Proton’s upcoming new engine family will certainly be a technological step-up from its current CamPro offerings. With advanced features like direct injection, turbocharging and a higher compression ratio, will maintenance costs be bumped up as well? During an exclusive interview with paultan.org, Proton chief technical officer Abdul Rashid Musa has said it should be lower than the current CamPro engines.
He stated that the engines, which are slated to come into the market in 2018, will have a longer service interval. “The service interval will be double than the current VVT engine and I believe the technology has matured for this, that the components’ life cycle is longer, quite reliable,” he said.
Rashid said that Proton is targeting to extend the service cycle of the new GDI engines from 10,000 km as on the Preve, Suprima and Iriz to 20,000 km, per service. “But of course you need to check other things in the engine,” he said. “Sometimes, people get confused when high technology is used. It’s not only necessary to check the engine oil, there are other things to monitor about the engine depending on your usage.”
“[The service costs] will be [lower] definitely. I think those are the strengths of the engine as well,” he added. The adoption of timing chains in the engines should also lower maintenance costs.
Rashid mentioned that the new engines’ focus isn’t sports car-like high-performance. “I’m not saying superb performance, but good performance, low maintenance. Performance doesn’t necessarily mean horsepower. Performance also relates to fuel efficiency, emissions, and others as well,” he said.
He also said that, like safety, there are three tiers to conducting maintenance on the engine – protection, prevention and prediction. The first tier of maintenance is the protective kind, whereby the car protects itself from further damage such as in the case of overheating. The second level, preventive, concerns routine maintenance that helps prevent engine damage altogether, such as fixed service intervals.
It’s the final tier, predictive or cognitive maintenance, that Proton is looking to implement into its future vehicles – Rashid said that the company is future-proofing the new engines to be able to adopt Condition Based Maintenance (CBM). With this method, the car will analyse its actual condition to determine when to change the engine oil, rather than relying on fixed cycles.
Rashid gave an example of stop-start driving, which can shorten the interval between oil changes, as the engine will continue to run even though the car spends less time moving. The technology has already been implemented by companies such as BMW, and Rashid said Proton wants to bring this level of maintenance to the masses.