Pawlowski, A. and Splitter, D., "SI Engine Trends: A Historical Analysis with Future Projections," SAE Technical Paper 2015-01-0972, 2015, doi:10.4271/2015-01-0972.
It is well known that spark ignited engine performance and efficiency is closely coupled to fuel octane number. The present work combines historical and recent trends in spark ignition engines to build a database of engine design, performance, and fuel octane requirements over the past 80 years. The database consists of engine compression ratio, required fuel octane number, peak mean effective pressure, specific output, and combined unadjusted fuel economy for passenger vehicles and light trucks. Recent trends in engine performance, efficiency, and fuel octane number requirement were used to develop correlations of fuel octane number utilization, performance, specific output. The results show that historically, engine compression ratio and specific output have been strongly coupled to fuel octane number. However, over the last 15 years the sales weighted averages of compression ratios, specific output, and fuel economy have increased, while the market fuel octane has remained unchanged. Using the developed correlations, 10-year-out projections of engine performance, design, and fuel economy are estimated for various fuel octane numbers, both with and without turbocharging. The 10-year-out projection suggest that a power neutral scenario with 105 RON fuel is the only feasible path to meet CAFE targets if only the engine is relied upon to decrease fuel consumption. If fuel octane is raised to current market premium, the same power neutral scenario is projected to require a 5% reduction in vehicle weight.