Don’t expect any new engines from Nissan (except for trucks)

Colin
By Colin Wood
Feb 11, 2022 | Nissan, Electric Cars, Internal Combustion Engine

Photography Courtesy Nissan, Illustration by Colin Wood

Nissan’s plans for the future? A lot fewer internal combustion engines according to this report from Nikkei Asia.

The article says that Nissan plans to end the development of new engines in many of its core markets and instead focus solely on electric vehicles.

The United States, one of those markets, will supposedly still get a “limited development” of internal combustion engines, but the focus would be on trucks and not cars, citing a “certain level of demand.”

On the other hand, the article notes that Nissan has already phased out gasoline engines for Europe.

This doesn’t mean that Nissan has totally given up on gasoline just yet, as the Japanese car maker will continue to develop engines for use in hybrid vehicles, plus improve the engine designs already in the company’s portfolio:

As gasoline vehicles remain on the roads, Nissan will improve existing engine designs rather than develop new ones. Plants that produce engines will remain open, and no job cuts are planned at this stage, people familiar with the company's plans said.”

Will this move give Nissan an advantage in the EV game, or are they jumping the gun?

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David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
2/8/22 3:57 p.m.

FWIW, I loved my SR20DE.

Tom1200
Tom1200 UltraDork
2/8/22 4:03 p.m.
David S. Wallens said:

FWIW, I loved my SR20DE.

As I've now been flogging the same Nissan A12 engine for the past 38 years I'm pretty sure I'll be fine. 

maschinenbau
maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
2/8/22 4:21 p.m.

I thought Nissan stopped developing new engines like 10 years ago

Maybe they could focus on building a CVT tranny that lasts a while.

secretariata (Forum Supporter)
secretariata (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
2/8/22 5:52 p.m.

In reply to maschinenbau :

No. That was sporty cars & it was 20 years ago...

parker
parker Reader
2/8/22 6:02 p.m.
secretariata (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to maschinenbau :

No. That was sporty cars & it was 20 years ago...

So RWD 2 seaters are not sporty?  Tough crowd.

 

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy MegaDork
2/8/22 6:13 p.m.

There really isn't a whole lot more to be squeezed out of an internal combustion engine.  Certainly not enough to spend six to eight billion to develop an entirely new platform, anyway, because it's not like Ford leaving the flathead behind to build an overhead valve engine.  Any technical improvements developed in the future could be bolt on parts.  The basic architecture is fine. 

 

secretariata (Forum Supporter)
secretariata (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
2/8/22 9:08 p.m.

In reply to parker :

I was commenting on the lack of development considering the "Z" is basically the same since 2003...

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/8/22 9:12 p.m.

In reply to Streetwiseguy :

It's not so much a matter of squeezing more out of it, but decreasing the emissions while keeping the squeeze the same. Also, fuel economy targets are climbing. The gains are getting more and more difficult, that's for sure.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/9/22 7:00 a.m.
parker said:
secretariata (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to maschinenbau :

No. That was sporty cars & it was 20 years ago...

So RWD 2 seaters are not sporty?  Tough crowd.

 

A fullsize pickup can be a RWD 2 seater.  For instance.

 

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/9/22 7:07 a.m.
Streetwiseguy said:

There really isn't a whole lot more to be squeezed out of an internal combustion engine.  Certainly not enough to spend six to eight billion to develop an entirely new platform, anyway, because it's not like Ford leaving the flathead behind to build an overhead valve engine.  Any technical improvements developed in the future could be bolt on parts.  The basic architecture is fine. 

 

There's still room.  

One big fuel economy/emissions gain will be when large engines in MD and HD trucks can run stoich even at full throttle.  That's a hard material issue.

But in terms of emissions and efficiency- there's still a lot that can be done, especially as part of a hybrid system.

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy MegaDork
2/9/22 7:22 a.m.
alfadriver said:
Streetwiseguy said:

There really isn't a whole lot more to be squeezed out of an internal combustion engine.  Certainly not enough to spend six to eight billion to develop an entirely new platform, anyway, because it's not like Ford leaving the flathead behind to build an overhead valve engine.  Any technical improvements developed in the future could be bolt on parts.  The basic architecture is fine. 

 

There's still room.  

One big fuel economy/emissions gain will be when large engines in MD and HD trucks can run stoich even at full throttle.  That's a hard material issue.

But in terms of emissions and efficiency- there's still a lot that can be done, especially as part of a hybrid system.

Sure, there is still room, but how much of it is dependant on creating an engine with different bore centers, or taller deck height?

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/9/22 7:38 a.m.

In reply to Streetwiseguy :

With the shift to heavily underbored engines, enough.

Even still, the head-piston-injector-ignighter system is being incredibly scrutinized, not exactly "bolt on" parts.

maschinenbau
maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
2/9/22 7:40 a.m.
secretariata (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to parker :

I was commenting on the lack of development considering the "Z" is basically the same since 2003...

Exactly. The "new" Z is still on the same platform as the 2003 350Z/G35, and uses an engine architecture from the same decade. 

rslifkin
rslifkin UberDork
2/9/22 7:52 a.m.
alfadriver said:

There's still room.  

One big fuel economy/emissions gain will be when large engines in MD and HD trucks can run stoich even at full throttle.  That's a hard material issue.

But in terms of emissions and efficiency- there's still a lot that can be done, especially as part of a hybrid system.

Agreed.  That's such a big gain that in some cases, I've seen dropping a gear, raising RPM by 40% and getting out of power enrichment when pulling a heavy load yield the same or better fuel economy despite the significantly increased pumping losses at higher rpm / less throttle and higher windage and friction losses. 

gearheadE30
gearheadE30 Dork
2/9/22 8:23 a.m.
alfadriver said:

There's still room.  

One big fuel economy/emissions gain will be when large engines in MD and HD trucks can run stoich even at full throttle.  That's a hard material issue.

But in terms of emissions and efficiency- there's still a lot that can be done, especially as part of a hybrid system.

I'm not sure it is really just a hard material issue. My 8.1, for example, doesn't have PE even at WOT and doesn't have any compensation to make up for it in the VE table or anything. They just dial timing way back to try to limit knock, which is a huge part of why such a big engine is rated at 340 horsepower (325 for the later ones). After all the timing modifiers and KR, if you are running 87 octane you're lucky to see 15 degrees advance at WOT.

Some of the stuff I have seen doing some work with the new Ford 7.3 says that it also has extremely limited PE for the F450+ version. You can't make any power doing this, though. I think the HD version of the Ford engine is down 80 horsepower versus the light truck version and has a torque curve very similar to the old GM 8.1, and it appears to be mostly because of this tuning strategy. It makes a lot of sense for the MD/HD market but consumer demands being what they are, I doubt sales would be very good in the LD market for an engine like that making tiny power numbers today. Talking a little further out of my wheelhouse, but I think there are also some negatives on the NOx side of running near stoich at WOT because you are playing with that fine line of pinging/detonation and things get pretty hot.

The flipside of this is that direct injection can let you do some interesting things with stratified charges that can potentially allow much leaner combustion at partial throttle, but again I think NOx goes through the roof and your controls and injection have to be extremely precise. In practice, this is much easier to do for the life of an engine with diesel than with gas. DI is an architecture jump, but Nissan has already made it on the latest iterations of their engines I think.

 

rslifkin
rslifkin UberDork
2/9/22 8:28 a.m.

In reply to gearheadE30 :

Some engines go pretty light or nonexistent on PE when you first go WOT, but will richen up more if you stay WOT for more than a few seconds to keep things from getting excessively hot.  I'd be surprised if the 8.1 truly has no PE at any point. 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/9/22 8:32 a.m.
Streetwiseguy said:
alfadriver said:
Streetwiseguy said:

There really isn't a whole lot more to be squeezed out of an internal combustion engine.  Certainly not enough to spend six to eight billion to develop an entirely new platform, anyway, because it's not like Ford leaving the flathead behind to build an overhead valve engine.  Any technical improvements developed in the future could be bolt on parts.  The basic architecture is fine. 

 

There's still room.  

One big fuel economy/emissions gain will be when large engines in MD and HD trucks can run stoich even at full throttle.  That's a hard material issue.

But in terms of emissions and efficiency- there's still a lot that can be done, especially as part of a hybrid system.

Sure, there is still room, but how much of it is dependant on creating an engine with different bore centers, or taller deck height?

This is an interesting time, because in the past it looked like VW had painted itself into a corner with their 88mm bore centers so their only options for larger displacement engines was more cylinders.

Now, it looks like they hit the sweet spot...

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/9/22 8:37 a.m.
Streetwiseguy said:

There really isn't a whole lot more to be squeezed out of an internal combustion engine.  Certainly not enough to spend six to eight billion to develop an entirely new platform, anyway, because it's not like Ford leaving the flathead behind to build an overhead valve engine.  Any technical improvements developed in the future could be bolt on parts.  The basic architecture is fine. 

 

Kind of this.  The incremental gains are geometry in the cylinder heads (ever see a late model Mercedes engine's head?) or crazy yet adaptable things like Hyundai's continuously variable camshaft duration.

It should be noted that when Ford hatched the Y block, which had overhead valves and five main bearings and other crazy things, the block itself looked superficially a lot like a Flathead with mushroom tappets and the deck had vestigial valve seat casting holes.

06HHR (Forum Supporter)
06HHR (Forum Supporter) Dork
2/9/22 9:09 a.m.

So, this thing isn't the future then..VC Turbo

j_tso
j_tso GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
2/9/22 9:13 a.m.

Koenigsegg's FreeValve tech is the only recent ICE development that's been exciting for me. No throttle body or camshafts, individually actuated valves were the stuff of dreams when computers started controlling engine functions.

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/9/22 9:14 a.m.

In reply to gearheadE30 :

The enrichment isn't for power, it's for component protection.  For the most part, the heads have been taken care of- valve seat materials have been developed to deal with >1000C without recession.  In the exhaust, you can use cast stainless manifolds, which can exceed 1050C- but the current weakness is the O2 sensors and the catalyst.  There has been a massive change in catalyst washcoats that allow for >1000C exhaust, but they are still being developed.  The part that really has expensive issues are turbos- which is one more reason really large engines are making a comeback.

Dealing with WOT NOx isn't a big deal, as it may seem- as long as you have a good control over the a/f (which everyone really does now), it's easy to convert.   And even for those, there are some add on's in terms of catalysts that are being developed to deal with CO that does an incredible job on NOx.  

The actual power reduction for staying lean is far more about knock than it is about fuel- the fuel on it's own only is about 5% better, but the knock reduction is a lot more.  So if knock can be mitigated at WOT-stoich, that would be the major path.

A very big deal that is coming up in '27 is the requirement that the US06 matches the FTP test in terms of NMOG+NOx for all vehicles.  

There is really a lot coming.

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/9/22 9:19 a.m.
j_tso said:

Koenigsegg's FreeValve tech is the only recent ICE development that's been exciting for me. No throttle body or camshafts, individually actuated valves were the stuff of dreams when computers started controlling engine functions.

Don't hold your breath.  They are the last ones left working on it- as pretty much every OEM out there sunk a lot of money into that without finding a good enough solution.  And since there  are a lot of ideas for much of the freevalve benefits but with a cam driven device- I don't see anyone going freevalve before EV's take over the entire market.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/9/22 9:35 a.m.
alfadriver said:
j_tso said:

Koenigsegg's FreeValve tech is the only recent ICE development that's been exciting for me. No throttle body or camshafts, individually actuated valves were the stuff of dreams when computers started controlling engine functions.

Don't hold your breath.  They are the last ones left working on it- as pretty much every OEM out there sunk a lot of money into that without finding a good enough solution.  And since there  are a lot of ideas for much of the freevalve benefits but with a cam driven device- I don't see anyone going freevalve before EV's take over the entire market.

Interesting, I figured Freevalve wouldn't make it to market before EVs took over, but it seemed like a sure thing that it would for whatever ICE vehicles are still being produced...the benefits seem huge if you can make it last. I assume the cam-driven alternative would be something like a combination of desmodromic valves and BMW's valve-throttling?

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/9/22 9:44 a.m.

In reply to alfadriver :

The triple K (now Borg Warner owned?) turbo in my Volvo is supposedly rated to 1700F EGT.  They were proud of it enough that they put it in the car's technical press release in 2003.

I have no idea what the actual material is, sadly.

gearheadE30
gearheadE30 Dork
2/9/22 9:45 a.m.

In reply to rslifkin :

Not to derail the thread too much but the 8.1 has a 60 second timer and a 90% throttle enable on PE in the stock calibration, so it does eventually come in but you've really got to be pulling something heavy up a long hill and based on datalogging, with the stock ignition maps within 10 seconds of running WOT knock retard will pull you 100% to the low octane fuel map and you've lost another 4-6 degrees of timing.

I totally forgot about that variable compression engine...definitely interesting tech but it must not have been that great if no one else is following suit with similar ideas by now...

@alfadriver that is really interesting stuff. I think your comment about making gains in different areas before alternate fuels take over is probably an accurate one, not because I feel like EV/hydrogen/etc is really mature consumer technology yet, but because regulations are going to drive a lot of movement to that technology as emissions legislation tightens.

Then again, plenty of people said diesel engines would be dead by now too, but they still have their place in the market and technology has been developed to meet the need.

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/9/22 10:06 a.m.

In reply to Pete. (l33t F S) :

While it sounds good, it needs to be 1800F, which is a pretty big increase.  Better if it were 1900 (~1050C).

There are some materials that can do it, but they are really expensive.  

One big help has been doing the integrated exhaust manifold into the head.

rslifkin
rslifkin UberDork
2/9/22 10:10 a.m.

Other than just the integrated head/manifold, would a bigger cooling system and a marine style water-jacketed exhaust manifold help things?  That should drop the exhaust temps a bit before reaching a turbo or catalyst. 

STM317
STM317 UberDork
2/9/22 10:35 a.m.
rslifkin said:

Other than just the integrated head/manifold, would a bigger cooling system and a marine style water-jacketed exhaust manifold help things?  That should drop the exhaust temps a bit before reaching a turbo or catalyst. 

From an emissions standpoint, you don't want to drop exhaust temps before the catalyst. A lot of work goes into getting that catalyst hot very quickly. You can't sell an engine that doesn't meet emissions, so that controls the decision making to a large extent.

rslifkin
rslifkin UberDork
2/9/22 10:37 a.m.
STM317 said:
rslifkin said:

Other than just the integrated head/manifold, would a bigger cooling system and a marine style water-jacketed exhaust manifold help things?  That should drop the exhaust temps a bit before reaching a turbo or catalyst. 

From an emissions standpoint, you don't want to drop exhaust temps before the catalyst. A lot of work goes into getting that catalyst hot very quickly. You can't sell an engine that doesn't meet emissions, so that controls the decision making to a large extent.

I had the same thought.  But if one of the issues is the exhaust getting too hot and damaging the catalyst, there may be some temperature reduction margin available.  Plus, they've managed to make cats work on newer marine gas engines even though the manifold before the cat (and the cat housings) are water cooled. 

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
2/9/22 11:15 a.m.

I know it's not as sexy as ELECTRIC CARS!!!  But hybrids probably offer the best bang for the buck, with no "range anxiety". The new Maverick is the perfect example-  a 40 mpg mini pickup with zero compromises over a standard gas model.  Heavy duty trucks would be a great use case- there have been hybrid buses for over a decade now, with massive gains in fuel efficiency. 

RaabTheSaab
RaabTheSaab New Reader
2/9/22 11:21 a.m.

In reply to volvoclearinghouse :

I, too, agree that hybrids are probably the best bang for the buck right now. In my layperson, but enthusiast, opinion battery technology has gotten good enough to make hybrids a realistic option for most vehicles, but not good enough to covert entire fleets to pure EV. 

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 PowerDork
2/9/22 11:25 a.m.

Has there been any other reporting or press releases that corroborates this claim? There was a similar report about Hyundai and KIA that ended up being false. 

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/9/22 11:40 a.m.
rslifkin said:
STM317 said:
rslifkin said:

Other than just the integrated head/manifold, would a bigger cooling system and a marine style water-jacketed exhaust manifold help things?  That should drop the exhaust temps a bit before reaching a turbo or catalyst. 

From an emissions standpoint, you don't want to drop exhaust temps before the catalyst. A lot of work goes into getting that catalyst hot very quickly. You can't sell an engine that doesn't meet emissions, so that controls the decision making to a large extent.

I had the same thought.  But if one of the issues is the exhaust getting too hot and damaging the catalyst, there may be some temperature reduction margin available.  Plus, they've managed to make cats work on newer marine gas engines even though the manifold before the cat (and the cat housings) are water cooled. 

That has been the ultimate trade off for a long time.  Close for light off, or far away to make them survive.  And it should be noted that farther away means less damage over the life- meaning that they are still able to light off quickly.  It's a non-linear trade off that also incorporates packaging.

One other note, though- the idea of super cooling the exhaust actually isn't a bad one- as long as there are not a lot of bends in the exhaust- the extra cooling jacket does not matter in the first 30 seconds or so- when all of the important light off happens.  20 years ago, dual walled stainless was all of the rage, until a closer look showed that well designed cast iron was just as good.

trigun7469
trigun7469 SuperDork
2/9/22 1:15 p.m.

I wonder what this means for motorsports, because they have been generous (compared to nothing) in the amateur level.

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