GM's New DSF Cylinder Deactivation System Could Boost Fuel Economy 15%

General Motors and Silicon Valley start-up Tula Technology have partnered to create a new infinitely variable cylinder deactivation system known as Dynamic Skip Fire, or DSF for short. Unlike GM's late and unlamented V8-6-4 system that flopped in the early 1980s, DSF can run a gasoline engine on almost any combination of even and odd cylinders resulting in significant fuel savings.

GM uses a form of cylinder deactivation technology in their current series of V-6 and V-8 small block engines but it “only” provides an average 5 percent gain in fuel economy. That system employs electrically controlled valve lifters that shut down four cylinders in V-8 engines and two cylinders in V-6 engines when their power isn't required.

DSF, on the other hand, takes the theory of cylinder deactivation to a new and higher technological level through the integration of advanced digital signal processing and software that selectively fires the spark plugs in response to driver input expressed foot-to-accelerator. Instead of restricting cylinder shutdown to a set percentage of the whole, DSF's infinitely variable cylinder deactivation system fires the exact number of cylinders required to deliver the specified level of performance. The system is tuned so finely that ANY number of cylinders can run the engine regardless of the number being even or odd.

Tula Technology, Inc. of San Jose, California has been developing DSF with funding received from GM Ventures LLC and is one of about 20 start-up companies invested in by GM since 2010. “This technology holds the potential to improve fuel economy on select GM vehicles without degrading power capability when it's required,” said Jon Lauckner, GM's vice-president of global r&d, in a prepared statement. “This joint effort combines software expertise from Silicon Valley with powertrain expertise from General Motors.”

Barring any setbacks, DSF will probably be featured on GM's next generation small block V-6 and V-8 engines set to debut in 2017-model vehicles. Not ALL vehicles, mind you: GM plans to introduce DSF in trucks, SUVs and rear-wheel drive cars such as Chevrolet's Corvette and Camaro... Cadillacs need not apply. (via Automotive News and Auto World News)

Jan 6, 2015
by lisaharris7

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