The Twin Spark Engine: Twice the Spark?

DTS-I (Digital Twin Spark Ignition System)

When a biker comes across this term, the first thing that pops up in his or her mind is the Bajaj Pulsar. Bajaj Auto and TVS Motor are the first two automobile companies to contest the usage of twin-spark plug technology, also known as the DTS-I feature in Indian two-wheelers.

Both the companies introduced this technology riding on the back of the claim that twin-spark plugs increase fuel efficiency and enhance performance.

The Twin Spark Engine
But, the ride hit a rough patch for the two companies. While Bajaj Auto and TVS Motor got embroiled in a patent dispute about the twin-spark plug, industry experts expressed their dissatisfaction with the new technology. According to independent automobile engineers, the technology’s performance was about the same as a motorcycle fired by a single spark plug. It did not deliver any better mileage, or acceleration than that derived from a single spark plug. They opined that if the combustion chamber, the place where fuel and air are mixed in a controlled manner, is well designed, there would be no need for two spark plugs. “It’s all about design. If you have an optimally designed combustion chamber, then I believe a single spark plug is adequate to obtain the same performance and fuel efficiency as that from a twin-spark plug. There are no outstanding benefits to be gained from the twin-spark plug system, except that it represents a totally new design,” says J. P. Subramaniam, Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at IIT, Delhi.

However, despite the controversies, Bajaj Auto won the first-of-its-kind technology patent case in India, and the technology was successfully installed in most of their bikes.

Now, let’s see the picture behind the picture and find out how worthy the new technology is.

As you know by now, there is a combustion chamber inside a motorcycle engine. It is the place where fuel and air mix in a controlled manner and any unburnt fuel is released as waste through the exhaust pipe. So, the idea of a second spark plug was born to avoid fuel wastage, where the unburnt fuel is also combusted and turned into energy.

The Twin-Spark Ignition Engine
The twin-spark ignition engine has two spark plugs located at opposite ends of the combustion chamber and the second spark plug produces a spark a few seconds after the spark fired by the first spark plug. While the first spark plug burns up to 70 per cent of the fuel, the remaining fuel is burnt by the second spark plug, and hence the combustion process becomes fast and efficient.

The other benefits of using this system are:

• Decrease in fuel consumption
• No overheating
• Less vibration and noise
• Better engine-start response even in cold climatic conditions

Opinions on the utility of the twin-spark engine remain divided. If you have used this system, we would like you to share your personal experience with us. To do so, you can visit www.trailsofindia.com or download the Trails Of India app from the Google Play Store or iOS App Store.

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