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未来的汽车发展备受人们的关注,因为汽车同我们日常生活关系太紧密了,几乎每个人都离不开汽车-这种安全、便捷、高效的交通工具,尤其是在当今的人口密集型社会中人们离开汽车就没法活。不知道别人,反正我离开汽车恐怕就会有如同世界末日降临的感觉,美国号称是绑在轮子上的国家,而在加拿大也有一种说法没车就是没腿。在最近一期经济学家杂志上有篇文章就谈到了未来汽车的发展方向,相信大多数朋友们都会对此感兴趣。为此,试着将全文译成中文,希望与大家一起分享。

Downsized car engines 把发动机做小
The incredible shrinking machine 不可思议正在变小的发动机
Internal-combustion engines are getting smaller, more economical and cleaner—all without a loss of power 内燃式发动机正在变得越来越小,越来越省油、排放也更加清洁-全然不会削减动力

Dec 12th 2015 | From the print edition

FOR years, the motor industry lived by the mantra, “bigger is better”. The number of litres that a car’s pistons displaced within its engine’s cylinders was a matter of pride for its owner. This was because displacement equalled power, and power equalled—well, whatever it was that the owner wanted to show off beyond the mere ability to travel from A to B. Times change, though, and technology moves on. Power is no less in demand than it was, but as the clamour for fuel economy rises, raw displacement, which sucks fuel from a tank like an enthusiastic child with a straw and a bottle of pop, is going out of fashion. Instead, a new mantra is taking over. This is, “small is beautiful”.
多年来,汽车工业伴随着一种说法,”越大越好。”让车主以发动机气缸内活塞排放量引以为荣,不管怎么说车主想显摆的不仅是车从A到B处,而是排放量的大小就等于动力,也可以说动力等于排放量。然而,时过境迁,如今的技术在向前推进。跟过去一样对动力的要求并没有减弱,但对省油方面的渴望却与日俱增。原来喝油似的排放量就像一个活蹦乱跳的小孩吸着可乐那样过时了。取而待之的一种新的说法即“小才是美”

注解:這里的mantra原意是咒语和口头禅的意思,可在這里翻成“一种说法”会更像中文。
a matter of pride for  应该翻成 以。。。引以为荣比较更像中文。
show off 這里是“显摆”的意思。
time changes 翻成“时过境迁”会更地道些。
suck fuel 翻成“喝油”比较更地道。
go out of fashion 是过时的意思。

What tickles today’s petrolheads, therefore, is not so much how many litres an engine displaces as how much horsepower it can extract from a given volume. For, even as they get more powerful, car motors are shrinking. The smallest member of Ford’s EcoBoost range—a one-litre, three-cylinder device—delivers more power than a 1.6-litre, four-cylinder engine of the previous generation. It is now fitted to one in five of all Ford cars sold in Europe.
所以刺激当今车迷们的是他们不大注重发动机排量了,而关注是从排量中能获得多大的动力。福特生产的最小的增压器-一升排量三个缸体的设计可以输出比上一代常规1.6升四缸发动机输出更大的动力。這种发动机已经配备在所有其在欧洲汽车销量中占了1/5。

注释:
tickle 原意是使发痒、使高兴和使满足
petrolheads 车迷们

No single advance is responsible for this shrinkage; it is the result of a combination of improvements to the whole of engine design, each of which makes things a few percentage points better. But the upshot is that the sort of power per litre which would, until recently, have been the prerogative of a Ferrari is now rapidly becoming available in a family saloon.
不单纯因为先进技术可以决定将发动机会变小,主要是发动机整体设计的改进和各部件做得更好的综合因素。但重点在于每升排量输出的动力,一直以来是法拉利的专利,直到最近才快速普及到家庭用车上了。

注释:no single …不单纯。。。
upshot 结局、要点 的意思,在這里翻成 “重点在于”会更自然,更符合中文的习惯。

The quickest way to squeeze more out of an engine is to use a turbocharger (indeed, the one-litre EcoBoost does precisely this). A turbocharger employs a turbine, spun by hot gases from the exhaust, to drive a compressor that squeezes extra air into the cylinders and increases combustion. Turbochargers have been used for a long time in high-performance cars and diesel engines, but could be unreliable. They are now small, light, robust and dependable enough to be fitted to a wide range of petrol engines.
让发动机产生更强动力的方法是采用涡轮增压(的确,一升涡轮增压器就可以做到)涡轮增压器配备一个涡轮,用排放的热气产生出动力驱动一个能将更多的空气推进到缸体的压缩机从而增加燃烧。实际上,涡轮增压器一直在高性能的汽油和柴油车上应用了很长时间,可不是太稳定。如今这些涡轮增压器形状小巧,轻便,结实也可靠了,足可以广泛应用在汽油发动机上了。


注解: 這里有个短语 squeeze …into… 原意是将。。。挤压到。。。当中去,所以我把其翻成“把。。。推进到。。。”听起来会更自然些。

to be fitted to 原意是”适合配在。。。上,”而這里翻成”应用在…” 会更好些。

The improvements which make this possible have come about in a number of ways. Engineers use new materials, such as nickel alloys, instead of cast iron, to construct parts that are better able to withstand high exhaust temperatures. Powerful computer modelling has also improved features of turbochargers’ design, such as the shape of their compressors’ blades. That reduces the delay in initial acceleration, called “turbo lag”, to which older designs were prone.
为了实现這种可能性所做的改进会表现在诸多方面。发动机采用新材料,比如镍合金,比起之前的铸铁的发动机会使每个部件更好地承受高温排放。强大的计算机模块也会改善涡轮增压器设计特性。比如,压缩器片的形状的改善。這会降低加速的滞后,也就是说“涡轮增压滞后”而更旧型发动机设计就很容易产生這种滞后。

注解: come about 发生的意思,可在這里我却要翻成表现,這样才会更符合中国人的阅读感觉。
instead of 在這里翻成 “比起之前的。。。”会更加自然。

Downsized turbocharged engines are now cropping up everywhere. BMW makes a 1.5-litre, three-cylinder version. When fitted to one of the firm’s MINI Coopers this, BMW claims, increases torque (a twisting force that aids acceleration) by 42% and reduces fuel consumption by as much as 8% compared with the previous four-cylinder motor. With its one-litre EcoBoost, Ford is going even smaller, as is General Motors, which also makes a one-litre, three-cylinder turbocharged motor in Europe, as part of its downsized range of Ecotech engines. And Fiat (whose chairman, John Elkann, sits on the board of The Economist’s parent company) beats even these for compactness. It has a 900cc two-cylinder design which develops 105PS (the metric measure of horsepower). This can accelerate one of the carmaker’s popular Cinquecentos from zero to 100kph (62mph) in ten seconds, and propel it to 188kph if the driver keeps his foot down.
把带涡轮增压器的发动机变小如雨后春笋一样到处可见。宝马就制造了一台1.5升的三缸发动机。配备在了 mini cooper 中的一款上。宝马声称這种发动机比起过去四缸发动机会增加42%的扭矩并可降低8%油耗。随着省油发动机的尺寸变小,通用汽车公司使得1升3缸带涡轮增压器的发动机遍布欧洲,凭借1升省油发动机,福特公司正在迈向把发动机变得更小的进程中。菲亚特(其主席约翰艾尔坎坐席经济学家母公司董事会)就倡导这种便携方式。菲亚特的车配备了一台900毫升的两缸发动机,其可以产生出105匹动力(PS 是一种测试马力的公制式)。马力达到可以在10秒钟内从零到100公里(相当于62英里)如果司机持续给油,就可以将速度提到每小时188公里。

注解: crop up 字面意思是”突然出现” 而在這里我把它翻成了“雨后春笋”這个成语用在這里是最恰当不过了。
keep one’s foot down 应该翻成“持续加油”更像中国话。

The boosters 各种各样的助推技术

Turbochargers alone, though, do not make for a good downsized engine. A number of other technologies help as well. One is direct fuel injection (ie, injection directly into the cylinder), which offers several advantages over the older method of injecting petrol into an intake chamber, to mix with the air there, before the whole lot was then passed into the cylinder proper. (Carburettors, which performed this mixing job before fuel injection was invented, have long-since gone to the great scrapheap in the sky.) Injecting fuel directly into the cylinder at high pressure permits more accurate control of the amount used. The injector also dissipates the fuel more evenly in the cylinder, so that when it is ignited by the spark plug it burns more completely and so produces less pollution.
尽管为性能好的小型发动机打造的不仅有涡轮增压器,还要有其它一些技术作为辅助。有一种就是燃油直喷(比如,将燃油直接喷射到缸体中)比起过去更旧的把燃油整体推进到缸体前先喷射进化油器中混合空气技术相比有诸多先进之处。(化油器,在燃油直喷技术发明之前就是用来做這种混合工作的,而一直以来,這种混合会将大量废气排放到空气中)在高压状态下将燃油直接喷射到缸体中会在控制油耗上更加准确。直喷器也将缸体中的燃油更加均匀的蒸发分解掉,从而由火花塞点燃燃油使油燃烧的更加彻底,废弃排放就更低。

Another useful trick is variable valve timing. The opening and closing of the valves that let air into the cylinder and exhaust gases out used to be regulated by a mechanical device operated by the engine’s camshaft. These days, the process is controlled by the engine’s management system. This runs the output of various engine sensors through a bunch of software that works out just when the valves need to open and close in order to keep a small, highly boosted engine running smoothly and efficiently. “We could not do what we are doing now just with the hardware,” says Andrew Fraser, a senior engineer at Ford’s Dunton Technical Centre, in Britain.
另外一种有用的技术就是多变阀门正时。让空气进入缸体和排除废气阀门的开和关由发动机的凸轮轴机械装置控制。这些日子,這个过程是由发动机管理系统来控制。结果会使多变的发动机感应器通过一系列软件来决定什么时候阀门需要开和关以保持小型高效增强型发动机运行的平和、高效。位于英国的福特丹顿技术中心高级工程师安德鲁费理沙讲“光凭我们目前的硬件是无法完成的”

注解trick 在這里要翻成“技术”会比较更符合中文的可读性。

The shift from four-cylinder to three-cylinder engines also needs a change in engine design. Three-cylinder engines have a tendency to rock backwards and forwards around the middle cylinder. Carmakers have come up with a number of ways to absorb the vibrations and make sure such engines don’t shake, rattle and roll. Ford’s answer is to have the flywheel on the back of the engine and the crankshaft pulley mounted on the front, each slightly offset to counteract the rocking movement.
从4缸到3缸发动机的转变也需要在发动机设计上的改变。3缸发动机会出现围绕中间缸体前后摇摆的问题。汽车制造厂家们想出了一系列办法将震动吸收掉以确定发动机不会震动,发出噪音和摇晃。福特有办法在发动机后面装个飞轮,在其前面装了个曲轴皮带盘,這两个装置都略微会弥补抵消摇晃带来的震动。

Other developments could elicit yet more power and efficiency from small engines, says Mr Fraser. These include more new materials, such as what the industry calls diamond-like carbon (DLC) coatings for the surfaces of moving parts. Nissan reckons a tough DLC it has developed can bind with specially formulated engine oil to produce an ultra-slippery film that could reduce engine friction by 25%. Ford, too, is interested in special lubricants. It commissioned Castrol, the lubricant division of BP, a large British oil company, to develop one specifically for the one-litre EcoBoost.
费理沙讲其它的一些改善会使小发动机产生出更大的动力和油燃烧更加有效率。包括更多新材料,比如工业上用的强度跟钻石一样的碳(DLC)涂层镀在发动机内运动部件的表面。尼桑公司就采用了一种自主研发的强度很高DLC结合特别配方的发动机润滑油制造出一种超滑膜以减少25%发动机磨损。福特公司也对特种润滑油感兴趣。福特委托英国一家大的润滑油公司CASTROL,這家公司是英国石油公司的润滑油分部,其特别为一升省油发动机研发的。

A process called cylinder deactivation is also being explored for small engines. As its name implies, this turns some cylinders off to save fuel when a car’s engine is being used lightly. Cylinder deactivation is already employed in certain large engines. The V8 in a Bentley, for instance, turns into a V4 when the car is cruising. For small engines with few cylinders, though, more tricks are required to do this without vibrations developing. Ford is working on the problem with Schaeffler, a German engineering group, and in one test recorded a 6% improvement in fuel consumption with an experimental cylinder-deactivation system fitted to a one-litre EcoBoost.
一种叫停缸技术也是用来为小型发动机研发的。从命名上就一目了然了,就是说当汽车发动机用得功不大时,其中一些缸就会关闭以达到省油的效果。缸体关闭技术已经用在一些大型发动机上了。 比如在宾利V8的发动机上就装了這种装置,车在巡航时就只用4个缸。对于本身缸体就不多的小型发动机而言,要想改善不震动还需要更多技术才能完成。福特正在和一个德国工程公司合作研发解决這一问题的办法,一次测试中在一升省油发动机上安装一种测试停缸系统可以提高燃油消耗6%。

Don’t spare the horses 不会丢失马力

Although many carmakers reckon a one-litre engine is about as small as they might go, some engineers are thinking of shrinking things still further. Gordon Murray, who designed the fabled McLaren F1 supercar, now runs a design consultancy. Among the projects he is working on is one with Osamu Goto, a designer of Honda racing engines, and Shell, an Anglo-Dutch oil firm. The partnership is developing an experimental three-seater city car with a 660cc engine and a target fuel economy of more than 100mpg (2.8 litres per 100km). The engine is being designed to minimise internal friction as much as possible and the vehicle will be built with lightweight composite panels.
尽管很多汽车制造商都认为一升发动机会同他们想象的一样小,可有些工程师们却认为还可以把发动机造得更小。曾经设计概念麦克拉伦F1超跑车的戈登穆雷现在开了一家设计咨询公司。在其致力的众多项目中有一个同本田跑车发动机设计商后藤治同英国和芬兰合资的壳牌公司一起合作的一个项目。一同研发一种试验性的3座位城市用车,该车配备了660毫升的发动机,百公里耗油只有2.8升。这台发动机设计上尽可能地降低内缸的磨损,车体采用轻型符合面板制造。

Other ideas from the racetrack could make their way into downsized engines—for even in Formula 1 the screaming 2.4 litre V8 racing engines have been replaced with 1.6-litre turbocharged V6s, increasing fuel efficiency by 35% but still producing around 600PS. Among the tricks these engines use are energy-recovery systems that capture kinetic energy dissipated by braking and also heat from the exhaust. The recovered energy is used to charge a battery which, in turn, can spin an electric motor to provide a 160PS boost. Some carmakers are looking at energy-recovery systems of this sort as a way to give downsized road engines further spice. They might, for instance, be used to run superchargers—devices that work faster than turbochargers but have until now been eschewed by designers because they have had to be powered mechanically from the engine itself, thus reducing its efficiency.
其它一些从赛道上得来的理念可以使他们把方法运用到小型发动机上,甚至用在了一级方程式那撕心裂肺的2.4升V8发动机上,取而代之采用了1.6升V6s涡轮增压发动机。使油燃烧效率提高了35%,可仍然可以输出近600匹马力。在众多的方法中,这些发动机采用了能量恢复系统,这种系统可以扑捉到由刹车和排放热量散发出的动能。被恢复的能量用来充电池,反过来,驱动电机将输出功率提升160匹马力。有些汽车制造商正在寻求能源恢复系统,以作为给小型路面跑发动机添彩。比如,这种系统可以用来驱动比涡轮增压器工作更快的超强增压器,但直到现在还是有很多设计师避免使用,因为这种能量的驱动来自发动机机本身,所以会降低发动机的工作效率。

注释:to give …further spice 原意是给。。。添加佐料,在這里我个人认为翻成给。。。添彩会更生动也更符合中国人的阅读习惯。

Just how far internal-combustion engines will shrink remains to be seen. But every improvement keeps them in the race with those who would shrink the number of cylinders to zero, and replace the whole lot with electric motors.
到底内燃式发动机会缩小到什么程度仍然拭目以待。可每一次的改进都同那些将缸数缩小至零的方式赛跑,取而代之的便是采用整体电动发动机了。

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