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Update on ACCESS fuel economy project

A key project is under way in the USA aiming to boost fuel economy of petrol powered light duty vehicles by as much as 30 per cent: without compromising performance.

Known as ACCESS (Advanced Combustion Concepts Enabling Systems and Solutions), it is a four-year project supported by $24million from the US Department of Energy. It involves several partners, including the likes of Robert Bosch LLC, the University of Michigan and AVL Powertrain Engineering.

Recently, an update was provided on the ACCESS project as part of the 2013 SAE World Congress, which revealed that its focus will be on: multi-mode combustion events meant to optimise engine performance while improving thermal efficiency; the development of robust and flexible algorithms; and the design of a powertrain system that will allow for advanced combustion and control strategies.

Cadillac CTS Red

At the design stage, the team is replacing a 3.6litre V6 engine in a Cadillac CTS (pictured) with a modified 2.0litre I4 Ecotec engine. The focus has been on GTDI technology for downsizing as well as homogenous charge compression ignition (HCCI). They are making a number of design changes to the engine: including the use of dual direct and port fuel injection strategy.

In addition, the team has used vehicle simulation with an AVL Cruise. They found that the result of using a 2.0litre I4 GTDI with HCCI alone can be a 42.4 per cent improvement in fuel economy compared to the baseline engine.

Now the team will add start-stop control technologies and thermal management in the hope of stretching the fuel economy improvement to as much as 48.9 per cent.

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Paul Lucas

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