Because of strict U.S. emission regulations, the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group will target Europe first when it starts production of the newest diesel powerplant R-Engine for passenger cars next year for first applications in new models of the Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe, Tucson, and Sonata.
“Current U.S. emission regulations are as tough as Euro 6 and will cost us lots of money to meet them,” said Seong-Hyon Park, Senior Executive Vice President, at the Power Train R&D center of Hyundai-Kia. “Because of that enormous cost, our new R-Engine will fit into Euro 5 first.”
Hyundai-Kia is selling gasoline but not diesel-fueled passenger cars and SUVs in the U.S. now, although it knows there is a growing demand for more fuel-efficient engines such as cleaner diesels in the U.S.
“Initially, we thought about going to [the] U.S. market with diesel in early 2011, but it is getting expensive to satisfy U.S. emission regulations because we have to arm our cars with such equipments [as] selective catalytic reduction (SCR) with urea injection,” Park said. The latter represents equipment needing a “separate infrastructure we have to add to (our diesel cars) to enter U.S. diesel car market as a newcomer into the market,” he added.
Current rising diesel-fuel prices in the U.S. is another stumbling block for Hyundai-Kia to gain access to the diesel market with its Euro 6 technology, Park said in an interview at the automotive group’s headquarters building in Seoul.
“I think Euro 6 could replace Euro 5 in around 2014, but because of current rising diesel prices in the U.S., there might be no advantage (merit) for us of selling diesel cars in the U.S. beginning, possibly, in early 2011,” said Park, adding that other global automakers are also getting increasingly reluctant to market their diesel products in the U.S.
Saying Hyundai’s diesel development capabilities are world-class, Park said the R-Engine is fitted with a close-coupled diesel particulate filter plus highly efficient exhaust gas recirculation with by-pass valve as part of its efforts to achieve Euro 5 emission compliancy.
The R-Engine benefits from the third-generation common-rail system developed by Bosch, whose piezoelectric injectors deliver fuel at 1800 bar (26.1 ksi) for an unprecedented degree of accuracy and control, said Park, adding that it also features a variable-geometry turbocharger and an advanced engine control unit using air system-based charge control.
With an output of 181 hp (135 kW) and 40 kg∙m (289 lb∙ft), the R-Engine, shown to the press at the 8th Advanced Diesel Engine Technology Symposium held at the Hyundai-Kia Namyang R&D Center near Seoul, is ahead of the rest of the class, surpassing all German and French competitors, Park said. The 2.2-L version puts out 197 hp (147 kW) and 44.5 kg∙m (322 lb∙ft).
The R-Engine adds an important component to Hyundai-Kia’s full line of diesel-engine families of the U-Engine (1.1, 1.4, and 1.6 L), A-Engine (2.5 L), and S-Engine (3.0-L V6), Park said.
“Because we have achieved the full lineup of diesel engine, we don’t have any immediate plans for the production of other diesel engines for the coming 10 years,” Park said. “But, in the meantime, we will have to focus on improvement of (our engine) fuel efficiency, technologies, and satisfaction of Euro 6.”
Developed by a 150-person team at an investment cost of 250 billion won, the R-Engine harnesses Hyundai-Kia’s newest and most advanced development tools, Park said.
Computational fluid dynamics, structural analysis, and thermal analysis were used to optimize its design, while computerized simulation of the die casting process was employed to achieve the optimal balance of strength and low weight.
Over 500 prototype engines were built during the 42-month-long development period, which encompassed a wide variety of performance and emissions tests as well as endurance, NVH, cooling, and lubrication studies, Park said.
The all-aluminum R-Engine is fitted with 16 valves and dual overhead camshafts driven by an “internal steel silent timing chain,” Park said. For reduced vibration and lower booming noise, the R-Engine gets a lower balance shaft encased in a stiffened ladder-frame housing for increased rigidity.
Weight-saving features include a serpentine belt with isolation pulley and plastics for the head cover, intake manifold, and oil-filter housing.