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New Cylinder-Deactivation Tech Could Boost MPG By 15%

Fuel economy research and innovation may have hit a breakthrough.

A new inexpensive technology called Dynamic Skip Fire (DSF) may keep the internal combustion engine running a few more years by increasing fuel economy by as much as 15 percent.

As the name suggests, the tech allows an engine to deactivate cylinders under light load to reduce fuel usage. Sound familiar? Yeah, several companies including GM, Honda and even Ferrari have used similar systems in the past. The difference is in the word “dynamic.”

Conventional cylinder deactivation turns off the very same cylinders every time it’s activated. Not only can that cause noise and vibration to increase, it has raised concerns about unbalanced wear on the remaining active cylinders.

DFS, however, can deactivate all cylinders as needed to not only keep the engine balanced, but share the load across the entire engine. That also keeps heat evenly distributed, which is where efficiency is increased.

You might think a novel tech like that could require an expensive engine re-design, but the developer, Tula Technology, says and OEM could add DSF to any modern engine design for about $350 per unit.

Though Tula says DSF is ready to roll, no OEM has stepped forward yet to take them up on the tech. But with electric cars gaining popularity, the internal combustion engine can use all the efficiency boosts it can gather.

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