Department of Mechanical Engineering

Next generation low carbon engines

Downsizing is the term given to installing a small engine in a vehicle but meeting the performance aspirations of the driver by designing the engine to operate at extremely high powers if and when needed.
Most of the time, however, the engine behaves as a small one and therefore delivers improved fuel economy.


— Professor Chris Brace, PVRC Deputy Director

The Powertrain and Vehicle Research Centre (PVRC) is leading in cutting-edge research to push existing internal combustion engine technology to its limit.

Our Ultraboost project is part of a £5 million consortium with Jaguar LandRover, Lotus Engineering, Shell, GE-Precision and CD-Adapco,to develop the next generation of petrol engines for 2018.

Extreme engine downsizing

Ultraboost investigates extreme engine downsizing to reduce 35 per cent of CO2 emissions in engines.  It pushes the limit of downsizing by aiming to replace Jaguar’s current 5.0-litre V8 engine with a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder one, a 65 per cent reduction in engine size.

Sustainable personal mobility with low CO2 footprint

A downsized engine produces low CO2 emissions similar to those achieved by hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs). However, a downsized system is more cost effective because HEV batteries use exotic materials such as lithium and rare earth materials in their motor magnets.

Our target of 35 per cent improvement in CO2 emissions means a potential saving of 42,000 tonnes per year based on 2008 Landrover Discovery production volumes, and 220,000 tonnes when scaled across other products in the Jaguar Landrover range.

The success of the Ultraboost project lies in our ability to deliver highly accurate experimental measurements in a robustly controlled environment.

To date we have evaluated two prototype engines and have already achieved 27 per cent improvement in CO2 emissions as well as proving that the engine can deliver the same power output as the V8 engine to replace.