Niche way to keep the V8

En­gines will get smaller but the big favourite stays, writes NEILDOWLING in Paris

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

GOOD news for petrol­heads — the V8 en­gine will not die any time soon. Even the head of small-car hy­brid de­vel­op­ment for Gen­eral Motors in Europe be­lieves the V8 will have a life which ex­tends well into the fu­ture of the au­to­mo­bile.

‘‘We won’t see the end of the V8, even though in the fu­ture it may be niche mar­ket only,’’ says Mike Ar­camore, GM Europe vi­cepres­i­dent of pow­er­trains.

But Ar­camore does fore­cast, like every­one from Volk­swa­gen to Porsche, that there will be smaller and more-ef­fi­cient en­gines.

‘‘You will see a lot more small­ca­pac­ity en­gines such as four and six-cylin­der pow­er­plants with tur­bocharg­ing,’’ he says

For Aus­tralia, Ar­ca­mone fore­casts a small ‘‘mild’’ hy­brid, prob­a­bly based on the As­tra, which would be ready within two years. A full hy­brid with a com­plete petrol-elec­tric driv­e­train will ap­pear in 2012, in an­other ex­ten­sion of the lo­cal hy­brid plan for the Holden Com­modore.

He says car­mak­ers have a global task to com­bat ris­ing oil prices and sat­isfy the need for lower fuel con­sump­tion and emis­sion lev­els.

‘‘It’s one task to march to­wards zero emis­sions,’’ he says. ‘‘But we can’t do it alone. Con­sumers and gov­ern­ments must as­sist us in this.’’

Ar­ca­mone says GM has the tech­nol­ogy to make cars run on lowe­mis­sion and sus­tain­able ethanol.

‘‘ The Swedish Gov­ern­ment pushed hard to cre­ate the in­fra­struc­ture so E85 (85 per cent ethanol fuel) is read­ily avail­able,’’ he says. ‘‘But the gov­ern­ments of other coun­tries have not given any as­sis­tance. Every­one has to con­trib­ute.’’

Ar­ca­mone says GM’s first move will be to down­size en­gine ca­pac­ity.

‘‘Then we will com­ple­ment the in­ter­nal-com­bus­tion en­gine with a mild hy­brid us­ing ‘start-stop’ tech­nol­ogy that au­to­mat­i­cally switches off the en­gine when the car is sta­tion­ary— such as in heavy traf­fic or at the traf­fic lights— then turns it back on again,’’ he says. ‘‘It will also have the abil­ity for the driver to turn the sys­tem off in cases where the stop is very short.

‘‘We see this mild hy­brid as lowen­try tech­nol­ogy that suits high­vol­ume ve­hi­cles. We are still do­ing val­i­da­tion on that sys­tem.’’

Power shift: the move is to­wards smaller, power-ef­fi­cient en­gines but this V8 will still be around.

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