GM Banking On Dynamic Cylinder Deactivation For Improved Fuel Economy

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon

General Motors has played with cylinder deactivation technology since the days of Carter, sometimes successful, sometimes with more disastrous results.

With Tula Technology’s Dynamic Skip Fire, GM is banking on the former.

The technology — a result of the automaker’s 2012 equity investment in the startup via GM Ventures — uses “advanced digital signal processing with sophisticated powertrain controls to create a software-based approach to variable displacement engines.” This allows for a dynamic approach for cylinder management, with individual cylinders to be activated or deactivated on a case-by-case basis while maintaining proper torque at all speeds/loads and avoiding vibration issues.

GM believes employment of DSF could improve fuel economy among its various models by as much as 15 percent compared to other cylinder-deactivation methods, such as its Active Fuel Management system used by the likes of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, among others.

As for when DSF might appear, Tula CEO R. Scott Bailey couldn’t say much about the timeline, but that his investor views the technology as “production worthy,” per an interview with Autoblog. Other investors in Tula include Sequoia Capital, Sigma Partners and Khosla Ventures.

Cameron Aubernon
Cameron Aubernon

Seattle-based writer, blogger, and photographer for many a publication. Born in Louisville. Raised in Kansas. Where I lay my head is home.

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  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Jan 07, 2015

    Are they going to use that new gauge design in the photo for the ATS?

  • Occam Occam on Jan 08, 2015

    What is the advantage of this over forced induction, where the blower can create a higher 'virtual' displacement as needed. It would seem that more displacement and forced induction are two ways to do the same thing (bring in more air, adding more fuel to keep the ratios in line, and gaining more power as a result.) The V8-6-4 was a good concept that GM fumbled on implementation. The same goes for turbocharging and all-aluminum blocks (F-85 Rocket V8).

  • Wjtinfwb Funny. When EV's were bursting onto the scene; Tesla's, Volt's, Leaf's pure EV was all the rage and Hybrids were derided because they still used a gas engine to make them, ahem; usable. Even Volt's were later derided when it was revealed that the Volt's gas engine was actually connected to the wheels, not just a generator. Now, Hybrids are warmly welcomed into the Electric fraternity by virtue of being "electrified". If a change in definition is what it takes, I'm all for it. Hybrid's make so much sense in most American's usage patterns and if needed you can drive one cross-country essentially non-stop. Glad to see Hybrid's getting the love.
  • 3-On-The-Tree We also had a 1973 IH Scout that we rebuilt the engine in and it had dual glass packs, real loud. I miss those days.
  • 3-On-The-Tree Jeff thanks. Back in 1990 we had a 1964 Dodge D100 with a slant six with a 3 on the tree. I taught myself how to drive a standard in that truck. It was my one of many journeys into Mopar land. Had a 1973 Plymouth duster with a slant six and a 1974 Dodge Dart Custom with 318 V8. Great cars and easy to work on.
  • Akear What is GM good at?You led Mary............................................What a disgrace!
  • Randy in rocklin I have a 87 bot new with 200k miles and 3 head gasket jobs and bot another 87 turbo 5 speed with 70k miles and new head gaskets. They cost around 4k to do these days.