Cylinder Deactivation Technology Developments
Powertrain optimization with fuel-efficient high-performance engine units
Automotive OEMs are now required to adhere to stricter fuel efficiency and emission standards. Engine downsizing has assisted in achieving this with turbocharging deployed to maintain total power output. Under an alternative to only turbocharging, cylinder deactivation technology offers temporary downsizing of the engine’s volumetric capacity, throughout areas of low demand in the engine operating envelope. This aims to gives the end user an adequately powerful and more fuel-efficient engine whilst maintaining the same or a similar level of driving comfort. For the technology developers, the ease of integrating this into prevailing engine technology is expensive and technically challenging, but it is effective and inherently essential. The changes in design of the engine under cylinder deactivation is not limited to restriction of fuel injection and ignition in respective cylinders, but extends to the pistons, camshaft drive operation, valve actuation and control. With little compromise to ignition sequence and dynamic balancing, the optimum thermodynamic potential is realized with synchronized deactivation of cylinders in accordance with the ignition sequence. It is expected that future powertrains will have advanced forms of cylinder deactivation in their power unit.