National car manufacturer PROTON Holdings Berhad (“PROTON” or “the Company”) today held the first firing of its latest powertrain, the 1.5L TGDI (Turbo Gasoline Direct Injection) at the facilities of Ricardo in England. This momentous occasion marks the Company’s R&D latest technologically advanced engine which PROTON has developed since March 2015.
The first firing marks the proof of design and the start of engine testing and validation. The engine was built with the technical and technological collaboration with Ricardo, a global engineering, strategic and environmental consultancy located in Shoreham by the Sea, England. The first firing of the TDGI/GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection) was made via a live telecast from the facilities of Ricardo with the Company’s engineers who have been working on the project. The occasion was officiated by YABhg Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, Chairman of PROTON at PROTON's HQ, Centre of Excellence Complex.
“In most areas of R&D, there are always room for improvements, acquisition of knowledge, technology and skills. This is where PROTON takes it one step further in the enhancement of current skills and technology. About 200 engineers are involved in the development within the total period of more than 3 years. We have stationed 20 PROTON engineers in England alongside Lotus and Ricardo Engineers to develop this new engine family. Led by a Project Manager from PROTON, the RM600 mil development program will take 40 months to complete all 6 variants with the first variant to be launched after 30 months by end of 2017. The design is leveraging on the co-owned IPR in combustion strategy with Ricardo, that was developed earlier in 2012,” said Dato’ Abdul Harith Abdullah, Chief Executive Officer, PROTON Holdings Bhd.
Strict competition from global OEMs in Malaysia and the current market situation has seen a major shrinkage in the National car market. This latest development of powertrain from PROTON has made the Company’s product more competitive and at par with major global OEMs. In addition, it will allow the Company to penetrate the export market as it will be compliant to regulation and legislation in major markets that require cars to comply with low emission level of Euro 6c and low CO2 figures post 2020.
"The PROTON engineers had worked on the program since March 2015 until today, providing the right inputs, making decisions on our requirements, actively involved in the design and analysis of the engines as well as the production of the prototype engine,” Dato’ Harith added.
Ricardo, is a leading global multi-industry engineering provider of technology, product innovation and strategic consulting that has the facilities to develop engines, transmissions, vehicle systems, intelligent transportation systems (ITS) and hybrid and electric systems. The industries served are in transportation, defense and clean energy, and the company has services that cover a range of market sectors including passenger car, commercial vehicle, rail, defense, motorsport, motorcycle, off-highway, marine, clean energy and power generation and government.
"The company has the facilities that are most suitable for prototype engine development and testing. With vast experience in the automotive consultancy business of 100 years and having the experience developing and working on projects especially on GDI technology on other global OEMs from Europe, US, Japan, Korea and China, we are honoured to be working with them," Dato' Harith added further.
Although PROTON has its own R&D facilities, the consultation with Ricardo oversees an important aspect as a benchmark of technology application from a third party, which will ensure that PROTON remains competitive with other OEMs. It is also carried out for further applications in the Company’s transformation plan. The Company has estimated that the duration for the project is 10 months only for design, analysis and prototype built up, and after 14 months, the engine will be transferred to PROTON's own facilities in Lotus. After all the necessary rigorous tests and evaluations are conducted, the TGDI/GDI engines will be further tested in PROTON’s facilities in Shah Alam, Malaysia starting from September 2016 onwards.
The engines developed under PROTON development plan will currently remain known as TGDI (Turbo Gasoline Direct Injection) and GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection). They will be available to be used in all Proton cars from 2018 onwards. These new six (6) variants of engines are classified as:-
· 1.0L 3-Cylinder VVT (Variable Valve Timing)
· 1.2L 3-Cylinder VVT
· 1.3L 4-Cylinder GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection)
· 1.5L 4-Cylinder GDI
· 1.3L 4-Cylinder TGDI (Turbocharged Gasoline Direct Injection)
· 1.5L 4-Cylinder TGDI
The debut of PROTON’s TGDI/GDI engines developed will offer Proton new and existing owners a different feel in comparison with the existing engines from being more efficient and powerful, producing at an average of 25% lower fuel consumption and up to 20% higher performance. Coupled with the new torque converter CVT transmission that is concurrently being developed in parallel, PROTON will provide a new driving experience to its customers. The new engine comes with integrated exhaust manifold, features Dual VVT, is low maintenance with timing chain and longer service intervals, among other features.