This concept previews the first production use of Freevalve’s valvetrain technology

There were a number of interesting vehicles at the Beijing Auto Show this year. We had the new Audi TT-RS, the Mazda CX-4, and a really interesting concept from Chery called the FV2030. However, there was one concept car that was sitting at Qoros’ stand that everyone seemed to neglect at the show. The concept is called the Qoros Qamless, and it symbolizes the work put in by Koenigsegg and Freevalve to develop a new valvetrain that doesn’t require a camshaft.

So you’re probably asking yourself “why Qoros?” Well, I have an answer for that too. It is because Qoros has partnered with Freevalve to create the first production vehicle that uses Freevalve’s new valvetrain technology. The Qamless concept is a preview of the production model that is based on the Qoros 3 SUV. Despite the fact that the concept has gotten very little coverage out of its debut at the auto show, it is a pretty big deal because the Qamless engine promises better performance, improved efficiency, and fewer emissions output while shedding the weight of a traditional engine with more than one camshaft.

Since the concept itself is pretty cool, and the engine represents the next evolutionary stage of the internal combustion engine, we are going to take a closer look at it. There is no timetable for when the Qamless engine will being making it into a Qoros production vehicle, but you can bet neither Freevalve or Qoros is going to waste any time. There is a lot to talk about, so let’s put on our muck boots and dive in.

Continue reading to learn more about the Qoros Qamless Concept.

Exterior

2016 Qoros Qamless Concept
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As I said before, the Qamless concept is based on the Qoros 3 SUV, so we see some of the same styling cues across the vehicle. Be that as it may, Qoros wasn’t as lazy as some of the other automakers out there, as it actually took the time to give the car its own design elements as opposed to just accent some random body parts. Up front, the Qamless does sport the same headlight units as the Qoros 3 SUV it is based on. The Grille on the concept resembles that of the 3 SUV, but instead of having chrome sides, the grille extends all the way to the headlights.

Down below there is a small air dam that features the same backing as the grille above it. A U-shaped chrome insert surrounds the air dam. There is a large corner vent in each corner of the fascia with a horizontal insert that extends from one vent to the other, dipping down in the middle to go under the air dam and chrome strip. At the very bottom of the fascia is another trim insert that has some yellow accenting in the middle. There is also a cutout in the hood that features a large graphic displaying the Qamless logo.

On the driver’s side of the vehicle, the side view mirror has been accented with yellow.

Moving over to the side of the vehicle, there isn’t much to talk about. Most of the side profile is identical to that of the Qoros 3 SUV. There is a triangular trim element attached to the fenders at the bottom of the A-pillars. That element displays the Quamless logo and is the same color as the body. On the driver’s side of the vehicle, the side view mirror has been accented with yellow. Down below, the side skirts also feature a silver trim with a yellow insert in the middle. Each wheel has a yellow insert on one spoke that has “Qamfree” written in silver.

We don’t have too many shots of the Qamless’ rear end, but it’s safe to assume that it is probably quite similar to the Qoros 3 SUV. We can see that it has a longer overhang than the production SUV, the top of that overhang sports the Qoros name in yellow lettering – you know, in case someone in a helicopter is wondering what kind of car is driving down the road. From the view we have, it does look like the Qamless concept does sport taillights with a different lens layout. Outside of these couple things, I would expect to see the same silver trim on the hatch, but it will probably say Qamless on it. The same rear fascia with the wide reflectors on each corner was probably used on the concept.

Interior

While we don’t have any images of the Qamless’ interior, it’s not likely that Qoros did much to change the interior. We can see that the driver seat has been accented with yellow like the various trim inserts on the exterior. Moreover, we can tell that there is the Qamless concept probably has the black interior option, which would mean everything below the waistline, including the dashboard, is done up in black. If the concept follows the same scheme as the production model, everything from the waistline up is probably white.

The concept likely has the same flat-bottom steering wheel. However, I would expect it to feature the Qamless logo as opposed to the normal “Q” logo. The instrument cluster is likely digital with two simulated gauges and a driver information center in the middle. Furthermore, there is likely the same rectangular infotainment screen in the center stack, and the rear seats should fold down to provide more cargo room.

Drivetrain

2016 Qoros Qamless Concept
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Considering the Qamless concept was built around the “Qamless” engine, this is obviously where the heart of the concept lies. Qoros hasn’t disclosed performance figures or even the size of the engine, but that is okay because there’s still a lot to talk about. The engine uses patented technology from Freevalve that uses Pneumatic-Hydraulic-Electric-Actuation (PHEA) to control the valvetrain instead of the traditional belt- or chain-driven camshaft. That means a lot, and it can be a little confusing. If you don’t know about the Freevalve design or how it works, you can read about it here.

There is less drag on the engine because the crankshaft doesn’t have to turn a camshaft

Basically, there are limitations with a camshaft-driven valvetrain. By using actuators to control each valve individually there is more precision throughout the entire combustion process. There is less drag on the engine because the crankshaft doesn’t have to turn a camshaft. The on-board computer can precisely adjust valve timing as needed and can even deactivate certain cylinders, for whatever reason, without affecting the engine itself. There is, of course, a drop in performance, but the engine can continue to run smoothly. All told, there are a number of benefits that come from this technology.

At the top of the list of improvements is better fuel economy. Due to having less drag and better control over the intake and exhaust functions, fuel economy is improved by 15 percent on a 1.6-liter engine. Next on the list is better performance. Freevalve’s technology allows for better combustion efficiency under different operating conditions, which means less energy is lost between different cycles of the engine. Furthermore, since the valvetrain is controlled by actuators, there is no need for a throttle body or the traditional cylinder head. Even better is the fact that the precise control of the intake valves means the engine’s turbocharger doesn’t need a snuffle valve, so there is also a reduce in turbo lag – that means better performance off the line.

So what does all this mean? Well first of all better combustion efficiency means fewer emissions are created, and higher compression ratios can be obtained without the need for high-pressure direct injection. In short, fewer particles are brought in by the injection system, which means few exist when the combustion process is complete, and the piston enters the exhaust stroke. Furthermore, the engine itself is significantly lighter. Without the need for one or more camshafts, the size of the cylinder head is decreased dramatically. Add that to the lack of a throttle body and the engine is significantly lighter than one of the same displacement that has a camshaft-driven valvetrain.

Of course, we don’t know exactly what the displacement of the engine in the concept is, or any performance figures whatsoever, but it’s safe to assume it will be better than an engine of the equivalent size in the current Qoros 3 SUV. We’ll be following this closely and will divulge more information about the Qamless engine as we get it, so stay tuned.

Conclusion

2016 Qoros Qamless Concept
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I was impressed when I first saw Freevalve’s technology and learned about how it works. My primary concerns were always involving the cost of repair if an actuator fails or the reliability due to the use of compressed air and oil. Finally, once the Qamless Concept goes into production, we’ll be able to see just how well the system works and if it is really as efficient and it has been made out to be. As far as Qamless concept, I’m actually very happy with what Qoros did with it. As an automaker that is pretty much unheard of on my side of the world, I expected the concept to be lazy or just way out there in terms of design. However, that isn’t the case. The engine looks like it is ready to go, and it looks like Qoros could put the Qamless into production as early as yesterday. I’m excited to see how things turn out, and I cannot wait to see how much of the concept (aside from the Qamless engine, of course) makes it into the production model. This could very well be the beginning of the next evolutionary step for the internal combustion engine.

  • Leave it
    • no specifics as far as engine size, output, or performance
    • It will be a while before Freevalve technology makes it into vehicles in the U.S.
    • Qoros won’t give me one.
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