And it actually works!
It's not often that we're introduced to a supercar that could truly change the motor vehicle landscape as we know it, but the Koenigsegg Gemera is such a car. Unveiled earlier this year, the Gemera is a forthcoming uber-expensive four-seater "Mega-GT" with a hybrid powertrain good for an anticipated 1,727 horsepower, but its real paryt piece isn't the electric portion of its propulsion system; it's the internal combustion engine.
When the Gemera launches, it's 2.0-liter three-cylinder engine, dubbed the "Tiny Friendly Giant", will be the first production car engine in the world with a camless valvetrain from Koenigsegg's sister company Freevalve. It's an impressive bit of technology, built around digitally controlled electro-hydraulic-pneumatic valve actuators - twelve in all - that can vary each valve's timing, duration, and lift independently.
That's cool and all, but can we see the homebrew version now?
Yes, we can. Some bold pioneer of do-it-yourself electro-mechanical wizardry has built his very own Freevalve-style camless valvetrain, and put it on an inexpensive Harbor Freight single-cylinder engine with all of 212 cubic centimeters of displacement. Leveraging his advanced technical know-how, Wesley Kagan assembled and programmed a custom control circuit driven by a common, off-the-shelf Arduino microcontroller, with a magnetic Hall-effect sensor to locate top-dead-center - basic stuff. The actual driving force behind the valve events is a 130-Hz pneumatic actuator purchased from the internet.
The end result is a small-displacement, single-cylinder engine with pneumatically opened valves and no camshaft that, incredibly, actually works. Sort of.
In his video, Wesley is forthcoming with the shortcomings of his current system, which didn't want to seem to accelerate. He reckons it's because of some less-than-perfect code that he wrote. And as it stands, there's no feedback regarding transient valve position, meaning this homebrew answer to Freevalve can't adjust lift in real-time like the real system can. Adding sensors to read valve position is one of the next things on Wesley's list of to-dos, as a matter of fact, along the road to finally installing the Harbor Freight motor in his Porsche Boxster-based open-wheel race car.
Eventually, he teases in the video description, "who knows, I might put that year of a [computer science] degree to work and build a self learning valve optimization plan."