Ford EcoBoost engine. Click image to enlarge
By Jim Kerr; photos courtesy Ford Motor Company
May 19, 2009 marked the start of production of Ford’s new high tech EcoBoost engines. Available this summer in the 2010 Lincoln MKS, Lincoln MKT, Ford Taurus SHO and Ford Flex, the EcoBoost engines will eventually be offered in up to 90 per cent of all Ford models over the next few years. What makes the EcoBoost a big deal is that this engine produces lower emissions, more performance and up to 20 per cent better fuel economy.
The EcoBoost isn’t a flash-in-the-pan design. Ford engineers have been working on this for a few years along with suppliers such as Bosch, who supply fuel system parts. Ford’s Cleveland engine plant has had US$55 million dollars invested in new tooling and facilities to build this engine (building new engines isn’t cheap even in an existing plant!). When fully ramped up, Ford expects to deliver 750,000 vehicles a year with this new engine in North America and almost double that worldwide. Initially, the EcoBoost will be a 3.5-litre V6 design but inline 4-cylinder models will follow soon.
The 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 has the power of a V8 engine but the economy of a V6, according to Ford. With 355 horsepower it will be responsive, but it is the broad torque band that will really make the engine noteworthy. To accomplish this, the engineers have integrated three key technologies: direct fuel injection, turbocharging and computer aided design (CAE).
Designers looked at even the small items: for example, the fuel line on most fuel injected engines runs to one fuel rail and then on to the other fuel rail on a V style engine. On the Ecoboost, the fuel line splits into a Y design and feeds both fuel rails at the same time. This may not seem like a significant change, but it reduces the fuel pressure pulsations that occur every time an injector fires, so fuel delivery is more accurate and engine noise is reduced. At the 2150 PSI the Ecoboost fuel system operates (about 35 times more than conventional port injection) this feature takes on new importance.