Automotive supplier Valeo claims that camless engines will be a reality by 2008, eliminating one of the most antiquated and limiting portions of the internal combustion engine. Opening the valves with an electromechanical actuator not only gives much more control over valve timing (the single largest determining factor in engine performance), but also has the potential to improve the amount of time that the valve spends at maximum lift while also reducing the effects of valve float. That's good for power and economy. The exact fuel savings are still in question, while experience with aftermarket camshafts suggests that peak power improvements of 25-50% are likely. It seems that this would combine quite well with a CVT, with the engine and transmission working together to obtain peak operating efficiency. 12V electrical systems have always been considered to be one of the factors preventing such technology from reaching the market, and it's not clear whether Valeo's technology depends on the long-awaited switch to 42V systems. If so, then we might have to wait longer yet for such technology.
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