It's kind of radical but it just might work.
Although electric vehicles and related technologies have been taking center stage lately, most automakers have gone record stating they're not about to give up on the internal combustion engine just yet. Mazda is a perfect example thanks to its new Skyactiv-X ICE available in the recently revealed 2019 Mazda3.
But former Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking, now a shareholder of a startup called Micro Wave Ignition (MWI), is convinced his company can offer the solution that will save ICEs, including Porsche's coveted flat-six. Basically, the company's pioneering technology utilizes pulsed microwaves for ignition instead of igniting that fuel using typical spark plugs.
The company claims this ignition process burns fuel at a lower temperature which, in turn, can reduce consumption of gasoline by up to 30 percent. What's more, emissions can be cut by as much as 80 percent. The fact that Wiedeking has a stake in this company speaks volumes. For those who don't recall, it was Wiedeking, who led Porsche from 1993 until 2009, that helped make the company what it is today.
He was the one behind the Cayenne and Panamera, two of Porsche's biggest money makers, behind the Macan. Wiedeking defied the Porsche purists and made the bold decision to launch a Porsche sedan and SUV because he fully understood the company could not survive in the long-term building sports cars alone.
Speaking to Automotive News, Wiedeking said, regarding the microwave ignition technology, that "I am convinced that MWI is a disruptive innovation with a huge market potential." Granted, he and other investors, own nearly 20 percent of the company, but he would not have invested in the first place if the tech wasn't a . MWI, based in Empfingen, Germany, is already reportedly in talks with South Korean and Chinese automakers about applying its new ignition tech to future road vehicles, but specific details are not yet available.
Another attractive tool MWI can offer automakers is that its ignition system can be integrated into existing engine architecture instead of developing something else from scratch. If this were to work, then it's possible automakers may not be needing fleets of electric vehicles just yet, if at all.