Report: Future Fords to Use Lasers Instead of Spark Plugs
If you’ve ever lived someplace cold or humid, you may appreciate Ford’s latest technological advancement. According to Telegraph.co.uk, future Fords could do entirely do away with spark plugs by using a laser ignition system.
Ford engineers, working with scientists at Liverpool University, have developed the new ignition system, which uses focused laser beams to ignite the fuel. In contrast to spark plugs–which can often fail to ignite the fuel–the laser system is much more reliable, firing and producing enough heat to ignite the fuel within the combustion chamber.
According to Dr. Tom Shenton, the project’s leader, the lasers are more reliable because they can be split into multiple beams to focus on more than one ignition point, providing a greater chance of ignition. The system can improve the performance of the engine when it’s cold, reduce emissions, and requires less fuel to be in the cylinders, Shenton says.
Additionally, the laser system–which draws power from the car’s battery and charging system–requires less power than traditional spark plugs. According to researchers, the laser will need to fire more than 50 times per second to produce 3000 RPM. Some of the laser can even be reflected back from the cylinder to provide information on the car regarding the type of fuel being used and the level of ignition, which can then be used to automatically adjust the quantities of air and fuel to optimize performance.
Telegraph.co.uk reports that Ford wants to use the laser ignition system in its low-volume vehicles within the next few years before filtering the technology down into other models. No more false starts on cold Michigan mornings? Sounds great to us.