How Many Fuels Can Your Car Drive On?

I have to hand it to them. Those guys at Lotus Engineering are really thinking big. We always hear about hybrids that run on gasoline and some other fuel, like used vegetable oil. Prince Charles of England even has a car that is powered by wine – hmmm, I wonder if it can drive a straight line.

Anyway the "Lotus Cars Limited" engineers will be unveiling their new engine at the 79th Geneva Motor show. The great thing about the "Omnivore concept engine" is that it can run on many different kinds of fuel. It is designed to give maximum power for any type of fuel used.

One of the big difficulties with making flex fuel engines is that each fuel had its own combustion characteristics such as burn rates and octane ratings combustion temperatures. It is difficult to get one engine to operate efficiently with several fuels. Lotus solves this problem through using sensors that detect the fuel composition. These sensors "instruct" the engine to vary the compression ratio to get the most out of each kind of fuel. This will be a huge breakthrough and should become practical to produce in the next few years.

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