14 New Toyota Engines Seek 10% Gain in mpg
Toyota Motor Corp. will reveal 14 new gasoline engines through 2015 in a long-awaited powertrain overhaul that aims to boost fuel efficiency by at least 10 percent. This will lead to clean-burning Atkinson cycle engines, once reserved for electric-gasoline hybrids, across the lineup to non-hybrid vehicles in segments from compact to premium. The major disadvantage of the Atkinson cycle is low power. But the automaker says it has boosted performance by increasing combustion ratios. Over the next two years the 14 engines will come to the market and they will cover 30 percent of Toyota’s lineup. The new technology also will underpin engines using direct injection and turbo charging.
The automaker did not reveal the vehicles that will get the engines. The first two small-displacement power plants, a 1.0- and a 1.3-liter engine, are expected to be deployed in non-hybrid compact cars for the Japanese market. They mark a couple of firsts for the world’s biggest automaker. The new engines will be Toyota’s first Atkinson cycle power deployed in a non-hybrid. They are also the first engines developed at the company’s new Powertrain Joint Development Building, a massive 12-story R&D center that opened last year.
Toyota aims for its new engines to deliver fuel economy gains of at least 10 percent over the engines they replace. The new 1.3-L, four-cylinder engine will achieve thermal efficiency rates of 38 percent, while the 1.0-liter, three-cylinder one delivers 37 percent, compared with 35 percent for the engines they replace. Higher efficiency means more energy from internal combustion is captured to power the wheels and less is lost through heat. The new efficiency rates are on a par with the 38.5 percent ratio achieved in the current engine of the Prius hybrid.