Lancaster-based engine design specialist OakTec has won funding from the Niche Vehicle Network to develop a version of the award-winning single cylinder Multi-gas Pulse-R™ engine suited to power a small fuel-efficient leisure vehicle.
The Small Efficient Recreational Vehicle project (SERV) will be carried out by three partner companies and will produce a demonstration vehicle powered by the novel 400cc gas engine calibrated to drive a sports buggy through an electrically controlled CVT developed by fellow North West technology specialist GoTec Vehicle Systems. The two-seat buggy chassis will be adapted from a high performance Rage Cyclone manufactured by the Luton-based brand and will focus on ultimate fuel efficiency rather than extreme race-bred performance more typical of Rage products.
This exciting opportunity for NAA member OakTec closely follows its recently announced contract from the MoD to develop a multi-fuel Pulse-R for power generation applications and furthers the current growth in interest from around the globe in the low cost engine technology. Former TVR sports car road and race engine designers John Ravenscroft and Simon Hindle will work on the new developments.
GoTec will design a new integrated Drive Control Unit (DCU), an engine and transmission controller that will enhance the overall drivetrain efficiency by matching engine speed and load demand with optimised gear ratios to harness efficiency sweet spots. The whole powertrain is designed to be highly efficient, low cost and robust and suited to a wide range of small vehicle applications.
OakTec CEO Paul Andrews explains: “Low cost small vehicle drivetrains are of great interest to us. This is the second small vehicle system with CVT that we have jointly developed with GoTec and we have a good understanding of the efficiency benefits of optimising the engine and transmission strategies. Our goal is to develop a commercially available low cost global powertrain than can utilise cheap, widely available gas fuels including NG, LPG and biogas. It is great to have funding that will allow us to demonstrate the system in such an exciting vehicle platform as the Rage Cyclone. Cyclones are designed to race at 100mph on a forest track but we will demonstrate a 100mpg version of the same vehicle, opening up new leisure, tourist and agricultural markets for Rage.”
The patent-protected Pulse-R is a simple low cost four stroke piston engine technology. It gains power and fuel efficiency over conventional engines through an optimised combustion chamber design, and through pumping efficiency from a valve system that can harness waste energy in the exhaust gas flow. This assists the inlet charge without the need for a physical supercharging device.
OakTec is now raising a first round of private equity seed funding to begin commercialisation of the first Pulse-R Multi-gas engine product for a wide range of static, automotive and industrial applications. The prototype SERV vehicle will be demonstrated at the CENEX LCV2017 event in September next year.