A subsidiary of Swedish supercar marque Koenigsegg has been working on a new type of valve system for engines that does away completely with the camshaft, hence the descriptor “camless” is often used. That subsidiary is FreeValve (previously Cargine), which has published a video that shows the inner workings of its revolutionary engine.
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The engine relies on pneumatic valve actuators to open valves, which are then closed by air pressure or springs. Each of the valves can be controlled individually, which enables infinitely variable valve lift and duration as well as easy cylinder deactivation. A pneumatic valvetrain also draws less energy from the engine than conventional cams.
This is all said to result in both significant gains in output (up to a 30 percent increase in horsepower and torque) and a jump in fuel economy (also up to 30 percent). Overall emissions are said to be reduced significantly as well.
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So what’s the hold up? Reliability, refinement and noise levels aren’t up to scratch and remain the biggest hurdles in the technology's advancement. And while such technologies won’t ultimately save the internal combustion engine from being replaced by electric motors in more and more cars, they should at least help prolong it.