MultiAir turbocharged and downsized engines can achieve up to 25 per cent fuel economy improvement over conventional naturally aspirated engines with the same level of performance. Maximum power is increased by up to 10 per cent thanks to the adoption ofa power-orientated mechanical camshaft profile. Low RPM torque is improved by up to 15 per cent through early intake valve closing strategies that maximise the air mass trapped in the cylinders. Elimination of pumping losses brings a 10 per cent reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, both in naturally aspirated and turbocharged engines with the same displacement. Optimum valve control strategies during engine warm-up and internal exhaust gas recirculation, realised by reopening the intake valves during the exhaust stroke, result in emissions reductions ranging from 40 per cent for unburnt hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide (HC/CO), and up to a 60 per cent cut in oxides of nitrogen, (NOx). Constant upstream air pressure, atmospheric for naturally aspirated and higher for turbocharged engines, together with extremely fast air mass control, cylinder-by-cylinder and stroke-by-stroke, result in a superior dynamic engine response, and enhanced driving pleasure. MultiAir is applicable to all internal combustion engines, regardless of the fuel used. It can be adapted for diesel engines to reduce their NOx emissions and make particulate filters significantly more effective.
In short, an engine equipped with Fiat MultiAir technology is more powerful, more responsive across the entire engine speed range, uses considerably less fuel, and reduces all types of exhaust emissions by a substantial amount. It will also assist in enabling Fiat to maintain its lead in low emissions and low fuel consumption technology, which has seen Fiat crowned for the past two years as the number one car maker for the lowest range-wide CO2 emissions.
The first new engine to be equipped with MultiAir will be the 16-valve 1.4 litre family of naturally aspirated and turbocharged engines, and the first car to go on sale with MultiAir installed will be the Alfa MiTo at the end of 2009. Its second application will be as an integral part of a new two cylinder engine family.
The operating principle of the system, applied to intake valves, is the following: a piston, moved by a mechanical intake camshaft, is connected to the intake valve through a hydraulic chamber, which is controlled by a normally open on/off solenoid valve.
When the solenoid valve is closed, the oil in the hydraulic chamber behaves like a solid body and transmits to the intake valves the lift schedule imposed by the mechanical intake camshaft.
When the solenoid valve is open, the hydraulic chamber and the intake valves are de-coupled; the intake valves do not follow the intake camshaft anymore and close under the valve spring action.
The final part of the valve closing stroke is controlled by a dedicated hydraulic brake, to ensure a soft and regular landing phase in any engine operating conditions.
Through solenoid valve opening and closing time control, a wide range of optimum intake valve opening schedules can be easily obtained.
For maximum power, the solenoid valve is always closed and full valve opening is achieved following completely the mechanical camshaft, which is specifically designed to maximise power at high engine speed (long opening time).