It’s two-stroke, is direct-injected, has variable valve timing, doesn’t need a spark plug, and has a variable compression ratio that maxes out at an incredible 40:1. Oh, and it’s also at least 10 percent more efficient than a conventional gasoline engine and can run on virtually any liquid fuel. It’s the Omnivore, a super-efficient prototype engine by Group Lotus, and now you can see how it works in real time thanks to a slick Flash animation.
Group Lotus has been working on the Omnivore for a while, but now they’re really gaining momentum. In recent testing they proved that the two-stroke mill is 10 percent more efficient than similar-sized direct-injeciton gasoline engines, and it burns cleaner to boot. That’s thanks to a free-floating “puck” that slides up and down at the top of the combustion chamber to vary compression ratio based on engine load and type of fuel. It also has a Trapping Valve on the exhaust side that varies duration.
Check out Group Lotus to see for yourself how it works. It’s an incredible design that could eventually lead to 500cc auto engines cranking out 150 horsepower while returning 50-plus miles to the gallon.