jet fuel.
Perhaps with capital from the Army, Achates Power can build an engine that’s twice as efficient for the automobile market as well. In a vehicle, a diesel engine, while more efficient, typically adds about $1,000 to the price, but Achates engine could be 10% cheaper and twice as efficient. These claims have yet to be tested in the real world, outside of simulations, but perhaps Achates’ new backers will make that happen.