In the following years, automakers are going to offer three-cylinder engines equipped with cylinder deactivation technology.

In the following years, automakers are going to offer three-cylinder engines equipped with cylinder deactivation technology.

Engine technology supplier Schaeffler has acknowledged the company is currently working with various automakers to develop three-cylinder engines featuring cylinder deactivation tech to further increase efficiency. They estimate testing will begin within six months and believe there are some circumstances in which a car can actually run on only two cylinders.

This shouldn't come really as a big surprise as three-cylinder engines are getting more and more powerful and according to Schaeffler's engineering director-engine components Bob Zito, pretty soon output of these small engines will hit the 180 bhp (134 kW) mark.

Zito added several automakers are planning cylinder deactivation tech for upcoming four-, six- and eight-cylinder motors which could benefit from a "rolling" cylinder deactivation system using electronic controls to monitor the driver's behavior in order to shut down certain cylinders at specific times.

This system would bring "tremendous" fuel savings but he says each cylinder will need additional hardware that will increase production costs. In a three-cylinder engine, the technology has the potential to cut fuel consumption by at least three percent.

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