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Lotus Engineering and Continental Division Powertrain have just posted the results of a Low CO2 research project, involving an Opel Astra equipped with a new prototype inline-3 1.5 litre pressure-charged engine.

The test engine was an inline-3 1.5 litre engine with a power output of 160 PS at 5,000rpm and torque output of 240Nm between 2,500rpm and 4,000rpm, equipped with the following specifications:

  • integrated exhaust manifold
  • forced induction (probably supercharging because of the IEM)
  • 10.2:1 compression ratio
  • centrally-mounted direct injection 200 bar injectors from Continental
  • a cam profile switching system for lift and timing also found in Porsche’s Variocam Plus, apparently available off the shelf if any manufacturer wants it
  • a 200 bar high pressure fuel pump
  • a mild hybrid drive using a 12 kilowatt electric motor powered by energy stored in 60v supercapacitors

The result is a CO2 output of 149 g/km CO2, compared to a stock Opel Astra’s 1.8 litre normally aspirated inline-4’s 175 g/km CO2. The Low CO2 project engine produced less emissions, yet produced more power as the Opel’s engine only produced 140 PS and 175Nm of torque.

The Low CO2 project aimed to reduce CO2 emissions while maintaining an engaging driving experience from a set of off the shelf affordable technologies.

Forced induction combined with direct injection is the usual way to achieve these in modern days, but Lotus Engineering wants to demonstrate these technologies can be added to an engine with relatively economical off the shelf components. A 1.5 litre inline-3 sounds like half of a Project NEF engine, which was a supercharged 3.0 V6, so this could have also been demonstration of the modular design of the NEF.