MCE-5 VCRi: Pushing back the fuel consumption reduction limits

It has low fuel consumption

To lower the fuel consumption of cars without sacrificing performance

Fuel consumption is one of the main issues linked to cars. It is the basis for the calculation of incentive or deterrent taxes on CO2 emissions, is paid for at the pump for each kilometer driven, and determines a vehicle’s range and also its resale value.

Apart technological achievement,
vehicle performance and on-board services
directly determine their fuel consumption

Increased engine efficiency is the most
determining factor in fuel consumption reduction

The fuel price at the pump gives
the maximum acceptable add-on cost
for each gram of CO2/km eliminated

Talking about reducing fuel consumption without talking about performance makes no sense: performance is one of the main factors that determine fuel consumption. At equal weight, overall dimensions and on-board features, the higher the acceleration potential and top speed of a vehicle, the higher its fuel consumption during standard use. The most economical vehicles are small and light with poor performance levels. On the contrary, big, sporty 4-wheel drive SUVs bring together all of the factors that lead to high fuel consumption.

All other things being equal, various technologies can reduce fuel consumption. Some of them allow energy needs to be reduced while offering the same features, while others can improve engine efficiency to get the most from the energy contained in the fuel. During ordinary driving, most of the energy released by the engine through fuel combustion is lost as heat (roughly 80%). This poor efficiency is one of the first levers that we can act on: increasing engine efficiency by 10% decreases the vehicle’s fuel consumption by 10%. If absolute average engine efficiency increases from 20 to 30%, the vehicle’s fuel consumption will drop by 33%. The problem is that there are few opportunities to drastically improve the efficiency of IC engines, and the rare possibilities are expensive.

It is essential to reduce fuel consumption and the associated CO2 emissions but this leads to additional costs since the required technology must be paid for. The technologies developed must be as efficient as possible from an energy standpoint and have the lowest cost price possible. The aim is to reach the lowest cost/benefit ratio possible. This ratio is expressed in euros per gram of CO2 eliminated. The higher the cost of gas at the pump and the higher the CO2 penalties, the easier it is to justify high cost for each gram of CO2 eliminated.

In the end, it’s the vehicle’s cost price per mile (CPM) compared with the performances that it provides that is decisive for the end customer. The CPM corresponds to the car’s purchase price plus maintenance and fuel costs, minus its resale value, divided by the number of miles that the end customer plans to drive. Given the main energy, environmental and regulatory trends, the average CPM of a car should increase over the coming years faster than purchasing power will. This will lead to the stagnation or even the decrease in average annual mileage. To stay within a bearable CPM, it is probable that the end customers will move towards smaller, inexpensive and fuel-efficient vehicles with more modest performance. This is a serious threat to the automotive industry: lower mileage means a slower renewal of vehicle fleets (drop in annual vehicle registrations), while lower performance levels will decrease the turnover and profitability of each vehicle (low-cost vehicles).

In this context, MCE‑5 VCRi technology offers the lowest cost/benefit ratio possible at this level of energy efficiency. It maintains performances at their highest levels and has a low impact on the vehicle’s sales price. These qualities are vital to ensure the future profitability of the automotive industry.

Even a basic MCE‑5 VCRi MPFI engine remains profitable for end customers