GM Partners with Startup for 15 Percent Boost in Fuel Economy (VIDEO)

Jan 05, 2015 01:30 PM EST | Jordan Ecarma


General Motors has collaborated with a Silicon Valley startup to develop Dynamic Skip Fire, new ignition system technology that will purportedly increase fuel economy in gasoline engines by as much as 15 percent.

Developed by Tula Technology and funded by GM Ventures, the infinitely variable cylinder deactivation system built on the new technology allows only the necessary cylinders to fire depending on performance needs.

"Instead of relying on fixed cylinder deactivation or switching between fixed patterns like current multi-cylinder engines, Tula's DSF technology continuously makes dynamic firing decisions on an individual cylinder basis to deliver the required engine torque for all vehicle speeds and loads while avoiding vibration," the automaker described.

GM has been tight-lipped about DSF's technical details and hasn't indicated if the new technology will replace the electrically controlled valve lifters in the automaker's current cylinder deactivation systems or be integrated to work with them, Automotive News reported.

DSF would likely be implemented in production of the next-generation V-6 and V-8 engines expected in 2017, according to Automotive News.

"This technology holds the potential to improve fuel economy on select GM vehicles without degrading power capability when it's required," Jon Lauckner, GM vice president of global research and development, said in a statement. "This joint effort combines software expertise from Silicon Valley with powertrain expertise from General Motors."

The Detroit, Mich.-headquartered automaker has invested in around 20 startups as part of its GM Ventures arm to develop new technologies. GM invested in Tula Technology in 2012.

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