Highly diluted, low temperature homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) combustion leads to ultralow levels of engine-out NOx emissions. A standard drive cycle, however, would require switches between HCCI and spark-ignited (SI) combustion modes. In this paper we quantify the efficiency benefits of such a multimode combustion engine, when emission constraints are to be met with a three-way catalytic converter (TWC). The TWC needs unoccupied oxygen storage sites in order to achieve acceptable performance. The lean exhaust gas during HCCI operation, however, fills the oxygen storage and leads to a drop in NOx conversion efficiency. If levels of tailpipe NOx become unacceptable, a mode switch to a fuel rich combustion mode is necessary in order to deplete the oxygen storage and restore TWC efficiency. The resulting lean-rich cycling leads to a penalty in fuel economy. Another form of penalty originates from the lower combustion efficiency during a combustion mode switch itself. In order to evaluate the impact on fuel economy of those penalties, a finite state model for combustion mode switches is combined with a longitudinal vehicle model and a phenomenological TWC model, focused on oxygen storage. The aftertreatment model is calibrated using combustion mode switch experiments from lean HCCI to rich spark-assisted HCCI (SA-HCCI) and back. Fuel and emission maps acquired in steady-state experiments are used. Different depletion strategies are compared in terms of their influence on drive cycle fuel economy and NOx emissions. It is shown that even an aggressive lean-rich cycling strategy will marginally satisfy the cumulated tailpipe NOx emission standards under warmed-up conditions. More notably, the cycling leads to substantial fuel penalties that negate most of HCCI's efficiency benefits.

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