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New Single Cylinder Engine from BMW?

Oh there is few left. Shifting crank centerline and variable stroke. Variable length intake and exhaust. And various ignition schemes..lazer and plasma. Free piston hasn't even begun. The steam engines kinda pushed mechanical systems long ago.
I agree a" playing with the valvetrain" is relatively simple.

But I thought the "shift cam" was new technology, you know, changing the valve timing while the engine is running ??
I played around with free piston for a year and left a trail of online searches. When I finally got somewhere I found all free piston patents had been filed by one certain individual. I dropped all work and purposely forgot.

But yes a free piston through magnetic fields seemed the ideal method of the least moving parts in a mechanical burn to electric output. And could be scaled to any size. From cell phone to powering a house.
My 2020 wt1500 8ft bed 4.3 pushrod engine has variable valve timing. 27mpg on last 700 mile trip. No turbos and no hybrid. But I think fuel quality, tailwinds and air pressure helped.

The JDM bandit 400 had the most interesting vvt with 3 cam lobes. And the cams shifted sideways
Maybe, but I don't know that we'll actually see many of those systems make it into production. 2035 isn't far away, and if the push for 'lectro power continues unabated, I see resources being put into EVs more than ICE. For instance, a free-piston generator in a hybrid car could make sense, but the question would be why bother with free-piston development when installing a higher capacity battery would greatly simplify the vehicle?

Playing with the valvetrain is relatively simple and well established. I expect to see more refinements like this new BMW than outright new tech brought to the ICE market. I hope I'm wrong, though. It's a lot more interesting seeing where ICE can go than increases in power density in whatever battery tech is the flavor of the day.
BMW has said that urban riding will be all electric. What does it actually mean in terms in models, I'm not sure. The little GS is popular enough to keep it going and while Europe will try to go all electric, there's the rest of the world. Even if Asia follows Europe, that still leaves a lot of people in a lot of places.
Another article on the topic from Cycle World:

If BMW would bump up the cylinder size and HP, I'd be interested. I loved the old F650 series from the 90s and the F650GS from the early 2000s.
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