June 21, 2002

2004 Ford Explorer to have drive-by-wire throttle

Dearborn, Michigan – 2004 model year Ford Explorers will have no mechanical linkage between the accelerator pedal and the engine says Ford. Electronic throttle control (ETC) is one of several new technologies Ford will introduce next year as standard equipment on the 2004 Explorer to help increase its fuel economy by about 5 percent while also reducing emissions. ETC will enhance the performance feel of the Explorer, an important attribute to customers.

Ford made the ’04 Explorer announcement at FutureTruck 2002, an advanced vehicle competition that concludes this week in California after a week of evaluation events at Ford’s Arizona Proving Grounds.

Both engines available on the ’04 Ford Explorer, the 4.0-liter V-6 and the 4.6-liter V-8, will feature “drive-by-wire”- one of the first applications in the auto industry of a torque-based, “intelligent” ETC with a gasoline engine.

A number of other technologies to be introduced on the ’04 Explorer also help improve its fuel economy by reducing friction and parasitic energy loss. These technologies include coated pistons, torque converter upgrade, electronic returnless fuel system, low rolling resistance tires, synthetic rear axle lube and an advanced exhaust gas return (EGR) system.

“Bundling together several technologies will enable us to deliver to our Explorer customers improvements in fuel efficiency while further lowering emissions levels,” said Bob Himes, engineering director – Ford SUV product development. “This is all part of the difficult work in cost-effectively engineering technologies that increase fuel efficiency without taking away any of the capabilities that have made Explorer the top-selling SUV.”

The ’04 Explorer equipped with 4.6-liter V-8 engine will meet the U.S. federal government’s new standard for Low Emission Vehicles (LEV II). Additional enhancements to the vehicle to meet this standard include: a new electronic vapor management system, and upgrades to the engine air intakes and emission treating catalyst system.

“We are pushing forward on many fronts to increase fuel economy for our customers and to protect the environment,” Himes said. “We will introduce the Ford Escape Hybrid next year that will be the cleanest SUV available while delivering nearly 40 mpg in stop-and-go city driving. And we will continue investigating new approaches and new technologies so we can bring no-compromise improvements to vehicles in mass production. That’s why we are so interested in working with the bright and energetic engineering teams at the 15 universities across North America participating in FutureTruck 2002.”

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