A heck of a lot of time ago, hypercar manufacturer Koenigsegg announced that it’s going to revolutionize the ICE with FreeValve technology. And the first vehicle to demonstrate how the FreeValve engine operates IRL is, to much surprise, the Qoros 3.
“The Qo-what now?” As a brief reminder, the 3 is a Golf-sized car built by Qoros Auto Co., a joint venture consisting of China-based Chery and the largest holding company in Israel. The Qoros 3 is available with a 1.6-liter four-banger in either N/A or turbo form. But the 3 in the featured photo, however, is equipped with a camless engine intended for mass production.
Previewed by a Qoros 3-based concept back in April, the camless engine will be fired into life on the Qoros stage at the 2016 Guangzhou Motor Show later this month. Developed by FreeValve AB, a company that’s closely related to Koenigsegg, the FreeValve engine displaces 1.6 liters, makes use of a turbocharger, and develops 230 hp and 320 Nm (236 lb-ft) of torque.
According to FreeValve AB, there are a lot of advantages over a similarly sized engine with a traditional camshaft. As the name implies, the magic of the FreeValve is that there’s no camshaft in there to operate the valves. Other things the FreeValve engine lacks is the cam drive, throttle body, timing gear, timing cover, wastegate, pre-catalytic converter, and direct injection system.
Urban Carlson, CEO of FreeValve AB, said that the “production-intent engine offers Qoros significant savings in emissions, cost, and weight. It also offers many benefits to vehicle owners in terms of a near 50 percent increase in both power and torque, while actually reducing fuel consumption.“ Christian von Koenigsegg agrees wholeheartedly, adding that the first live demo of the camless engine is a step “closer to mass production of FreeValve technology.”
The display at Guangzhou of the first drivable FreeValve-engined vehicle will be followed by more research & development before actual production begins. In this regard, Qoros will run a fleet of 3 hatchbacks equipped with FreeValve technology to further refine the Swedish company's design.
FreeValve began to develop the groundbreaking technology in 2000. The camless engine is made possible by a contraption called a “pneumatic-hydraulic-electronic actuator,” a.k.a. the part that replaces the camshaft. Will the camless engine design make it into production, probably under the hood of a future Koenigsegg? Fingers crossed we'll find out soon enough.