The YouTube series Drive has been doing weekly videos on Koenigsegg, and in this latest they get into the Free Valve technology being developed by Swedish company Cargine AB and Koenigsegg. Free Valve uses a small, individual pneumatic actuator to open each valves and either air pressure or springs to close them. The setup omits the need for camshafts and the related paraphernalia, as well as increasing the programmability, precision and efficiency of valve operation. Engines using the Free Valve system can also be smaller and lighter.

It has been tested for the last two years on a Saab 9-5 wagon that's done 60,000 kilometers so far. Koenigsegg says that compared to a traditional four-cylinder engine, horsepower and torque using Free Valve go up by 30 percent each, while fuel consumption drops by 30 percent and emissions drop by 50 percent.

It won't be ready for mass production for a while yet, and even then it will probably start at the top of the automotive food chain. Nevertheless, it points to a potential new future for the internal combustion engine. Check out the video below to see it in action.


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  • 33 Comments
      NY EVO X MR GUY
      • 1 Year Ago
      This was very informative. When is this guy going to open a school? He has so much real world knowledge and experience that could teach the next generation.
      lasertekk
      • 1 Year Ago
      We all knew they were eventually headed towards this ultimate evolution of the ICE. When you can control the lift of a valve, the duration of that event and even advance/retard of the actual valve opening relative to the combustion cycle, you have total control. I believe the claims they've made to the ridiculous jumps in power and fuel efficiency and reductions in emissions.
        Cory Stansbury
        • 1 Year Ago
        @lasertekk
        Hopefully they succeed. This has been promised tech for a couple decades now. Pretty much every manufacturer has successfully tested fully electronic valves at one point or other. They were always "3 years away" before (I can picture the article in my head now promising it in the next S-class...2 generations ago). Hopefully this time it's for real. I went down the path of solenoid-controlled valves for our Supermileage/Shell Ecomarathon car. With the solenoids, the various dwell/coil collapse issues made timing particularly difficult for a low-budget effort. However, it certainly has massive promise. I think Multi-air can achieve some of these advantages now...and look at the gains it has shown.
      mapoftazifosho
      • 1 Year Ago
      Very well done! Not just the technology, but the video and presentation!
      Kepe
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is awesome, but it's nothing new. Fiat has had its MultiAir technology for over three years now, and MultiAir engines have received two "New engine of the year" awards (2010, 2011). So actually this all started at the bottom end of the automotive food chain.
      Ron
      • 1 Year Ago
      Isn't this pretty much what F1 cars have been doing for the past few decades? I think there are even some MotoGP motors that run cam-less?
        Kepe
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Ron
        Fiat already has this in some if its engines. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MultiAir
      k_m94
      • 1 Year Ago
      I can see this totally ending the debate between the low weight and compactness of pushrod 2v engines and the cylinder breathing and valve timing control of DOHC 4v engines. 1 cam is lighter than 4 cams, but zero cams is lighter than both. And the most complicated VVT systems today are nothing compared to controlling each valve individually without bothering with a camshaft whose timing is tied with the crankshaft rotation. The amount of valve control this affords over camshafts is comparable to the amount of fuel delivery control electronic fuel injection offers over carburetors. F1 has tech like this, but they are hampered with only being allowed a fixed valve timing setting as per rules. If F1 engines had this degree of freedom, they could rev as high as they want and not sacrifice nearly all their torque below 10,000 rpm.
      Jonathan Wayne
      • 1 Year Ago
      Watched all the videos with this guy and he is amazing. His knowledge of cars and his cars is fantastic and his attention to detail is maniacal. He, like Pagani has convinced me his cars are worth a million dollars plus, Henessey, not so much.
      LW
      • 1 Year Ago
      Awsome. Now if I had a novelty balloon business, I can fill my balloons up with the deactivated cylinders.
      Paul Tluczek
      • 1 Year Ago
      Isn't this kind of like Fiat's Multiair system and BMW's valvtronic system?
        Brian P
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Paul Tluczek
        Sorta but not really. Those mechanical systems are still following a cam profile, but by various methods are tampering with the mechanical ratio between cam and valve. This system can open or close the valve at any time whatsoever. It's only capable of opening the valve to full lift, but normally this is not a problem if you can shorten the duration instead, if you don't want the cylinder to fill completely (e.g. part throttle cruise - where most engines spend most of their time anyway). It can even open and shut the valve multiple times per cycle, if it proves advantageous to do so. For example - Want EGR? Then you open the exhaust valve for the exhaust stroke as usual, shut it to let the piston pass through TDC, then open and shut it during the intake stroke in addition to having the intake valve open.
        RJC
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Paul Tluczek
        This takes MultiAir to the next step. Total elimination of the camshaft. Completely variable valve lift, duration and phasing. But I have no doubt the next generation of MultiAir will do the same.
      wonky donky.
      • 1 Year Ago
      What they seem to need is a multiple mini-solenoid-array. One that can drive the valve out to different distances based on the actuation of multiple solenoids in a ring-topology, or a single, with multiple detents along its range of travel. That way you can approximate in an integral way, the 'area under the curve' in increasing increments of accuracy up to a limit at-which it is no longer necessary to add more finely-granularized bits of travel; eg. similar to the way only a certain number of speeds in a trans are efficient, after that it doesn't add anything. Once they do that, the issue of fixed-solenoid-movement-distance is solved and a smoother, more camshaft-like travel can be achieved. -Hopefully, reducing weight, size, etc. and making Electronic-ignition as efficient as Christian talks about. Love to see that day!
        Kepe
        • 1 Year Ago
        @wonky donky.
        The point of this tech is not to mimick the function of a normal cam shaft design. The point is that you can quickly fully open and close the valve without any restrictions at all. Fiat already has this tech in their MultiAir engines, and in those the ECU may open an intake valve multiple times within the same suction cycle of the piston to optimize the operation of the engine.
      Kurt
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why don\'t they just use solenoids instead of having to add on a pneumatic system (compressor, accumulator, dryer)? You can just replace your solenoids like you do your spark plugs as regular maintenance. Your car already has an electrical system. There is so much that can be implemented to increase performance and efficiency but so many of them add a whole nother system to an already expensive and heavy vehicle.
      Plunger 2x
      • 1 Year Ago
      He'd better get this technology to market before EV's become the norm..
        Drakkon
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Plunger 2x
        I'm convinced there will always be both ICE and EV. The power density in octane can't be denied. The portability and storage of octane can't be denied, but for many people with reliable, clean power and short commutes, EVs make a lot of sense.
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