Ford continues to pursue an internal combustion engine strategy predicated on the “EcoBoost” technology that it is now proliferating in a variety of sizes offering in a variety of cars, with the objective of having the engines available in 90% of its North American offerings by 2013.
The fundamental aspects that provide improved fuel economy without a sacrifice in performance are turbocharging, direct injection, and twin independent variable camshaft timing.
The most recent EcoBoost engine comes out of the Ford Dunton Technical Center in the U.K. It is a 1.0-liter engine. A three-cylinder engine. An engine that provides either 99 or 118 hp. An engine that Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president of Global Product Development, suggested “will give consumers looking for hybrid-like fuel economy a new, more affordable choice.”
This is the first time that Ford has produced a production engine with fewer than four cylinders.
Although it is small—and based on Kuzak’s observation—cost-effective, they haven’t skimped on the tech. For example, the engine is designed with an offset crankshaft to help improve fuel economy and an exhaust manifold cast into the cylinder head so that the temperature of the exhaust gas is lowered, thereby allowing operating in a wider rpm band with optimum fuel-to-air ratios. While many new engines are based on aluminum blocks, the 1.0-liter features a cast-iron block. Joe Bakaj, Ford vice president of Global Powertrain Engineering, pointed out that (1) when you’re talking about an engine of this size, the mass penalty really isn’t much of one and (2) the use of cast iron helps increase the engine temperature faster, which is beneficial for fuel economy, especially in cold operating conditions. Ford designed a split cooling system to help that process, as well.
The 2013 Ford Escape will be offered with two EcoBoost engines: a 1.6-liter and a 2.0-liter. The 1.6-liter has had European applications, in the Focus and the C-Max. The 2.0-liter engine is currently available in the Ford Explorer and Edge models, where it delivers 240 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque.
There is a third engine available for the 2013 Escape, a 2.5-liter Ti-VCT (twin independent variable camshaft timing) four cylinder engine.
Ford has determined that the 1.6-liter EcoBoost will provide the Escape with better highway fuel economy than the 2012 Escape Hybrid, which is EPA rated at 31 mpg, so the 2013 will not be offered as a hybrid.
Instead, Ford is going to be offering new models to North America, the C-MAX Hybrid and the C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid. The C-MAX Hybrid is said to offer a >25% fuel economy improvement over the Escape Hybrid. It features a hybrid transmission that is being produced at the Ford Van Dyke Transmission Plant and lithium-ion batteries that are assembled the Ford Rawsonville Plant, both in Michigan. Like the hybrid, the C-MAX Energi deploys a high-voltage lithium-ion battery a high-efficiency 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine, but it also has an electric traction motor so that it runs on electricity until the engine needs to kick in.—GSV