The Italian car manufacturer Fiat has acquired Chrysler and now remakes its name through much more efficient engines they had already applied in Europe for some time. For example, Chrysler will adopt Fiat’s MultiAir engine, which can get their fleet to acquire an average of 35.5 mpg by 2016, thus obeying federal standards in force.
The MultiAir engine technology not only allows for a better fuel consumption and lower pollution, but it also features increased torque (by 15 percent). The main modification in the MultiAir engine is varying the time the valves are open to allow air, depending on the vehicle’s speed and power needs.
Usually, in a regular engine, a spinning camshaft moves the valves, opens and closes them to get the air into the pistons. The issue with this model is that it doesn’t care about the engine’s load, so the efficiency drops while idling or doesn’t perform at its theoretical maximum when the throttle is pushed to the floor.
MultiAir’s model uses a solenoid (a mechanical device acting like a switch) to open and close the valves, according to the engine’s needs, controlled by the ECU. Thus the ECU can make the valves open for a longer or shorter period of time, extracting more power from the fuel and increasing efficiency. The idea behind technology isn’t new; variations of it had been applied by manufacturers like BMW, Honda or Renault.
“It gives the engine a more efficient breathing pattern whether at idle or 6,000 rpm,” says Chrysler spokesman Nick Cappa. He also mentions the new technology, otherwise also new for Fiat, released in Europe in 2009, will be used on the Fiat 500 that will debut in 2011. Also, Chrysler will apply the technology on their new Pentastar engines that will have a broad range of applications, from small cars to pickup trucks.
Making better fossil fuel powered engines is vital to keeping the environment cleaner until the newer technologies based on electric motors, batteries and fuel cells evolve properly. At the same time, their increased efficiency also helps for decreased oil dependence, so it all links up.