Achates Opposed-Piston Engine Promises 37 mpg For Full-Size Pickups

San Diego-based Achates Power has introduced a 2.7-liter opposed-piston engine that will be able to deliver 37 miles per gallon in a full-sized pickup truck.

Revealed during industry days at this week’s Detroit auto show, the OP-3 turbocharged, two-stroke diesel engine kicks out 270 horsepower and 479 pounds-feet of torque. At the same time, it is said to comply with EPA emission regulations and exceed 2025 CAFE standards of 33 mpg required for trucks with a footprint of 65-70 square-feet.

“The 65-70 square-foot footprint 33 mpg CAFE requirement is for a light-duty truck, like an F-150, Ram 1500, Silverado, etc.,” said Achate media representative Andrew Schreck. “The engine would work in SUVs and larger CUVs.”

Configured to mount in a mostly vertical position that fits the same space as a conventional in-line four or V6 engine, the lower crankshaft is in the same position as current cranks for easy vehicle integration.

The Achates costs $1,000 less than a conventional gasoline or diesel engine because it has fewer parts than a conventional gasoline or diesel engine, such as a cylinder head and valve train.

SEE ALSO: Ford To Build Hybrid F-Series Pickup By 2020

“There is no technical solution to respond to the proposed 2025 CAFE regulation that is as cost effective, compatible with our existing vehicles and fuels, ready for production and adaptable to future renewable fuels as our opposed-piston engines,” said David Johnson, president and CEO, Achates Power.

The Ford F-150 with 2.7-liter is rated 22 mpg combined. Without hybridization, the Achates engine promises much-bettter, with superior emissions performance that's also sorely needed needed.

The Ford F-150 with 2.7-liter is rated 22 mpg combined. Without hybridization, the Achates engine promises much-bettter, with superior emissions performance that’s also sorely needed.

Achates Power has spent 13 years improving the opposed-piston engine, an engine design that dates back to 1882 when James Atkinson originated his cycle on an opposed-piston engine.

Yes, that’s the Atkinson cycle that’s used on many of today’s high-efficient engines.

Johnson said the company will produce a drivable prototype truck by 2018.

The company currently has engine development programs with nine automakers, Motor Trend reported, with at least one of them that has begun to tool up to build an opposed-piston engine in volume.

Shreck said of confidentiality requirements of contracts, he could not get into details on the automakers, but did give some insights.

“We have 12 development programs underway right now, three we can discuss publicly (Fairbanks Morse for large stationary power units, the US Army for combat engines and ARPA-E) and the remaining nine are with engine manufacturers,” he said. “Since we are under non disclosure agreements with those customers I can’t draw any further differentiation on what industry they are in.”

“We do have customers that are working on production plans for our Opposed-Piston Engine, but that would be an announcement that we would leave to our customers to make.”

Motor Trend