AUSTRALIA: Saab Unveils Engine System Using Orbital Technology

By Press Release | 29 September 2000

Orbital Engine Corporation (NYSE:OE) (ASX: OEC) (BERLIN:ORE) (Frankfurt: OREA) today announced that Saab Automobiles AB has unveiled a new "engine control" system incorporating Orbital's direct fuel injection technology.

Saab is a wholly owned subsidiary of General Motors, which has been an Orbital licensee since 1989. Saab, the centre of expertise for turbo charged petrol engines for the GM group, said the Saab Combustion Control (SCC) system, unveiled this week at the prestigious Paris Motor Show, will be launched in the next generation of Saab cars.

Saab is the first major automotive manufacturer to publicly display a product incorporating Orbital's technology.

Orbital technology is already in use in a range of commercial products in the motorcycle, marine and recreation markets, however, the automotive market holds the greatest potential for Orbital.

Ten major automotive manufacturers are evaluating the use of Orbital's direct fuel injection technology and we are increasingly confident that others will follow Saab's lead.

Saab said the SCC system was developed to lower fuel consumption while radically reducing exhaust emissions, but without impairing engine performance.

Fuel consumption can be reduced by up to 10 per cent while exhaust emissions can be lowered to a value below the American Ultra Low Emission Vehicle 2 (ULEV2) requirements that come into force in 2005.

It added that the SCC system is a "global" engine system since it meets the emissions standards in both the United States and Europe.

Compared to today's Saab engines with equivalent performance, the SCC system will almost halve the carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emissions and will cut the nitrogen oxide emissions by 75 percent.

The SCC system is based on three main components -- air-assisted direct fuel injection developed jointly with Orbital, variable valve timing and variable spark gap.

Orbital's direct fuel injection process uses low-pressure air to inject a finely atomised fuel spray directly into the cylinder. It contrasts with conventional petrol injection systems where the petrol is injected into an intake manifold, and competing "high-pressure" direct injection systems.

Lean burn "high-pressure" direct injection systems require a special catalytic converter with a "nitrogen oxide trap" to control emissions. These special catalysts have several disadvantages, including higher production costs and the need for low sulfur petrol for proper operation. (A full explanation of the Saab Combustion Control system is provided in the attached 5-page Information paper prepared by Saab.)

About Orbital

Orbital is a leading international developer of engine technologies using direct in-cylinder fuel injection and lean-burn systems for enhanced fuel economy and lower emissions. The company serves the worldwide automotive, marine, recreational and motorcycle markets. Headquartered in Perth, Western Australia, Orbital stock is traded on the Australian Stock Exchange (OEC), the New York Stock Exchange (OE) as well as the Berlin (ORE) and Frankfurt (OREA) Exchanges.

About Saab

Saab Automobile, headquartered in Sweden, is active in more than 50 countries worldwide. It has more than 10,000 employees and sold 131,000 vehicles in 1999.