For The Gear Heads, The Holy Grail Of Valve Control Has Been Achieved, Fully Electronic, Intelligent Valve Actuation

This is a pretty incredible development.

An outfit in England has designed and built working engines with completely functional valve trains that are completely independent of the crankshaft, are
independently infinitely variable, electronically controlled by electric motors and can be retrofitted to any engine they claim.

What this entails is pretty technical but the possible combinations of the valve timing available can modify the actual firing order of an engine to the point that it can actually turn a 4 stroke engine into a 2 stroke for brief periods to enable instant power for acceleration, turn cylinders on and off independently for fuel economy or turn a little fuel sipping four cylinder engine into a monster.

The possibilities here are virtually endless.

When the racing people get their hands on this it is going to revolutionize motorsports forever. Stick a blower or a turbo on this and you will really have something.

Imagine retrofitting this system into a typical Chevrolet based Hot Rod.

You could potentially use this to putt putt around while cruising to save fuel and with the simple smash of the gas pedal, use wire to wire throttle control sensors and go to full on Gasser Rat Rod mode in the blink of an eye.

The one downside of their prototypes I see is the total height of the cylinder head.

This is the link to the New Atlas article announcing this innovation.
I will tell you up front that it is a fairly long read for most people used to short articles on the internet but I VERY HIGHLY RECOMMEND reading it because it explains exactly what this system is capable of and it is quite frankly, mind blowing.
They also have a short video here,

A buddy of mine told me about this a month ago but I just got the New Atlas article in an Email blast yesterday.
Yes, I am on their mailing list. They have some amazing articles.



14 thoughts on “For The Gear Heads, The Holy Grail Of Valve Control Has Been Achieved, Fully Electronic, Intelligent Valve Actuation

  1. I wrote a paper on that very item back in about 1978/79. From working with Industrial Automation stuff, I could see computers getting powerful enough to do all that and more.

    I got laughed at……..


    • It really sucks to be smarter than the average guy sometimes, it’s even worse when you are smarter than the fucking teacher.
      You were way, way ahead of your time.
      You just reminded me of the main reason I detest modern cars. Back in the early 90’s after I had just got done with the 2 year Ford sponsored college/on the job training program, they were just coming out with crap like the little black boxes. GM had, that On Star thing and Ford was busy collecting data and colluding with the insurance industry, although no one knew or even suspected it but me apparently.
      I saw what they were doing in almost real time with their electronics program. They would come out with this new “Feature” and put it in their luxury cars. the next year would be some other fancy option. The whole time this was going on, they were trying to figure out what they called “Multiplexing” and they finally did just a couple of years before I left.
      When I quit the dealership in ’99, all of the Lincoln’s, most of the Mercuries and some higher end Ford rigs had this.
      The Lincoln Continental had 11 separate computers on board and they all “talked” to each other simultaneously, through one wire.
      11 computers communicating with each other at the same time, back and forth, through one fucking wire. That was in ’99. I can only imagine what they have by now.
      The whole point of my telling you this, is that way back when this was in it’s infancy, I could see what they were doing and what the possibilities were. One of those possibilities caused me to swear off computer controlled cars the minute I realized it.
      If they could get 11 computers to do all that, all they needed to do was to broadcast that signal, just like GM’s On Star system and whoever had the capability, given by Ford, of receiving that information, had you right by the balls.
      Just in the past few years we have been shown it’s possible to Hack a newer vehicle remotely?
      Bullshit, I saw that coming clear back then.
      Now you know why I refuse to get one of those fuckers and keep beating my head against the wall fixing my old junkers.


      • Back around the same time, GM was putting their first crank-triggered ignition systems in some cars. They had a box under the glovebox that took the signals from the trigger wheel, a pair of vacuum lines for ported and manifold vacuum, and then figured out what the timing should be, and pulsed the coil. The only thing the distributor did was distribute the HV to the plugs.

        The first few my buddies at the Olds dealership got in ran like shit, and sounded like they were about ready to roll over and die.

        Turns out the vacuum lines were color coded wrong, and were getting connected backwards. You had MAX advance at idle, and retarded spark when driving. I figured it out, swapped the lines, and they ran great.

        Got several job offers from that adventure, and an offer to go to GMI in Flint, MI.

        There’s times I wonder if I should have taken one of the offers…..


  2. It’s is even possible to eliminate the reverse function of a transmission due to the fact that the engine can be made to run backwards at the push of a button.
    Snowmobiles do that now.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As long as they use quality, milspec grade components, this looks like a great idea. But you know they will buy the cheapest crap they can to cut costs, and it’ll leave you afoot in Death Valley. AND the computer that runs it will be quite powerful, just like you saw in the late 90’s. It’ll tattle on you for standing on the gas, and your fine for “exceeding your daily CO2 emission limit” will be in your email before you slow for the next light.

    My old Toyota truck runs great, looks like a hide truck, but it runs fine. I’m with you, older gear makes better sense to me.


  4. Back in ’08, I saw a display on EVIC (Electronic Valve Internal Combustion) engines at the NAMES hobby machinist show. A picture I took has the guy’s poster saying he had one running since 2000. I’ve got to figure hobbyists have been building these for 20 years.


  5. Real Degreed Mechanical Engineer here. This will never see production for the simple reason that it will be a manufacturing/warranty/cost nightmare. I own two desmo motorcycles and just adjusting the valves on them is a nightmare. They said they have only done steady state dyno running. Well if that is what the design will do then there are a much cheaper ways of accomplishing the same CO2 and mileage reduction. It’s broad band ops that they are not talking about.

    By the way, I helped a Sr. Design Team work on a hydraulic regenerated braking energy hybrid vehicle in 1979. This stuff has been kicking around for decades and Honda has been doing intake and exhaust valve variable timing for over 2 decades commercially. Their iVtec 2 liter 4 was putting out 100 bhp per liter naturally aspirated back in 2002. (I had an RSX Type S). One other thing that they didn’t talk about.

    There is no free lunch, where is the power to run the 8 electric motors (4 cyl, 2 valve) coming from? It’s going to take a boat load to start a partial rotation, stop and reverse it for every crank rotation. and one other thing on the manufacturing side, the cost to make the little parts to the required clearances are astronomical. And this is just a pet peeve, there is no such thing and Mil-Spec materials. One piece of info Mr. Nuckles, if you find Grade 8 metric anything it most likely isn’t. They use a completely different set of standards for Metric fasteners than US.

    Spin Drift
    BSME ’90 University of Minnesota Institute of Technology

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much for your insight and knowledgeable comment.
      Since I have a very long and intense dislike for all things metric because I am an old cranky fucker and an American, I will have to admit I did not know this about metric fasteners.
      I’m sure however, that if I walk into any hardware store with someone over twenty five years old as hired help, they will know what it is I am looking for using that terminology.

      On the other hand, I could also probably just get off my lazy ass and Google it too.
      There are always pro’s and cons to any new technology. This appears to be proof of concept stuff and I would personally be surprised to see it go into production on anything.
      They failed to mention any limitations on RPM capabilities and we all know there must be, the laws of inertia are constant and electric actuators can only move so fast anyway.Some of those parts look a little dainty also so longevity would be a prime concern in my book.
      I would be very interested in seeing this installed on a Big Block V-8 with a Blower on it just to see what the 1/4 mile times would be.


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  7. “The one downside of their prototypes I see is the total height of the cylinder head.”
    Yeah, that may take a few years to fix.

    Another thing I worry about is the motor that drives the cam that opens the valve – if it (or the electronics) fails while the valve is full open, it’ll smack the crap outta the valve when Mr. Piston decides to go TDC… unless it’s NOT a zero-clearance engine. I wonder what the compression ratio is going to be for these type of engines?


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