Ford’s EcoBoost Gas-Turbo Direct Injection Engine
Earlier this year I proposed that Ford was “America’s Greenest Car Company“. Since then the company has managed to navigate the economic storm, plans to include a four-cylinder option for every vehicle they make, and has innovated some exciting new technologies that make real engineering progress in fuel efficiency and power. A case in point, the EcoBoost engine.
EcoBoost Gas-Turbo Direct Injection Engine
The EcoBoost family of 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder engines features turbocharging and direct injection technology. Compared with more expensive hybrids and diesel engines, EcoBoost builds upon today’s affordable gasoline engine and improves it, providing more customers with a way to improve fuel economy and emissions without compromising driving performance.
Faster return on investment to consumers means that the new technology “pays for itself” thru fuel savings in a shorter period of time than my other favorite efficient engines – the turbo-diesel and hybrids (can we get a flex-fuel hybrid out the door please!)
“Compared with the current cost of diesel and hybrid technologies, customers in North America can expect to recoup their initial investment in a 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine through fuel savings in approximately 30 months. A diesel in North America will take an average of seven and one-half years, while the cost of a hybrid will take nearly 12 years to recoup – given equivalent miles driven per year and fuel costs,” [said Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president of Global Product Development.]
In case you’re thinking that EcoBoost might mean a wimpy ride, consider that Ford has had to redesign and strengthen the standard automatic transmission to handle the extra torque and power.
Ford’s 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged, direct-injected EcoBoost V-6 engine, set to debut this spring under the hood of the Lincoln MKS and Ford Taurus SHO, makes so much torque (350 pound-feet, to be exact) that apparently the automaker’s standard 6F-50 six-speed automatic transmission couldn’t reliably handle it. So Ford went back to the drawing board and created a new transmission specifically for the higher torque demands of the new powerplant: the 6f-55 automatic transmission.
While most of the details are highly technical in nature, the key changes for this new transmission include stronger parts and materials to deal with the increased forces and temperatures present in the turbocharged power train. For example, the 6f-55 transmission features thicker transfer and final gears and a new, more robust differential case.
Ford continues to demonstrate that there is plenty of room for innovation even in old-fashioned piston engine technology. Instead of making excuses, they choose to find solutions.