Boretti, A. and Scalzo, J., "Novel Crankshaft Mechanism and Regenerative Braking System to Improve the Fuel Economy of Light Duty Vehicles and Passenger Cars," SAE Int. J. Passeng. Cars - Mech. Syst. 5(4):1177-1193, 2012, doi:10.4271/2012-01-1755.
Improvements of vehicle fuel economy may be achieved by the introduction of advanced internal combustion engines (ICE) improving the fuel conversion efficiency of the engine and of advanced power trains (PWT) reducing the amount of fuel energy needed to power the vehicle. The paper presents a novel design of a variable compression ratio advanced spark ignition engine that also permits an expansion ratio that may differ from the compression ratio hence generating an Atkinson cycle effect. The stroke ratio and the ratio of maximum to minimum in-cylinder volumes may change with load and speed to provide the best fuel conversion efficiency. The variable ratio of maximum to minimum in-cylinder volumes also improves the full load torque output of the engine. The paper also presents an evolved mechanical kinetic energy recovery system delivering better round trip efficiencies with a design tailored to store a smaller quantity of energy over a reduced time frame with a non-driveline configuration. Simulations show an improvement of full load torque output and fuel conversion efficiency. Brake specific fuel consumption maps are computed for a gasoline engine 2 liters, in-line four, turbocharged and directly fuel injected showings significant fuel savings during light and medium loads operation. Results of vehicle driving cycle simulations are presented for a full size car equipped with the 2 liters turbo GDI engine and a compact car with a downsized 1 liter turbo GDI engine. These results show dramatic improvements of fuel economies for similar to Diesel fuel energy usage and CO2 production. The turbo GDI engines with the alternative crank trains offer better than hybrids fuel economies if the vehicles are also equipped with the mechanical kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) recovering the braking energy to reduce the thermal energy supply in the following acceleration of a driving cycle.