Sparkless ignition technology is nothing new. In fact, diesel engines rely on it. However, its use in gasoline engines is very rare but the potential of a gasoline engine that combines the torque and fuel economy of a modern diesel with cleaner emissions is obvious.
Mercedes-Benz is one of the leaders in this area, calling its technology DiesOtto and even previewing it in the F700 concept car back in 2007. According to a new report, the technology is not dead and that Mercedes-Benz is working on a production version.
The initial concept engine was a small twin-turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder that delivered an amazing 238 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Initial testing showed fuel consumption at around 39 mpg, and this was in a large S-Class sedan.
The technology works by using purely compressive forces to ignite the charged fuel and air mix inside the cylinder at low revs and a spark plug when there’s high load, such as accelerating up a hill.
Speaking with What Car? at the recent 2010 Paris Auto Show, Professor Herbert Kohler, vice president of future mobility at Mercedes-Benz, revealed that a production version is coming within the next five years and testing is still underway.
While the technology is still several years away, savor the thought of combining a sparkless ignition gasoline engine with a hybrid system. Expect to see the DiesOtto debut in a variation of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class in roughly five years.