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Orbital-Changan engine another step closer

Front L-R: Changan's ICCS project director, Dr Zhan, Orbital's project manager, Nick Coplin, Orbital's director of engineering, Geoff Cathcart, and technical members of the ICCS team.

Aussie direct-injection tech hits another target with more power, lower emissions

General News logo1 Aug 2011

AN ADVANCED direct-injection fuel delivery system developed by Perth’s Orbital Corporation is one step closer to being integrated into production vehicles from China’s second-largest domestic passenger car manufacturer, Chongqing Changan.

Orbital this week announced its FlexDI system had passed a crucial ‘vehicle demonstration gateway’ by helping to lower the fuel consumption of Changan’s new Intelligent Compound Combustion Systems (ICCS) engine by up to 20 per cent while increasing performance and meeting the Euro 4 emissions standard.

Fitted to Changan’s new ICCS engine in a demonstrator vehicle, Flex-DI passed a significant engineering milestone by increasing performance while reducing fuel consumption by as much as 40 per cent at idle compared to a conventional engine fitted to the same model.

Changan said it would now consider production applications for FlexDI after the successful integration of Orbital’s patented fuel-injection system with its ICCS engine.

“Having achieved best-in-class fuel consumption with the ICCS engine, Changan will give greater consideration to where the technology from the ICCS, including Orbital’s FlexDI, may fit with future product plans,” said Changan’s ICCS project supervisor Dr Zhan.

“Changan plans for Orbital to continue to be a valued services and technology partner as we move forward.”

The Australian-developed FlexDI technology has been fitted to more than 650,000 scooters, ATVs, marine outboards and auto-rickshaws worldwide since 1996, but has not previously been seen in a passenger car.

As GoAuto has reported, the unique air-assisted fuel-injection system will also be fitted to a petrol engine that will become available in at least one model to be launched in Australia by start-up Melbourne company EDay Life.

EDay vehicles are being developed by an unnamed company that is claimed to be China’s largest independent automotive designer and ‘original design manufacturer’.

EDay’s smallest prototype model – the E15 hatchback, which made its local debut at the recent Australian International Motor Show in Melbourne – will be joined by the larger E25 hatchback and HS11 hybrid sports coupe concept.

The E25 is based on an existing petrol-powered five-door hatchback already on sale in China and will be the first to hit the road in Australia, but with styling modifications specifically for EDay.

Changan, which sells a range of passenger and commercial vehicles under its own brand in China, also manufactures vehicles in joint-ventures with Ford, Suzuki and PSA Peugeot Citroen.

It commissioned Orbital to integrate FlexDI into its new ICCS four-cylinder engine in 2009, to meet tighter fuel consumption laws due in effect next year in China, where variable fuel quality remains a challenge for car-makers.

Changan was established in 1996 and was rated China’s fourth-biggest auto-maker with 2.38 million vehicles (including trucks) in 2010, behind SAIC, Dongfeng and FAW.

Announced in May 2009, when Orbital invested $2.4 million in an 18-month proof-of-concept development contract to fit its Australian-designed DI system to Changan’s current petrol engine family at its Perth engineering centre, the Orbital-Changan project attracted a $440,413 grant from the Australian government’s now defunct Green Car Innovation Fund.

“Changan’s achievements with the ICCS engine complement their growing portfolio of products, which will reduce costs to consumers and help to improve the air that we breathe,” said Orbital CEO and managing director Terry Stinson yesterday.

“I congratulate Changan for their investment in innovative technologies to improve vehicle fuel economy and emissions.”

Earlier this year Orbital said FlexDI reduced the fuel consumption of Changan’s existing D20 four-cylinder engine by up to 40 per cent, while increasing torque output by 10 per cent.

At the time, it said Changan testing on the ICCS engine revealed a fuel consumption reduction of more than 27 per cent at a typical part-load engine speed of 2000rpm, and by more than 40 per cent at idle.

Apart from Orbital’s FlexDI system, Changan’s ICCS engine concept incorporates the latest low-friction components, plus variable valve timing, variable valve lift and exhaust gas recirculation.

In its Changan application, FlexDI aims to deliver best-in-class fuel consumption while meeting Euro 4 emissions standards, but is adaptable to suit almost all alternative fuels, including hydrogen.

Orbital’s LPG division – Orbital Autogas Systems – is the original equipment supplier for HSV’s Australian-first Liquid Propane Injection (LPI) system and will also supply Ford with the Falcon’s upcoming sequential liquid-injection EcoLPi gas system.

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