July 17, 2002
Ford may offer diesel-powered Focus
Dearborn, Michigan – Ford Motor Company is seriously studying plans to offer a diesel-powered Ford Focus for sale in North America within the next five years.
“Ford Motor Company strongly supports introducing cleaner, more fuel-efficient diesel vehicles in key markets around the world, including North America, when the time is right,” said Nick Scheele, Ford Motor Company chief operating officer, during the kickoff of the company’s 2003 Product and Technology Week media program.
Scheele said diesel technology has advanced in recent years to the point that diesel engines compare favourably with gasoline engines on many consumer-driven attributes, such as noise, performance and emissions.
Ford is not seeking any changes in emissions standards to deliver diesel cars to North American consumers. Ford will provide diesel light vehicles only if a way is found to meet the EPA’s stringent Tier II emissions rules. But that will require further improvements in engine and fuel systems and exhaust aftertreatment technology. Low sulfur diesel fuel (15 parts per million or less), which will be available in the U.S. in mid-2006, is a critical requirement for these emissions controls. A way to manage nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, critical for Tier II compliance, also needs to be achieved. Among the solutions being studied is a NOx absorber type catalyst and a co-fueling of diesel and urea, an ammonia-based compound, to reduce NOx emissions. Ford is working to develop an aftertreatment technology that will reduce the issues surrounding particulate matter and health concerns.
“Ford understands that to be accepted as personal use vehicles in the U.S., diesels will need to overcome some remaining public and regulatory concerns, including noise, odor, smoke, potential toxic emissions and inconvenient fueling locations,” said Dick Baker, corporate technical specialist for Ford’s Advanced Diesel Systems group. “Ford remains committed to helping solve these concerns.”
Ford currently is testing a diesel Focus using the co-fueling system as a way to achieve Tier II standards. In addition, Ford is testing a small U.S. fleet of Focus TDCi vehicles – the same cars now on sale in Europe – to help build awareness and demonstrate improvements made in diesel technology.
Diesel technology offers advantages in fuel efficiency in the range of 25 percent to 30 percent over a gasoline vehicle. This fuel economy improvement translates into a 20 percent to 25 percent reduction in CO2.
Ford’s Focus TDCi in Europe is powered by a 1.8-liter Ford Duratorq Turbo Diesel Common-Rail Injection (TDCi) engine, which benefits from second-generation common-rail diesel injection technology. The common-rail technology uses a high-pressure reservoir to deliver fuel to the cylinders via computer-controlled solenoid-actuated injectors. A high output rotary fuel pump maintains fuel pressure in the reservoir to instantly deliver the fuel demand of the engine.
The Focus TDCi has a top speed of 120 mph and is capable of 0-60 mph acceleration in 10.7 seconds. The fuel economy and range of the vehicle are comparable to a gasoline hybrid, but with a higher continuous torque. Fuel economy is up to 30 percent higher compared to a traditional gasoline engine product.