Qoros will use Koenigsegg technology to get rid of camshafts

Koenigsegg is not only the producer of hypercars. It is also a technology developer of the highest level. It comes as no surprise that Qoros, the most surprising Chinese manufacturer, has teamed up with the Swedish company to introduce a new engine. To be more precise, the agreement has been with FreeValve, a sister company to Koenigsegg, but look who was there to sign the contract…

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Yes, Christian Von Koenigsegg himself. And this is the engine Qoros has presented as a concept, but which we believe will remain as such for a short period of time. For a company that wants to stand apart from its competitors, Qoros will need more than having the safest cars in block. It will need cutting-edge technology, such as the QamFree presents.

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This engine, a 1.6 turbocharged petrol unit, uses a system called Pneumatic-Hydraulic-Electric-Actuator (PHEA for short). This system replaces not only the camshaft, but also the throttle body, lowering pumping losses. Besides that, the lack of the traditional camshaft allows each valve to be individually controlled. Both Koenigsegg and Qoros use a very nice metaphor to express that: an engine with camshaft is like a piano player that has all its fingers connected (or with his hands attached to each end of a broomstick, in Koenigsegg’s example). The PHEA allows each valve to be “played” independently. And that is music for engine efficiency.

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According to Qoros, the QamFree engine spends about 15% less fuel than a traditional engine. This is achieved in part with a higher compression ratio without the need of a direct injection system. That also makes the engine emit less pollutants. The lack of camshaft and throttle body reduces turbo lag, since the engine does not need a snuffle valve. The last advantage the system offers is a lighter engine, since the PHEA demands less space than a camshaft and all the necessary components it uses.

Two problems prevented a “camshaftless” engine in the past: the lack of an efficient control system and price. The control system is electronics, so it is pretty solved. The price matter would need  a high production scale in order to be feasible. Will Koenigsegg and Qoros solve this last problem? A Koenigsegg Regera with PHEA will not have cost problems. A Qoros 3, on the other hand…

Gustavo Henrique Ruffo

I have been an automotive journalist since 1998 and have worked for many important Brazilian newspapers and magazines, such as the local edition of Car and Driver and Quatro Rodas, Brazilian's biggest car magazine. I have also worked for foreign websites, such as World Car Fans and won a few journalism prizes, among them three SAE Journalism Awards and the 2017 IAM RoadSmart Safety Award. I am the author of "The Traffic Cholesterol", a book about bad drivers that you can buy at Hotmart, Google Play, Amazon and Kobo.