Volkswagen LogoVolkswagen currently has a few futuristic engine projects running concurrently – one is a diesel engine that uses some petrol engine properties and another is a petrol engine that uses some diesel engine properties.

It calls its experimental diesel engine a “Combined Combustion System”. It’s a diesel engine that can run on synthetic fuels, uses air-fuel mixing style of a gasoline engine, 70% exhaust gas recirculation to reduce NOx emissions, low CO2 output and virtually no soot. This will be road ready within the next 10 years.

The petrol-powered engine uses a special compression ignition system at low engine speeds to help improve fuel economy and emissions. It ignites the air-fuel mixture through high compression using the piston alone, without any spark.

Fuel economy could improve by 17% using this method compared to a conventional spark-ignition system, but at medium to high engine speeds conventional spark ignition is used. This is similar to Honda’s Activated Radical Combustion technology, which also works at relatively lower engine speeds of below 4,000rpm.

Volkswagen is also working on a hybrid engine as well as a fuel cell engine, but it’s executive director for group research Jürgen Leohold did not comment on that matter, instead preferring to focus on the new enhancements to both petrol and diesel technology. “Diesel and petrol engines have had long evolutions, but there is more to be gained,” he said.