Technology Will Save Fuel on Any Spark Ignition Engine
As GM Gives ‘Sneak Peek’ at 2016 Volt at CES in Las Vegas
GM Ventures says it’s “optimistic” that Dynamic Skip Fire from Silicon Valley-based startup Tula Technology “will result in a revolutionary new fuel economy technology that could be deployed in future gasoline engine-powered General Motors’ vehicles.”
The variable displacement technology can achieve significant savings on any spark-ignition engine, says Tula president Scott Bailey. It will work with natural gas or propane autogas fuel, he told F&F: “The fuel savings and benefits are pretty much identical.” The Tula design can save fuel to a lesser extent on compression-ignition diesel engines, too. But the emphasis for now, Bailey says, is on the high-volume gasoline engine market.
Dynamic Skip Fire – DSF – technology “integrates advanced digital signal processing with sophisticated powertrain controls to create a software-based approach to variable displacement,” GM says.
‘Torque for All Vehicle Speeds and Loads’
“Instead of relying on fixed cylinder deactivation or switching between fixed patterns like current multi-cylinder engines, Tula’s DSF technology continuously makes dynamic firing decisions on an individual cylinder basis to deliver the required engine torque for all vehicle speeds and loads while avoiding vibration.”
The result is “fuel economy across a wide range of driving conditions.”
Independent testing commissioned by Tula shows that DSF technology can improve fuel efficiency in a multi-cylinder engine (four, six, eight) “by as much as 15% when compared to a vehicle equipped with an engine that does not have cylinder deactivation,” GM says.
“This technology holds the potential to improve fuel economy on select GM vehicles without degrading power capability,” GM chief technology officer Jon Lauckner said in a release. “This joint effort combines software expertise from Silicon Valley with powertrain expertise from General Motors,” he said. Lauckner also serves as global R&D VP at GM and is president of GM Ventures.
Full Unveil of the 2016 Volt on Monday
Co-investors in Tula with GM Ventures include Sequoia Capital, Sigma Partners and Khosla Ventures. Since its founding in mid-2010, GM Ventures’ international portfolio includes investments in more than 20 startup companies. GM Ventures first invested in Tula in 2012.
Ron Yuille is powertrain engineering and business development VP at Tula Technology.
Separately, GM gave a sneak preview of the 2016 Chevrolet Volt at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. The next-generation extended range electric vehicle is to be fully unveiled on January 12 at the North American International Auto Show at Detroit’s Cobo Center.
The NAIAS 2015 press preview takes place January 12-13 and the industry preview is January 14-15. The event opens to the public January 17-25.
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Source: GM with Fleets & Fuels follow-up