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IC Boost

And so, despite the rise of electric and hybrid vehicles, it would seem that IC engines are going to be around for some while yet, which is why Ford’s decision to develop an all-new EcoBoost range cannot be ignored.

 


Image: One of the first Ford models that will benefit from new EcoBoost is the latest Focus


“The new family of EcoBoost four-cylinder petrol engines coming later this year is a key element of Ford’s global blueprint for sustainability,” says Ford of Europe CEO John Fleming. “We believe these engines will provide customers with a genuinely attractive alternative to diesel and hybrid power units, delivering highly competitive fuel economy and cost of ownership.”

Ford has already started to make its EcoBoost engines available in the USA, starting with a 3.5-liter V6 offering, but this new generation represents a leap forward in technology. Featuring direct petrol injection, turbocharging and variable valve timing for maximum combustion efficiency, the new EcoBoost units reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by as much as 20% over standard IC engines.

The initial new EcoBoost range will include a 1.6-liter unit for the new C-Max and Focus, and a 2-liter engine that will first be applied to the Ford Falcon in Australia from 2011. Ford Europe chiefs are refusing to comment on speculation that new EcoBoost will also be made available to Volvo, Ford’s remaining European brand at the time of writing. At the heart of Ford’s EcoBoost family is a new combustion system that features high-pressure direct fuel injection, advanced turbocharging and twin independent variable valve timing. The fuel injection system injects fuel into each cylinder in small, precise amounts at a pressure of up to 200 bar. The variable valve timing on the intake valve and camshafts help the four-cylinder EcoBoost engines to optimize gas flow levels through the combustion chamber at all engine speeds, therefore further enhancing fuel efficiency levels and emissions output.

 


Image: New EcoBoost engines boast 20% better fuel efficiency


But being eco-friendly is only part of the EcoBoost story. Performance was also high on the development agenda, especially as the 2-liter derivative is destined for North America and Europe as well as Australia. So, strong low-end torque is the order of the day as the larger EcoBoost has to compete with diesels. As a result, the BorgWarner-supplied turbochargers have been designed to feature small, low-inertia rotors that spin at speeds in excess of 200,000rpm. The turbines are carefully selected to ensure that maximum torque can be achieved at 1,500rpm or less. Ford says that careful matching of the turbo units ensures the new EcoBoost unit remains powerful and responsive at speeds in excess of 5,000rpm.

Although further details remain scarce, Ford says both units are lightweight with an all-aluminum construction. The 2-liter will be produced at Ford’s Valencia base, and the smaller EcoBoost engine will roll out of its Bridgend factory. Ford hopes to produce 1.3 million EcoBoost engines annually by 2012, with 750,000 coming from the USA.

 


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