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MITSUBISHI ENGINEERS COMMENT ON 21st CENTURY CAR ENGINES AND FUELS

 MITSUBISHI ENGINEERS COMMENT ON 21st CENTURY CAR ENGINES AND FUELS
 DETROIT, Feb. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite massive efforts by researchers around the world, car engines will be the same basic structures as they are today until early in the 21st century.
 Refinements, say engineers from Mitsubishi Motors Corp., will come mainly from design improvements to increase power, fuel efficiency, and pollution controls, as well as use of alternative fuels and lighter, stronger materials.
 The Mitsubishi engineers reported on their review of passenger vehicle engines at the 1992 SAE International Congress & Exposition, Feb. 24-28, in Detroit. Nearly 40,000 people are expected to attend.
 The engineers concluded that the existing four-stroke engine powered by gasoline, diesel, or methanol will not be replaced by any other engine until the early 21st century.
 Although the current market trend is shifting toward larger engines, the Mitsubishi engineers think that their higher fuel consumption and increased exhaust emissions will drive the market back to engines of about 2.5 liters, even in a V-6 or V-8 configuration.
 They predict that the industry will turn toward smaller, lighter, and higher-speed engines as an energy-saving approach. Crucial to improved reliability and service-free operation will be improved engine electronics and sensor technology.
 As the automotive industry looks at its use of finite resources, Mitsubishi engineers think that the industry needs to consider a longer useful life for engines, and to design cars that are easier to scrap and contain more recyclable materials.
 In addition to the four-stroke gasoline engine currently used in most passenger cars, the engineers at Mitsubishi reviewed Stirling engines, gas turbines, improved versions of two-stroke engines, electric motors, and hybrid engines.
 While electric cars powered by commercially available batteries offer only a limited driving range, the Mitsubishi engineers concluded that they may be practical for urban areas, particularly when used in combination with fuel cells or solar batteries. Fuel cells convert chemical energy from a fuel such as hydrogen directly into electrical energy.
 The engineers said that attempts to reformulate gasoline are important for both improved engine performance and emission control. A high octane rating permits a higher compression ratio, they said, which may be equivalent to a new, clean fuel.
 In a review of various fuels as alternatives to gasoline, the Mitsubishi researchers concluded that methanol is the most promising. The greatest advantage of methanol, they said, is that it remains liquid under a normal temperature range, although a methanol-powered engine emits several times as much formaldehyde as gasoline. The engineers also assessed ethanol, natural gas, and hydrogen.
 -0- 2/27/92
 /CONTACT: Debra Jacob, 313-393-4400, Ext. 3048, or 412-776-4841, Ext. 456, after Feb. 27, or Barbara Pontello, 412-776-4841, both of SAE/ CO: Society of Automotive Engineers; Mitsubishi Motors Corp. ST: Michigan IN: AUT SU:


ML -- DE006 -- 3154 02/27/92 10:11 EST
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Date:Feb 27, 1992
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