AD #2271 – Saudi Oil Company Backs Achates Engine, AVs Produce a Lot of Data, Mazda Sees Opportunity for Rotary Engine

January 18th, 2018 at 11:54am

Runtime: 7:47

0:28 Achates Claims Engine Delivers 37 MPG in F-150
1:33 GAC’s Trumpchi Brand Not for the U.S.
2:51 AVs Produce Unprecedented Amount of Data
3:38 Mazda Still Sees Opportunities for Rotary Engine
4:59 Big Truck Sales Soar in America
5:54 PSA Outlines EV, AV & U.S. Plans

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25 Comments to “AD #2271 – Saudi Oil Company Backs Achates Engine, AVs Produce a Lot of Data, Mazda Sees Opportunity for Rotary Engine”

  1. buzzerd Says:

    We sold lots of trucks in Canada but they were metric big rigs so it’s not the same.

  2. RS Says:

    Metric big rigs also use metric fuel injectors so they are way more efficient

  3. Lambo2015 Says:

    Achates engine sounds almost too good to be true. Maybe big oil is a bit concerned with all this electrification? So raise the bar a little higher making that EV struggle to compete, especially at 480 ftlbs of TQ.
    Its no secret what US OEM is interested in this technology seeing how they placed it in an F150.

  4. Lambo2015 Says:

    A bit surprised at the spread in fuel economy on the Achates engine. Assuming the combined is equally split between city and Hwy. The city would be 32 with Hwy 42.

  5. Frederick Schmidt Says:

    Cheers for the Achates engine design! New methods to achieve better fuel economy is the future of engines. Its good to see someone is moving foward with technology to balance the electric powering of cars and trucks.

  6. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Achates engine has always sounded intriguing, but after 10+ years with no real evidence that it works, I had about decided that it is vaporware. Maybe we will now find out, with some real money behind the engine.

    They claim that it is simple, which it is in come ways, not having a valve train, but having two crankshafts and all of those gears connecting them, and the supercharger, doesn’t seem so simple.

    John and Sean, let us know if the truck actually runs, and moves under its own power at the show. If so, what does it sound like? The engine is basically a two stroke triple, so it might sound like a 1970′s Kawasaki 500 bike.

  7. phred Says:

    The automakers should look over the NASA program “Big Data” that is tasked with the receiving, storage, and “searchable cataloging” of the space data that is returned to earth. The data program requirements vastly exceed what you are talking about for autos. And it funded by taxpayer money!

  8. Ukendoit Says:

    I was just reading the comments on yesterdays show debating diesel/ICE range extenders. I was going to ask what you all thought about a small rotary engine for that purpose since there was previous Autoline talk of improving the seals and efficiency of them. Looks like Mazda was already thinking the same thing. The link on my name shows an odd spherical engine proposed for hybrids that could have the generator (rotor & stator) connected directly to the motor element.
    That Achates display makes me wonder what’s going on with that OPOC modular engine that was on here a few years ago? (Its also mentioned in my link.)
    Looks like people may think outside the box to come up with engines designed around the needs of generators/range extenders rather than the slightly different demands of moving an entire vehicle as more electrics hit the road.

  9. buzzerd Says:

    Big data – I can see it opening up big problems. So if the police want to know if you were in the area of a crime will they be able to download the data to use against you ?

  10. Lambo2015 Says:

    Planning a big robbery buzzard? lol
    I believe the biggest obstacle for the Achates engine is emissions. Notice the animation doesnt really show the intake and exhaust ports. Being as Kit mentioned basically a two stroke the emissions have always been a problem.

  11. buzzerd Says:

    I like to keep my options open :]

  12. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #8 A rotary engine should be good for an “occasional use” range extender, in a car like an i3, because rotaries are small and light for their power. They were never very efficient, but if the engine is only used for a few per cent of the car’s driving, that wouldn’t matter much.

  13. G.A.Branigan Says:

    OP engines have been in use for decades in ships,and a WWII german bomber that could fly non stop from germany to south america. Not vaporware.

  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    10 The Achates engine is lubricated without oil in the fuel, so it wouldn’t have one of the emissions issues of a regular two stroke. It seems that overall emissions would depend on how complete the combustion is, and how much NOx the engine would generate. If I understand it right, the supercharger blows air in the ports at one end of the cylinder, purging the exhaust out the other end. Maybe we will find out one of these years.

    The concept is interesting, and some of the claims seem valid, especially the low combustion chamber surface area/volume ratio, generally a good thing for thermal efficiency.

  15. John McElroy Says:

    #4. Lambo, EPA fuel economy figures are based on 55% city driving, 45% highway.

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    13, G.A.

    Interesting video. I bet there was a lot of noise in that area.

    In #6, I didn’t mean vaporware as in not working at all, but in not having any advantage over other engine designs. Generally, if a particular design for something as mature as a gasoline engine is the best, it would have become the “standard” years ago. Surely almost every car company in the world hasn’t been completely wrong for 80 years, in making all of these Otto cycle engines with poppet valves, have they? Maybe we’ll find out.

  17. Albemarle Says:

    I like Mazda cars a lot, but I think the company is not thinking straight. As recent as 6 months ago, they were spouting the “no need to even consider electric” line. No sooner than they acknowledge their error and start talking about some electrification than they start thinking their Wankel engine is part of a solution. They have a death wish.
    I didn’t know they had so much extra cash. So, which Chinese company does Mazda go to? Who has vehicles almost ready for the NA market that wants an established dealer network? GAC?

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I don’t get it with Mazda and Wankel engines. Unless things have changed, their main virtue is small physical size, for their power output. On the other hand, they are thirsty, dirty, and no one knows how to work on them. Also, I’ve heard that they don’t last too long, but that could be bad, or old info.

  19. Bruce Melton Says:

    Base on the info provided on the Achates engine, this could be an ideal engine for marine applications due to a very low center of gravity if the engine were rotated 90 degrees – same as Porsche and Subaru “pancakes.”

    As for the Mazda Rotary – “Who Cares?”

    Low torque-high RPM design good for one race (if it did not blow the seals). Mazda needs to spend their development money on making sure their SHCCI (?) engine will last – Mazda does not need to waste eng. & development money on the rotary. They cannot afford another flop like the rotary!

  20. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Kit: The later OP marine diesels were actually pretty quiet. It’s the diesel powered hydro pumps,generators,air compressors etc.I think some of our Coast Guard ice breakers still use the OP’s for main power.

  21. Earl Says:

    #1 & #2…Up there in Canada they’re soon using metric money. They’re not getting caught up on that Bitcom stuff.

  22. Lambo2015 Says:

    #19 Bruce I agree that the rotary engine news just seems like a distraction to keep people talking about Mazda . I mean it has a fan base but reliability and emissions are its greatest issues. It has low thermal efficiency and would be like trying to bring back the carburetor.

  23. FSTFWRD Says:

    @19 Bruce. I don’t consider the rotary engine a “flop” at all. Yes, it was very thirsty and quite the emission producer, but it had it’s place. Compact with a lot of HP (no torque) lent itself to smaller sports cars. Was always surprised that Mazda never offered it as a high performance option in the MX-5. I don’t think it would be the engine to power a generator though. We’ll see what the engineers come up with. Remember, it’s the only Japanese car/engine to win overall at Le Mans.

  24. Kit Gerhart Says:

    A Wankel engine has one main virtue. It is small and light for its lower output. Mazda should not waste their money on it.

  25. Chuck Grenci Says:

    With no way to oil a rotary’s seals (without introducing polluting hydrocarbons), I don’t see a future for the engine. Mileage and power may be areas of improvement but at this point they are fairly far behind other technologies in economy, power, pollution and longevity, it seems a waste to revisit, at least in the automotive industry.