Nissan claims a huge engine breakthrough with ICE
The ICE is dead, long live the ICE
As institutions keep pushing for electrification in the car industry, some automakers are determined to prove that ICEs can be just as 'green' by using clean fuel. Porsche recently made a sizeable investment to figure out how to produce synthetic fuel and now Nissan is working on an updated e-Power hybrid system. The Japanese manufacturers believes this to be a "breakthrough in engine efficiency" because it has reached a 50% thermal efficiency.
Thermal efficiency is the percentage of heat energy that is transformed into usable power. To put that into perspective, Toyota's Dynamic Force Engine is 'only' 40 percent efficient, while most ICEs are usually 20% thermally efficient. In a press release, Nissan said that their "latest approach to engine development has raised the bar to world-leading levels, accelerating past the current auto industry average range of 40 percent thermal efficiency, making it possible to even further reduce vehicle C02 emissions".
The new e-Power unit features an on-board petrol engine that powers the battery, which is in turn powering the electric unit, sending power to the wheels. Nissan strengthened the in-cylinder gas flow and the ignition, thus diluting the air-fuel mixture at a higher compression ratio. This, according to Nissan, is enough to reach 46% thermal efficiency, while the remaining 4% comes from "waste heat recovery technologies".
Nissan first unveiled their e-Power technology in 2016 and they're still working on it, even though the company actually said they want to become carbon neutral by 2050 and sell hybrids or EVs only in key markets by 2030.