There is still much to develop on internal combustion engines , and it is not true that the immediate future must inevitably pass from complicated, unnecessary and expensive electric cars. An example, of how you can rewrite the engine technology using classical concepts, comes from laboratory researches by Renault on a new two-stroke turbo diesel engine. That is “What is the news? We have already seen twin-engines!”
So the innovation is the 2 stroke cycle, not exactly the “normality” when you talk about car engines. But adopting a 2 stroke engine you would have enormous benefits in terms of efficiency, passing from the 35% of efficiency with a 4 stroke cycle to 50%, made possible by the lower heat transfer between the engine and the cooling system.
If the 2-stroke engine Renault materialized on the market, it would be to fit into the story next to examples as Auto-Union, Saab and Trabant, all manufacturers who have proposed the same technical solution over the years, from the late 19th century to the 80’s of the twentieth century.
It will still need much development to get data which will make attractive performance: currently they are used 50 and 70 horsepower, with torque values only acceptable in relation to the volume (between 112 and 145 Nm) and not if compared to the 1.5 dCi 4 cylinder (200-260 Nm). The project is made possible thanks to funding from the European Commission, a unique detail if you consider the importance of electric engines supported by media, but the project explores in parallel the field of internal combustion engines looking for optimizations and lower production costs.
The French are working on several fronts, and the future doesn’t reserve only the technical innovation of 2 stroke engine. Indeed they are working also on a vehicle which has the size of a Twingo but will propose something different. It already exists in Paris- the Renault Value up.
What will become is still a mystery, because if it is true that the characteristics aren’t very economic, it is equally true that it could be a starting point for a future city car ready to be launched in emerging markets. Some months ago it was rumored the possibility that the old Twingo were reused by Dacia brand and offered at the same price of Tata Nano: the Value up could also move in that direction.
After all, the Dacia low-cost formula works, so that in Italy this brand, every month for over a year, increases its sales with double digit.
Translated by Federica Izzo