What are the types of engines?

Since the car engine was invented, back in the late 19th century, technology has changed dramatically. However, new types of fuels and the search for energy efficiency are revolutionizing the automotive world and adding new members to this family.

The first internal combustion car engine dates back to no less than 1886. At that time, Karl Friedrich Benz launched the Velo, the first car in history. A creation that opened the market for gasoline engines, to which other vehicles would soon join, such as Henry Ford’s Ford T or ideas such as Commer Knocker’s opposed-cylinder engine, designed for high-power vehicles. However, its consumption and displacement were more typical of a truck than a simple utility.

From these distant dates to the present day, gasoline engines have evolved considerably. In fact, today the old internal combustion engines are in question, mainly due to the polluting effects that these vehicles generate in the environment. For this reason, there are more and more new types of existing engines and those that are under development, having different fuels and operating modes. A revolution that, sooner rather than later, will make the old combustion engine go down in history.

Since there are many existing car engines, we are going to analyze both the different current proposals and the future of each of them.

the gasoline engine

As we said in the introduction, the first engine we are going to refer to is the gasoline engine. It was the first to arrive and has evolved considerably to this day, offering increasingly reduced energy consumption and an adjusted pollution level. Something to which the use of 5W30, 0W30 and similar oils contributes, which help to withstand the increased compression of these engines and improve performance.

This engine has a four-stroke system, by which the gasoline is introduced into the piston, it is compressed and mixed with the air, it is ignited by a spark and movement is produced. A basic approach whose efficiency has been improved with higher compression levels and a higher efficiency in the entry of that fuel, which allows better use of it.

diesel engine

Compared to the traditional standard of the gasoline engine, the diesel engine is the other most common option today. The problem is that the generation of pollution from this type of engine is a serious problem for the environment. These engines generate more particulate matter and a greater amount of carbon monoxide than gasoline vehicles. So what was a cheap solution to mobility has become a serious problem for the air in our cities.

The LPG engine

Although their presence has traditionally been residual, LPG (butane) or CNG (natural gas) engines have always been present in our vehicles. In general, we are talking about mixed vehicles, which also include a gasoline engine and use one of them as needed, using the same types of cylinders for gas as those used in conventional combustion. 

The good news is that, in the current context, this type of vehicle is gradually becoming fashionable and there are even aids to “gasify” conventional gasoline vehicles, as well as for the purchase of cars that include this technology as standard.. Something related to the lower amount of pollutants generated during filming.

electric motor

The electric motor is one of the great hopes for the future of the automotive industry . Vehicles equipped with these engines do not generate pollution while driving and, if they are powered by renewable energy sources, they do not pose an environmental problem either. It is one of the firmest bets of the automotive companies, which do not stop launching models with this technology.

However, these engines have a problem: autonomy. And it is that, compared to the autonomy of diesel or gasoline vehicles, vehicles with an electric motor still do not have enough batteries to offer capacity for long distances. Fortunately, this is another aspect on which research has focused today. It is becoming easier to find vehicles with autonomy of 200 kilometers or more, the limit that is considered adequate for these engines to be practical in large displacements.

the hybrid engine

Although they are not a specific type of engine, hybrid engines are one of the most current proposals and are already part of many passenger cars. The idea of ​​these models is to have a combustion engine, usually gasoline, accompanied by a second engine capable of generating electricity.

During running, the vehicle includes a control unit, which is responsible for identifying which combination is most convenient during the journey. In the city, for example, the electric motor is usually used, while on the road the gasoline motor is used or even both at the same time. A solution that is being very useful to reduce consumption in the most complex parts of driving , as far as fuel consumption is concerned, such as urban routes.

The hydrogen engine

We close this article with an engine that is in its initial stages, although it is called to be the future of the automotive industry. We are talking about the hydrogen engine. This changes the traditional fuel for hydrogen, whose combustion is responsible for generating the energy necessary to circulate. The best news for the environment is that this combustion does not generate any residue , limiting itself to emitting water vapor into the atmosphere. 

The problem arises from the complexity of obtaining this hydrogen and, above all, from the high cost of this technology. However, it is expected that as it becomes more popular it will be affordable for all users and will end up displacing traditional combustion engines.

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