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Jul 13, 2012

Ford receives recognition for engine-technology advances

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Ford Motor Company’s new one-litre EcoBoost engine – which was launched in the Focus model in Europe this year – has been named the 2012 International Engine of the Year.

The small three-cylinder engine also hauled in two other awards – Best New Engine and Best Engine Under One-Litre – presented by Engine Technology International magazine, and based on votes cast by 76 journalists from 35 countries.

“This is a fitting victory for a truly remarkable engine,” noted awards chairperson Dean Slavnich.

This marks the first time Ford has clinched the International Engine of the Year title in the 13-year history of the awards.

“We set the bar incredibly high when we set out to design this engine,” says Ford global powertrain VP Joe Bakaj. “We wanted to deliver eye-popping fuel economy, surpris- ing performance, quietness and refinement – and all from a very small three-cylinder engine.”

The engine – small enough to fit on an A4 sheet of paper – was designed at Ford’s technical centres in Dunton, in the UK, and Merkenich, Germany. The engine is built in Ford’s plants in Craiova, Romania, and in Cologne, Germany.

It combines turbocharging, direct fuel injection and variable valve timing on both intake and exhaust to deliver the power of a larger engine with the fuel efficiency of a smaller unit.

One-litre EcoBoost innovations include an exhaust manifold, cast into the cylinder head, which lowers the temperature of exhaust gases to enable the optimum fuel-to-air ratio across a wider rev band. There is also a unique cast-iron block that warms the engine more quickly than a conventional aluminium block, cutting the amount of warm-up energy required by 50%, which, in turn, reduces fuel consumption.

The engine also has two main engine drive belts which are immersed in oil to deliver a quieter, more efficient engine.

The one-litre EcoBoost 100 PS delivers fuel efficiency of 4.8 ℓ/100 km and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of 109 g/km. The 125 PS model returns 5 ℓ/100 km with CO2 emissions at 114 g/km.

“If downsizing is the way ahead, there is currently no better example than this. [It has the] same power as the naturally aspirated 1.6 ℓ engine it replaces, and is much punchier to drive,” said one of the UK journalists involved in the awards, John Simister.

“With good torque at the very low end, this high-tech three-cylinder turbo gives the driving performance of a small turbo diesel, but without noise and vibrations,” added Christophe Congrega of French-based L’Automobile Magazine.

In its first full month of sales across Europe, more than 4 700 customers ordered a Focus one-litre EcoBoost, accounting for nearly a quarter of all Ford Focus cars ordered in Ford’s 19 traditional European markets.

Ford of Europe plans to triple annual production of vehicles equipped with efficient EcoBoost petrol engines to around 480 000 units by 2015, up from 141 000 in 2011.

The one-litre EcoBoost engine will be made available in Ford models in the US and in Asia-Pacific and Africa, South Africa included, next year.

The winner in the 1.4-litre to 1.8-litre category of the engine awards was once again – for the sixth time in a row – the 1.6-litre, four- cylinder, direct-injection turbo petrol engine developed in cooperation by PSA Peugeot Citroën and the BMW group.

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

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