Ford has announced that three more engines with the company’s ‘EcoBoost’ fuel-saving turbocharger-based technology are scheduled to be launched by the end of the year.
By 2013 Ford expects to be producing approximately 1.5m EcoBoost engines globally, about 200,000 more than originally expected. Ford’s plans call for an EcoBoost engine to be available in 80 percent of the company’s global nameplates and 90 percent of North American nameplates. About half of the 1.5 million EcoBoost engines are expected to be sold in North America, while the rest are to be sold in Europe, South America and Asia Pacific regions. “We are focused on sustainable technology solutions that can be used not for hundreds or thousands of cars, but for millions of cars, because that’s how Ford will truly make a difference,” said Barb Samardzich, Ford’s vice president of powertrain engineering. Samardzich is expected to detail EcoBoost production plans as well as the next three EcoBoost engines scheduled for launch by the end of the year during remarks Tuesday at the SAE World Congress. The next three EcoBoost engines include:
- 1.6-litre four-cylinder that will be offered in the European C-Max people mover. Ford says the 1.6-litre EcoBoost will deliver ‘quick acceleration and class-leading fuel economy’.
- 2.0-liter four-cylinder for the next-generation Ford Explorer SUV and Edge CUV. This engine will ‘deliver best-in-class fuel economy and V-6 performance’, says Ford.
3.5-litre V-6 for the F-150. Ford engineers have upgraded the 3.5-litre V-6 for rear-wheel-drive applications. The EcoBoost F-150 is ‘expected to deliver best-in-class fuel economy along with the power and towing capability of a V-8’ according to Ford. The three new engines will increase the number of global nameplates available with EcoBoost to 11. EcoBoost is available now in the Ford Flex and Taurus and Lincoln MKS and MKT. EcoBoost technology combines direct fuel injection, variable cam timing and turbocharging to reduce fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and cut vehicle weight, while giving drivers the performance of a bigger engine. While Ford is rolling out the first generation of EcoBoost engines, researchers are studying ways to further downsize future EcoBoost engines, while preserving performance and raising fuel economy.
More efficient turbochargers, super-precise control of the direct-injection fuel system, optimum gearing of the transmission and final drive will enable a smaller engine to run in what engineers call its “sweet spot” more often, said Dan Kapp, Ford’s director of powertrain research and advanced engineering. When an engine is in its sweet spot, it is running at its most efficient. That, combined with dramatic reductions in vehicle weight, will improve performance and fuel economy. Ford has committed to reducing vehicle weight by between 250 and 750 pounds per vehicle. “We are trying to get in front of the pack in leveraging EcoBoost for fuel economy,” Kapp said. “It’s going to be a trend in the industry, and we can’t rest on our laurels for one minute. We are going to keep wringing more efficiency out of EcoBoost.” In addition to EcoBoost, other near-term powertrain technologies Ford is planning include:
- Electrification: Ford has committed $1 billion to build plug-in, hybrid and battery electric vehicles and a plant that will assemble battery packs for these vehicles. The Transit Connect Electric is being launched later this year, while the Focus Electric is due next year. A hybrid and a plug-in hybrid will be built off Ford’s global C platform, which underpins the Focus. Ford also plans to move battery pack production from Mexico to Michigan to support the production of electric and hybrid vehicles.
- Six-speed transmissions: By the end of 2012, 98 percent of Ford North American vehicles will be equipped with fuel-efficient six-speed transmissions. A six-speed transmission can improve fuel economy between 4 and 6 percent. The latest vehicles to get six-speed transmissions are Mustang, which gets a new six-speed manual and a new six-speed automatic; Super Duty, which gets a new six-speed automatic; and Fiesta, which will introduce the segment’s first dual-clutch six-speed automatic transmission.
- Stop/Start systems: By 2014, as many as 20 percent of Ford’s global nameplates could be equipped with stop/start systems, which turn off the gasoline or diesel engine when the vehicle comes to a stop and quickly restarts the engine when the driver’s foot leaves the brake pedal. A stop/start system can reduce fuel consumption and emissions by around 5 percent, depending on conditions.