Many of the high-tech solutions of our automotive modernity are actually based on long-standing ideas that have become reality thanks to today's capabilities of metallurgy, electronics, chemistry and many other sciences.
Starting the engine using gas energy
Founded in 1905 by an American company from Michigan.
Mazda has received numerous awards for its i-stop system, which starts the engine after a short stop to assist in the initial fueling process. Starting without any starter assistance still sounds utopian, but amid the possibilities already provided by electronic ignition and direct injection, the theoretical possibility is increasingly taking the form of a feasible project. Mazda uses a generator to stop the pistons in a specific position and electronically determine which cylinder in the engine is in the correct position to start the expansion stroke. The injection system, in turn, injects part of the fuel into it and, in the presence of air, creates a sufficient fuel mixture, which, after a spark from the spark plug, starts the engine.
Back in 1905, the American company Harrison from Michigan, it seems, could cope without powerful computers and using much simpler means - an air pump injects a certain amount of acetylene into the appropriate cylinder and ignites it. There is no information left on how the system found the right cylinder, but it is claimed that such engines were in mass production for two years.
Using the heat of the cooling system and gases to propel
Reference: At the beginning of the twentieth century and a Compound machine from the USA.
BMW created two experimental prototypes called TurboSteamer, whose highly efficient engine uses the heat so far lost in the exhaust and cooling systems, using a steam engine in the first and a steam turbine in the second version, the latter being connected to the crankshaft. This is a significant technological breakthrough that increases the efficiency of the engine and, as a result, leads to a decrease in fuel consumption due to the unused resource.
However, the idea of harnessing the energy of the exhaust gases to directly drive the crankshaft is also not new. The Turbo Compound system has been used in Scania's truck engines for many years and consists of two exhaust turbines connected in series: one drives a classic turbocharger, and the energy captured by the second turbine is transmitted through the crankshaft hydraulic system.
An American named Graham from Connecticut went even further in his desire to fully utilize excess energy from exhaust gases - at the beginning of the last century. To improve the efficiency of the gasoline engine, he creates a three-cylinder engine with the so-called "double expansion", in which hot high-pressure gases, separated from the two end cylinders, are used to drive the piston of the middle cylinder. The patented machine known as the Compound (!) Does indeed work and has been used in mass production of cars for some time now.
Electrically operated valves
In 1905, Gas-o-Lek operated the valves using an electric motor.
Few manufacturers continue to try to create an intake and exhaust valve drive system using powerful solenoids that will completely eliminate the camshaft and its associated mechanisms. The main reason why such a system still cannot be applied in serial automotive industry is the low voltage of the on-board network, where high current, thick wires and sources with high potential are required to generate a magnetic field with such characteristics. Synchronizing valve dynamics is also proving extremely difficult, but this technology offers significant advantages and will sooner or later become necessary.
Hybrid cars with enough current on board can help accelerate its adoption, but can also benefit from the best practices of the American company Gas-au-Lec, which in 1905 created an interesting system for actuating a valve using an electric motor. It should be noted here that Renault are by no means the pioneers in the use of pneumatic valve lifters in Formula 1. A similar solution was implemented with the throttle valve and pneumatically controlled starter back in 1909.
Direct petrol injection
Developed in the 50s by Bosch for two-stroke vehicles.
Gasoline direct injection systems have become more common in recent years, but today's market leader Bosch's love for direct injection systems began many decades ago. In 1912, the company created an experimental fuel-injected two-stroke outboard engine for a boat, and in the 601s developed direct systems to order for German aviation. The first engine to put them into practice is the twelve-cylinder DB XNUMX aircraft. Mercedeswhich reaches 1200 hp. with a working volume of 33,8 liters. The fuel is pumped by a high pressure pump, the design of which is based on the design principles of Bosch diesel pumps.
Many associate the first automobile direct injection gasoline engines with the German sports car industry, but the truth is that such a system is being applied first to much simpler two-stroke engines. The reason for its appearance in these cars is the ability to avoid mixing the exhaust gases with fresh fuel mixture - one of the nightmares of two-stroke engines. The idea of its application belongs to the German Karl Borgward - a technocrat with progressive thinking, whose automobile conglomerate includes a simple "folk" brand Goliath. At his request, Bosch developed special injectors as part of the complete high-pressure direct injection system that was used in the 1951 Goliath GP with its 700 two-stroke two-cylinder engine. Subsequently, the same Bosch system is used in the small two-stroke machine of the Gutbrod Superior 700 Luxus. Direct injection, however, comes from Mercedes' desire to reclaim the glory of the racing brand. In the early 300s, Rudolf Uhlenhout, head of the experimental and sports car division, commissioned his engineers to contact Bosch and begin work on adapting the direct injection system for a sports car. Thus the magnificent XNUMX SL was born.
Ferdinand Porsche created such models at the beginning of the last century.
Today, no one sees hybrid cars as a fantastic fad - they represent an increasingly realistic answer to questions about reducing vehicle emissions. Today's boom in this area, initiated by Toyota The Prius, which has found more and more followers lately, has its roots in the early days of the automotive industry.
One of the first practical hybrid cars was the Lohner-Porsche, the work of the legendary Ferdinand Porsche. Its internal combustion engine drives an electric generator, which in turn drives electric motors built into the four wheel hubs - today the concept is called a serial hybrid and is used in diesel locomotives and dump trucks. Lohner-Porsche hybrids belong to Baron Nathan Rothschild and Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and during World War I, the Austro-Hungarian army used giant tractors that worked on this principle, in which electric motors were used not only in the tractor wheels, but also in the tractor wheels. .
Of course, modern hybrid systems in the Toyota Prius and Yaris are much more complex, more sophisticated and more complex in their work, but it turns out that in this avant-garde field, innovations have analogues in the past. It is also interesting to note that Toyota created the first Prius in the 90s, using the fundamentals of a system invented by the American company TRW in the 60s.
Text: Georgy Kolev