At the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), Achates Power and new development parter Aramco Services (earlier post) showcased a Ford F-150 fitted with a 3-cylinder, 2.7-liter Opposed-Piston Gasoline Compression Ignition (OPGCI) engine. (Earlier post.)
Fabien Redon, Vice President, Technology Development at Achates, said they estimate that the OPGCI pickup will achieve 37 mpg (6.35 l/100 km) on the combined cycle—nearly five MPG better than the proposed CAFE 2025 requirements for a vehicle of a similar size. The OP engine produces 270 hp and 480 lb-ft (651 N·m). This performance is achieved without vehicle modifications and is projected to cost $1,000 less per vehicle than widely accepted technology roadmaps currently being considered by OEMs, Achates said.
The Achates Power Opposed-Piston (OP) Engine is engineered to achieve superior thermal efficiency by virtue of its lower heat losses, improved combustion, and reduced pumping losses.
The OP Engine eliminates the cylinder head for an improved surface-area-to-volume ratio of the combustion chamber for reduced heat transfer and rejection. In addition, conventional engine valvetrain and related components are eliminated, and due to the architecture the OP Engine offers a reduction in the aftertreatment system size and cost. A comparison between the 2.7L OP Engine and a comparable V6 with supercharger shows a part reduction of more than 60%, enabling an approximate 10% cost reduction.
To fit the OP engine—with its fundamentally different shape—into the F-150 engine bay, Achates packaged its engine in a V-shape (approx. 30˚), with the cylinder bank angled on one side and the air handling and auxiliary units packaged on the other, Redon said. The pictures and video below illustrate the major components.
We chose to demonstrate our ultra-clean, ultra-efficient OP Engine in a full-size light-duty pickup truck because of the significant need and opportunity for improvement in this segment. These trucks are driven more miles, sold in higher volume, consume more fuel and emit more CO2 than other light duty vehicles. Using our OP GCI engines in light duty trucks would reduce CO2 and fuel usage in the same way as completely eliminating half of all cars sold each year. Using our OP GCI engines in future light trucks has the same fuel savings and CO2 reduction as completely eliminating more than half of the cars sold each year.
An Opposed-Piston Engine is 30-50 percent more fuel efficient than comparable diesel and gasoline engines, it is a no-excuses way to meet future efficiency and emissions standards. The technology and infrastructure to meet these future standards exists and will be available for consumers in the near future.
—David Johnson, president and CEO, Achates Power
Achates Power is showing the light duty demonstration pick up truck in the Aramco display as part of a joint development agreement, which formalizes the cooperative relationship between the companies. Achates Power and Aramco have agreed to work together on a series of projects to develop and demonstrate highly efficient and clean OP engines. The first project to be announced is the in-vehicle demonstration of the 2.7L OP Engine.
For its part, Aramco Services has been investigating gasoline compression ignition engine technology for a number of years, and came to the conclusion that it would be mutually beneficial to work with Achates, with that company’s decade-plus worth of expertise and intellectual property in the field, said David Cleary, Research Center Leader at Aramco Services Company.
Achates has been developing diesel-fueled (compression ignition) opposed piston engines since its founding in 2004. The company has demonstrated substantial fuel efficiency savings in diesel applications with a high indicated thermal efficiency of 53%. (Earlier post.)
The OP GCI engine—an effort to combine the benefits of compression ignition with a readily available fuel source (gasoline) in the highly efficient opposed-piston architecture—was designed and developed by Achates Power with a $9-million award from the Department of Energy’s ARPA-E in 2015, along with partners Delphi and Argonne National Laboratory. Testing of the OPGCI engine was conducted at Argonne, and Achates Power facilities in San Diego.
Development and testing of the new 2.7L engine will continue at Achates Power facilities, and at Aramco Services research center in metro-Detroit, for both diesel- and gasoline-fueled versions. (Earlier post.) Based on current testing, the engine is anticipated to be fully integrated into the vehicle and drivable in late 2018.