Imagine - an Engine without cams
For the last 100 years timing was more or less fixed. But since the internal combustion engine is a highly dynamic device this gave engineers a massive headache ever since.
They invented the lot: variable timing thanks to VANOS, even variable lift like VTEC and so on. Every major manufacturer has these systems today. And if you ever get your hands on a modern system like Porsches Variocam Plus or Audis Valvelift System with included cylinder on demand technology - you will be absolutely staggered.
But since a couple of years some swedish geniuses are working to solve all the problems that come with camshafts. Now they seem to be ready.
Of course you've heard of it: Freevalve. A sister company of Koenigsegg and if their claims to be mass production are ready things will be great again for the ICE.
Imagine the freedom of controlling every single valve indivudually. Lift, duration, even the speeds of opening and closing. Idling with only a handful of cylinders, midrange with half of the lot and full power with all of them and the angriest cam profile imagineable.
No need for a timing belt, no chains, no failure in tensioners, no rocker covers, no cams (obviously), no nothing. There is so much mechanical complexity gone, it's really is unbelievable. The only thing you need are a couple of pneumatic-hydraulic-actuators, some integrated oil and air lines and a bit of cheap electronics to control the lot.
As a benefit you get the best possible air/fuel-mixture thanks to the full control of the air flowing into the combustion chamber in every single cycle. No need for fancy tricks like direct fuel injection - which comes with rather bad emission behaviour and the need of expensive aftertreatment. There is even no need for a throttle body.
But those facts sounded to good to be true since they first ramped the idea. Now the have the first couple of engines installed in other cars than their original Saab 9-5 based testbeds. It's the new Chinese manufacturer Qoros which will bring the Freevalve system to the market first.
The company which made huge press a couple of years ago with a well-known engineer and designer team is struggling to sell their small sedans, wagons and SUVs. The Freevalve system is therefore a perfect way to keep attention high. (And their PR guy comes from Sweden...)
This is the torque curve of their 1.6 litre I4 turbocharged engine. A massive 320Nm and 230hp are the result, where the conventional unit just pushed out 156hp and 200Nm.
Fuel savings are noted with 15% overall - which is not to bad keeping in mind, that modern engines are right at the limit of every driving cycle and no human being is able to achieve those numbers. As the Freevalve system provides you with the perfect cam profile in every situation the driveability of those engines must be nothing short of spectacular.
And - this is a rather big one - you save so many moving, as well as complex parts, that the Freevalve engine is nearly 10% lighter than a conventional one. The Qoros unit weighs a hefty 20kg more than the Freevalve-equipped mill.
A torquey cam for idling along and within seconds a firebreathink high lift-long duration cam for maximum attack - how wonderful would that be?
Please Freevalve, please Koenigsegg, please Qoros, hurry up, we need you more than ever!