Ricardo Engineering Develops Non-Electric Hybrid Engine

Novel engine can switch from two-stroke to four-stroke, reducing fuel consumption 27 percent.

Published: 01-Apr-2008

A new kind of hybrid vehicle could offer reduced fuel consumption to consumers concerned about gas prices. Mechanical engineers in the United Kingdom have developed a novel kind of combustion engine that is able to switch between being a two-stroke and a four-stroke engine. The system, they say, can reduce fuel consumption by 27 percent.

The improved fuel consumption essentially comes from downsizing the engine, says Neville Jackson, technology director of Ricardo UK, an engineering firm in Shoreham-on-Sea that developed the new engine. "A smaller engine has less internal friction and delivers better fuel consumption," he says.

But small car engines, which are usually based on a four-stroke design, don't offer a lot of power. They can be particularly problematic when operated at low speeds with a high load, such as when accelerating uphill. Such conditions can even make a small engine stall if the driver doesn't downshift.

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