The Koenigsegg Agera is finally expected to hit the streets in the United States this June, more than two years after its unveiling. The delay comes because of the need for government-mandated two-stage airbags to be installed. The Swedish manufacturer of supercars is awaiting approval a second smart airbag exemption from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Smart airbags are designed to tailor airbag deployment to the severity of the crash, the size and posture of the vehicle occupant (whether or not children are sitting in front of the car), belt usage, and how close that person is to the actual airbag. Christian Von Koenigsegg argued that “the Koenigsegg vehicle ‒ a $ 1.32 million ultra high performance sports car ‒ is simply not typically used to carry child seats or small children.”
The airbag issue affected Pagani before, which wasn’t able to sell its cars in the US after the NHTSA denied an exemption request from the advanced airbag rule submitted by the Italian carmaker almost four years ago. Another manufacturer hit by this was Lotus, which stopped importing the Elise and Exige to the US.
If Koenigsegg receives an exemption by the American bureaucrats, than a white Agera R will be shipped to the US. This will be the first time the Swedish supercar is built for the American market since 2008. This Agera R is the 92nd car ever built to left the Koenigsegg factory, and the company plans to preview its 100th car at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show.
Another, perhaps even more interesting issue, regarding Koenigsegg is the fact they are working on a camless engine. This technology is inspired by Formula One racing. Common piston engines today employ one or more camshafts to operate poppet valves. The lobes on the camshafts operate cam followers which in turn open the poppet valves.
A camless engine uses electromagnetic, hydraulic, or pneumatic actuators to open the poppet valves instead. Since there is not camshaft, the valve lift and opening time are infinitely variable and this also allows cylinder deactivation which will reduce fuel consumption by up to 30 percent.
But it should be pointed out that camless engines are not without their problems though. Drawbacks such as refinement and reliability have kept this technology from being commercially released in production car engines. It will be interesting to see how Koenigsegg will tackle this hurdle.
But one thing is for sure, the Swedish carmaker shows its cars are and will be state of the art. Let’s hope the Americans will also be able to enjoy these cars and technologies.
[Via Car and Driver]