There’s a lot of tech that comes out these days that seems incredibly obvious in retrospect, enough so that sometimes it seems like companies are reading your mind for ideas. I do this a lot although I also tend to think that there’s usually a reason why those innovations never see the light of day. I remember thinking a long time ago, a time when I was more intimately acquainted with the internals of my car’s engine bay than I am today, that the engine valves on engines could be independently driven rather than using the camshaft like most do today. As it turns out there’s actually been quite a bit of development work in this area with a few camless engines in production today. None of them are as cool as the technology that Koenigsegg has developed however as their camless engines could prove revolutionary for the entire auto industry:
So the gear heads among you will probably be aware of things like VTEC and VVT-i which have been the standard way to give cars good fuel economy at the low end whilst also allowing them to achieve better acceleration and top speed. The Free Valve technology is like the next step in that technology allowing you to have almost limitless numbers of valve profiles. Additionally the response curve of the valves is very different to what you’d traditionally see, something which I didn’t think would provide any benefit. As the video dives into though you can see that there’s numerous advantages to this type of valve control system. Showing it running on a production model Saab was quite impressive too as it shows that it wasn’t just a concept technology that would never see the real world.
What really got me though was the Free Valves ability to hook up to a compressed air tank. It’s akin to the regenerative braking systems that electric and hybrid vehicles employ today except this one works on cars that don’t use electric propulsion. It’s a powerful idea for a couple reasons, most notably that you could use this to overcome the most inefficient periods of an internal combustion engine, namely acceleration and idle. Of course there’s also the flip side of it being used to make high performance cars even faster something which I’m sure will make its way into the next generation Koenigsegg supercars.
I’m still an advocate for an all electric future, at least for consumer level transportation, but technology like this is still incredibly useful for where electric simply doesn’t make sense. Hopefully this tech will make its way down to production cars sooner rather than later as even if those savings are only half what they claim they are that’s still an incredible amount of greenhouse gasses not entering the atmosphere. Plus I’m sure everyone would be welcoming of cars that use less fuel but provide more power as I know I certainly would.