Ford Motor Co. is preparing to roll out a new gasoline engine platform for its cars and light trucks over the next five years, starting with several of its 2009 model vehicles – a gasoline engine called the “EcoBoost” that uses turbocharging and direct-injection technologies for up to 20% better fuel economy, 15% fewer carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and improved driving performance versus larger displacement engines.
“Rising gasoline prices are on everyone’s mind these days,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vp of global product development. “EcoBoost … delivers an affordable, fuel-saving option… . In the next five years, EcoBoost will be available on a half a million Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles annually in North America.”
He noted that Ford’s Explorer America sport utility vehicle (SUV), equipped with an EcoBoost engine and other improvements, delivers a 20% to 30% increase in fuel economy compared to today’s mid-size SUVs.
Kuzak said EcoBoost’s combination of direct injection and turbocharging mitigates the traditional disadvantages of downsizing and boosting 4- and 6-cylinder engines, giving customers both superior performance as well as fuel economy. With direct injection, fuel is injected into each cylinder of an engine in small, precise amounts – producing a cooler, denser charge, delivering higher fuel economy and performance.
When combined with modern-day turbocharging – which uses waste energy from the exhaust gas to drive the turbine – direct injection provides the best of both worlds: the responsiveness of a larger-displacement engine with fewer trips to the gas pump, Kuzak explained.
“Our 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6, for example, can deliver upwards of 340-plus lb.-ft. of torque across a wide engine range – 2,000 to 5,000 rpm versus 270 to 310 lb.-ft of torque for a conventional naturally aspirated 4.6-liter V-8 over the same speed range,” he noted. “At the same time, this V-6 gives customers an approximately 15% fuel economy improvement and emits up to 15% fewer CO2 emissions to the environment.”
Kuzak pointed out that Ford’s Explorer America concept vehicle shows off the advantages of this new engine design for light trucks, as it still provides room for six and their gear, along with moderate towing and off-roading capabilities, while delivering far better fuel economy.
It comes equipped with either a 4-cylinder 2-liter engine with EcoBoost technology delivering 275 hp and 280 lb.-ft. of torque or a 3.5-liter V-6 delivering about 340 hp. Depending on engine selection, fuel-efficiency will improve by 20 to 30% versus current V-6 or V-8 powered Explorers, said Kuzak.