Automakers, Suppliers Show Off Powertrain Prowess

DETROIT – Toyota offers details of its new 1.2L direct-injection turbocharged engine in a technical paper presented at the recent SAE World Congress here.

The 4-cyl. engine, the second in the automaker’s new downsized engine lineup, was introduced in Japan as an option for the Aurus in April and is being launched this month on an unspecified model in Europe. It replaces the older 1.6L and 1.8L units.

According to the paper, the engine (designated 8NR-FTS) incorporates a single-scroll turbocharger which, when used in conjunction with variable valve timing and a small exhaust-cam-event angle, delivers high torque from low engine speeds of 1,500 rpm.

Other features include improved combustion speed by creating a strong vertically rotating swirl inside the cylinder. The engine achieves high-speed combustion without port injection by intensifying intake flow and in-cylinder turbulence and by adopting a multiple injection-per-combustion-cycle strategy.

The engine produces maximum thermal efficiency of 36%. Euro-6 compliant, it has a compression ratio of 10:1. It is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission or a 7-speed CVT.

Toyota introduced the first engine in the series, the 2.0L 8AR-FTS, in April 2014 on the Lexus NX200t CUV.

Other highlights from the conference:

  • Hyundai displays a 2.2L diesel engine available in Europe and Asia. The automaker is considering introducing the engine, which employs piezoelectronic injectors, into North America, where it currently offers no diesel in its lineup. BorgWarner supplies the turbocharger for the unit.
  • Other Hyundai displays include a front-drive 8-speed automatic transmission and a hybrid 6-speed gearbox. The FWD 8-speed automatic is a first for the automaker. Hyundai has not indicated which vehicle will receive the transmission although there is speculation it could be the Santa Fe SUV. The hybrid 6-speed gearbox will be installed in both standard and plug-in Sonata hybrids due out this autumn. The plug-in Sonata can achieve 42 mpg (5.6 L/100 km) combined city-highway.
  • FEV Group exhibits a variable-length connecting rod that can extend by .08 in. (2 mm) allowing the engine’s compression ratio to increase, depending on the layout, from 9:1 to 12:1 or 10:1 to 14:1. FEV characterizes the device as a 2-stage variable-compression-ratio con-rod. The German engineering firm says the technology will increase part-load efficiency and enable further downsizing of engines. Other benefits include 7% fuel-economy improvements and potential system integration without changing the engine-block or cylinder-head design. A spokesman expects the unit to be on the market in 12-18 months, installed in an unnamed large turbocharged engine.
  • Honda displays a color-coded body structure of the Acura TLX highlighting lightweight materials. The automaker says it has increased the ratio of high-tensile steel, aluminum and magnesium to 60% of the total weight: 47% various grades of high-strength steel; 5% hot-stamped steel; 6% aluminum; and 2% magnesium. The combined effect is 21% greater torsion stiffness, 25% greater mount rigidity, 21% lower cost and 50% less body leakage than the previous model, the TL, Honda says.
  • Steve Ellis, manager-fuel cell vehicle marketing at American Honda, confirms the automaker’s next-generation FCV will go on sale in Japan in March 2016, then later next year in the U.S. and Germany. The near-ready model incorporates a 30% smaller fuel-cell stack.


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