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Given that the traditional four-stroke Otto-cycle engine piston engine only has a thermal efficiency of 25-30 percent, there is clearly still plenty of room for improvement. While most of the green automobile attention in recent years has been focused on electrification, liquid fuels still have about 100 times the energy density of today's best lithium-ion batteries, a difference that probably won't change significantly any time in the near future.

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2011 Lincoln MKX – Click above for high-res image gallery

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At the SIA (French Automotive Engineers Society) Congress in Rouen, France this week, Delphi will be presenting information on its latest-generation direct fuel injection and control systems for diesel engines. Delphi produces both electromagnetic servo injectors and the more advanced piezo-electric injectors. For the latest editions of both systems, Delphi has bumped the maximum operating pressures from the 2,000 BAR level that has been used in the last few years up to 2,400 BAR (34,800 psi). T

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Mercedes-Benz 4.7-liter twin-turbo V8 – Click above for high-res image gallery

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It's no secret that BMW, like many other automakers, is working on smaller three-cylinder engines for its future products in order to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Some of those engines will go into the next generation of Mini products. Mini's goal is to provide a significant improvement in fuel economy without sacrificing performance.

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It's no secret that BMW, like many other automakers, is working on smaller three cylinder engines for its future products to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Some of those engines will go into the next generation of Mini products and the goal is to provide a significant improvement in fuel economy without sacrificing performance.

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In the automotive realm, marketing can sometimes prove just as important as the actual product. Take, for instance, Ford's well-regarded EcoBoost technology, which couples turbocharging with direct injection to produce more horsepower and reduce fuel consumption. Would it surprise you to hear that General Motors has had similar technology on the market for over three years?

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In the automotive realm, marketing can sometimes prove just as important as the actual product. Take, for instance, Ford's well regarded EcoBoost technology, which couples turbocharging with direct injection to produce more horsepower and reduce fuel consumption. Would it surprise you to hear that General Motors has had similar technology on the market for over three years?

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Last March at the Geneva Motor Show, Lotus announced its new Omnivore research engine. The Omnivore is a two-stroke direct-injected engine designed to take advantage of the latest in electronic engine management and run on just about any liquid fuel (hence the name). In the time since the initial announcement, the boffins at Lotus Engineering have been exercising their creation on the dyno stand to evaluate its performance.

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Last March at the Geneva Motor Show, Lotus announced its new Omnivore research engine. The Omnivore is a two-stroke direct injected engine designed to take advantage of the latest in electronic engine management to allow it to run on just about any liquid fuel (hence the name). In the time since the initial announcement, the boffins at Lotus Engineering have been exercising their creation on the dyno stand to evaluate the performance.

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Hyundai 2.4L Theta-II GDI - Click above for high res image gallery

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Hyundai 2.4L Theta-II GDI - click above for high-res image gallery

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testing Hyundai's Theta II DGI engine - click above for high-res image gallery

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testing Hyundai's Theta II DGI engine - Click above for high-res image gallery

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The great risk in predicting the future is that the odds are great that you will be wrong. Every once in while, though, you nail the ideas almost dead on. For some amusement, it's always fun to go back and peruse old issues of magazines like Popular Science and Popular Mechanics to see what they predicted cars would look like in the next century (that would be the one we live in right now).

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Mazda Kiyora Concept set to debut at the Tokyo Motor Show – Click above for high-res image gallery

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Direct injection is exciting technology in that it allows car enthusiasts to have their cake and eat it too. How so? By both improving fuel efficiency and increasing horsepower. This being the case, it's not surprising that automakers from all ends of the world are embracing the tech and selling their resultant wares right here in the U.S. of A.

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Mazda3 with i-Stop - click above for high-res image gallery

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Ford iosis Max Concept - Click above for high-res image gallery

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2010 Hyundai Sonata being evaluated on a Detroit area freeway

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2010 Hyundai Sonata being evaluated on a Detroit area freeway

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