Eco-Motive has patented a dual-fuel “H” engine that is capable of burning either gasoline or compressed natural gas (CNG). The engine is very different from the converted gasoline engines you see in most of today’s dual-fuel vehicles, such as the Ram or Chevrolet trucks with the capability.
Converted gasoline engines for natural gas have inherent inefficiencies when running on natural gas (usually CNG). Eco-Motive gets around that by having two engines smashed together and sharing a common block. Here’s how they describe it in their patent filing:
The twin vertical bank hybrid internal combustion H-engine system disclosed herein is basically two separate engines, each one operable on a different fuel type and housed within the same engine block, and each one having individual lubrication systems but sharing a common power transmission system.
The idea is to have dedicated engines for each of the two fuels, sharing as many common parts as possible. One side has fuel delivery and lubrication tuned for standard gasoline while the other has fuel delivery and lubrication tuned for compressed natural gas. The driver merely chooses fuel type (and thus engine) with the press of a button.
This gives us two things to think about:
1. How, exactly, is having two engines sitting in the car, only one of which runs at a time, “efficient?” It would seem obvious that lugging around a non-running engine is a waste of resources and vehicle weight. Oh, hang on, hybrids do that a lot.. Woops, sorry Volt owners.
2. Can both run at the same time and give the car amazingly awesome speed ala the BMW i8? I’d totally drive a Camry Hybrid if it could do 0-60 in 4 seconds.
It’s hard to imagine how, exactly, the H dual-fuel system is superior to the current conversions already on the market. Outside of being a dedicated dual-fuel system, it’s not very convincing.
What do you think? Chime in below.