FRANKFURT - A Bosch-designed gasoline direct injection system will debut this autumn in the fuel-efficient Volkswagen Lupo.
The Motronic MED - the first gasoline direct injection system produced by Robert Bosch GmbH - will go into production with the Lupo's new 1.4-liter engine.
Bosch says the new system offers a 15 to 20 percent improvement in fuel economy.
The first Lupos with the new technology will be exported to Japan, where low-sulfur fuel needed for the system already is available. The European oil industry will make low-sulfur fuel available, at least in Germany, starting early next year.
Bosch CEO Hermann Scholl predicted that half of all gasoline-engine cars produced in Europe will be fitted with direct injection engine management systems by 2007.
Meanwhile, Bosch continues to invest heavily in high-pressure diesel injection systems, said Scholl. Bosch estimates that by next year, 85 percent of all diesel cars delivered in Europe will have direct injection engines. In 1999, they are expected to reach 75 percent of the market.
Fuel economy benefits derived from the direct injection system have continued to increase diesel's share of the European market - from 25 percent of total sales in 1998 to 27 percent this year, according to Bosch.
Scholl said the auto industry can meet future emission standards only if it is supported by the oil industry.
He said the technical advances achieved by suppliers with high-pressure injection systems, exact fuel metering and flexible ignition starts are important prerequisites for more economical, clean, quiet and powerful engines. But the industry needs low-sulfur fuel to be made widely available, he said.
Under the European Union directive on fuel quality, member states must reduce sulfur levels to 350 parts per million in diesel and 150 parts per million in gasoline next year. The ultimate aim is to obtain a level of 50 parts per million in both fuels by 2005.