Andreas R. Schamel, Ford's chief engineer for Research and Advanced Engineering, will tell SAE delegates today in Detroit that volume-based, near-term actions - such as Ford's upcoming EcoBoost engine technology - can deliver real-world fuel economy improvements for millions of customers within the next five years.

Ford says EcoBoost, which mates advanced direct injection technology and turbocharging with a gasoline engine, can deliver up to 20 percent better fuel economy, 15 percent lower CO2 emissions and superior driving performance versus larger displacement engines.

The technology will be spread across Ford's lineup from small cars to large pickups.

"The challenges of CO2 and fuel economy are complex, global issues," Schamel says.

"There is no single, universal answer around the world. That's why we're pursuing technology such as EcoBoost that's scale-able to large-volume production now in the short term."

Ford claims that the EcoBoost family of 4- and 6-cylinder engines builds on affordable gasoline engines allowing the technology to be applied across a wide range of engines and vehicles types. In the next five years, EcoBoost will be available on a half a million Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles annually in North America, far exceeding current hybrid vehicle production capacity.

That means a significant impact on fuel consumption, Schamel says.

"EcoBoost will provide real-world fuel efficiency benefits in the near term with a shorter payback time than other advanced technologies. We believe hybrids, diesels and technologies such as plug-ins and fuel cells have a role, but we believe that having the right mix of fuel-saving technologies over time is the best approach."

In 2009, Ford will first introduce EcoBoost on the Lincoln MKS featuring a 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged V-6 that will produce the power and torque of a V-8 engine with the fuel efficiency of a V-6.

Ford says that with an estimated 340 horsepower and more than 340 lb.-ft. of torque, the Lincoln MKS will be the most powerful and fuel-efficient all-wheel-drive luxury sedan in the market -- while saving customers about US$340 a year in fuel costs compared with a standard V-8 model luxury sedan.

Direct injection coupled with turbocharging allows for the downsizing of engines that deliver improved torque and performance. A 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine has the capability of producing more torque than a larger 6-cylinder engine -- nearly an entire litre larger in displacement -- with up to 20 percent better fuel efficiency, the company claims.