Geneva Motor Show: Lotus Engineering showcase efficient component designs

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Lotus Engineering have launched a production-ready, highly advanced cylinder head with integrated exhaust manifold (IEM) which is designed to reduce manufacturing costs, emissions and weight on most petrol-engined passenger vehicles.

Lotus estimates that for a typical DOHC 16-valve 1.6 cylinder petrol engine, the IEM can:
  • cut up to 5 percent off the total build cost
  • reduce catalyst light-off time by up to 20 percent
  • reduce powertrain mass by up to 5 kg
  • improve engine durability
Analysis: Lotus have been developing their automotive engineering consultancy over the last few years to offer efficient components and design solutions to OEMs. This IEM is a good example of their R&D efforts returning solid, incremental performance and emissions reductions improvements.

Full press release after the jump.

[Source: Lotus press release]
Lotus Engineering launches 'Integrated Exhaust Manifold' Design Capability

Cuts Cost, Emissions and Weight

Lotus Engineering will showcase a highly advanced cylinder head with integrated exhaust manifold (IEM) at the 77th Geneva International Motor Show. The production-ready technology can significantly reduce manufacturing costs, emissions and weight on most gasoline-engined passenger vehicles.

The cylinder head on display, for a small 3-cylinder engine, is the latest of a number of IEM designs developed by Lotus Engineering as part of its world-renowned consultancy business.

Following its development programmes, the UK automotive engineering consultancy estimates that for a typical DOHC 16-valve 1.6 cylinder gasoline engine, an IEM has potential to:
* cut up to 5% of the total build cost
* reduce catalyst light-off time by up to 20% (approx five seconds)
* reduce powertrain mass by up to 5 kg
* improve engine durability

Geraint Castleton-White, head of powertrain, Lotus Engineering said: "Two key drivers for OEM's are cost-down and the reduction of CO2 emissions. Our IEM technology brings to a practical reality an established principle that has been very challenging to implement in production. Over a series of design projects, we have developed a proven expertise in the application of IEM designs, and we can now deliver the significant benefits of this technology to our clients."

Mike Kimberley, Chief Executive of Group Lotus plc, said: "Efficient performance is a core focus of Lotus Engineering and we are working on many ways to drive down CO2 emissions. With our numerous on-going bio-fuel, Hybrid and electric vehicle projects based on Lotus' fundamentally ecologically-designed products using all-aluminium low weight structures for exceptional fuel economy with extreme driving pleasure, we are continually reinforcing our position as world leaders in 'green' automotive engineering."

By integrating the manifold tracts into the cylinder head the parts count is reduced significantly, saving costs throughout the development cycle and supply chain, from inventory and assembly to aftermarket supply. Emissions reduction is achieved by locating the catalyst very close to the cylinder head which reduces exhaust gas heat loss upstream thereby cutting the catalyst light-off time. The reduction in overall engine heat loss is achieved through minimising the surface area of the manifold by keeping the exhaust tracts within the head. Through intelligent cooling jacket design, heat is retained in the engine rather than lost to the engine bay, accelerating engine warm-up so it more quickly reaches optimal efficiency. This also benefits the HVAC performance, reducing windscreen demist and passenger cabin warm-up periods.

Engine durability is improved as a result of the reduction of thermal stresses in the engine. With the exhaust manifold integrated into the cylinder head, the stresses usually associated at the interface of different materials, for example where the cast iron exhaust and the aluminium cylinder head meet in a conventional design, are eliminated. Also, due to the design of the cooling jacket and coolant routing, the coolant heats up far quicker, resulting in a more uniform heating of the entire engine, again contributing to reduced stresses in the engine.

Integrating the exhaust manifold reduces the mass of the engine, further increasing overall vehicle efficiency. It also results in a more compact overall engine and reduced packaging demands for the engine under the hood, delivering a range of subsequent benefits for vehicle packaging. Lotus Engineering has already proved the concept to production readiness in several demonstrator programmes with a variety of cylinder head configurations.

Detailed benefits:
* Ultra-low CO2 emissions with reduced cost
o Reduction in emissions through faster light-off of close-couple catalytic converter
o Reduced BOM and assembly cost
o Reduced catalyst loading requirement
* Vehicle integration benefits
o Reduced overall weight
o Reduced package space requirements
o Improved underhood thermal management
o Faster cabin heater warm-up
o Higher vehicle integration flexibility
o Improved NVH
* Additional benefits
o Reduced windscreen demist time
o Reduced thermal distortion
o Improved overall engine durability

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