Squeeze. Bang. Blow. There’s no joke to be made there—you’re looking at the DNA of the four-stroke internal combustion engine, virtually unchanged since Dr. Nikolaus Otto first built it in Germany back in 1876.
Despite this system’s longevity, we’re still finding ways to make engines more efficient. Like any machine, internal combustion engines waste a lot of their theoretical performance—less than 30 percent of the energy in each drop of gas is used to actually move the car. That's because engines are complicated machines with lots of moving pieces of metal, and moving them around thousands of times a minute generates waste heat. Sucking air into a cylinder at a lower engine speed is also harder than doing it at 6000 rpm. Accessories like the water pump and alternator all suck away some power, too.Read Article