Hyundai is developing a 1.8-liter engine that burns gasoline but works like a diesel. Such engine – called GDCI for gasoline direct compression ignition -- would lead to a 25 percent fuel economy gain over a comparable gasoline engine, and would cost less to buy and operate, according to Hyundai. Diesel averages about 60 cents more per gallon than regular gasoline in the United States.
Hyundai’s engine, however, does not require a system that injects urea into the exhaust to trim emissions, unlike other diesel powerplants. Compression ignition allows for the pressure in the cylinder to ignite the fuel and is used in a diesel engine, in contrast to spark plugs that burn the fuel in a gasoline engine.
The Hyundai GDCI engine, even if it uses gasoline, contains no spark plugs. It uses both a supercharger and a turbocharger and has exhaust valves that open twice instead of once per cycle. This extra opening attracts heat, which together with the pressure of being compressed in the cylinder, ignites the fuel.
The South Korean carmaker is planning to commence vehicle testing in 2014 using a fleet of Sonatas. Nayan Engineer, Hyundai's manager of engine design and testing, remarked that they are still early in the development stage, “but it is looking very, very promising." Hyundai has been working on the concept and has collaborated with Delphi Corp. and the University of Wisconsin.
The engineering work and testing is being conducted at Hyundai's technical center in suburban Detroit. John Juriga, director of powertrain engineering at the tech center, said that GDCI technology “is very promising,” and will be a “game-changer." During the dynamometer testing, the GDCI engine is seen to be developing around 180 hp. [source: automotive news - sub. required]