Valeo SA engineers say they are close to perfecting camless technology for traditional gasoline engines.
A camless gasoline engine would reduce fuel consumption drastically -- 20 percent, according to Valeo -- challenging hybrids and diesels in the race to improve fuel economy.
Tough technical challenges have kept camless technology off the market. Engineers have grappled with a variety of issues, such as precisely opening and closing the valves electronically, packaging the system to fit inside the engine and developing the software to operate the valves. Cost also has been an issue.
Valeo CEO Thierry Morin says his company has two development contracts for the system.
"As far as we are concerned, we are between 14 and 16 months from market. So you see that we are there," Morin said in a recent interview. He said he expects to have the system in production in North America and Europe as early as 2008.
Valeo engineers have built and are testing two Peugeot 407s with the system. Morin says both cars have worked well in different weather extremes and under strenuous testing.