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Ford explores new tech on three cylinders

2015-06-04 12:45

EVEN BETTER: Ford is finding new ways to further improve the fuel-efficiency of its award-winning one-litre EcoBoost engine - including shutting down a cylinder. Image: Ford

  • Enhanced one-litre EcoBoost engine
  • Fuel consumption down 6%
  • Award-winning engine

ESSEX, England – Ford is testing a new approach to engine management that could be a key to making its one-litre, three-cylinder, EcoBoost unit even more fuel-efficient.

The automaker claims 'real world' road tests using a working prototype showed fuel-savings of as much as six percent with an experimental system of combustion chamber deactivation.

To enable this over a wider range of engine loads and speeds Ford developed a dual-mass flywheel which also counters noise and vibration.

SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENTS

Ford’s director of global power train, research and advanced engineering, Andreas Schamel, presented the automaker's findings at an engine symposium in Vienna, Austria.

Cylinder deactivation - by no means a new technique - is one of several fuel-efficiency solutions being investigated by Ford for its three-cylinder EcoBoost unit at the European Research and Innovation Centre in Aachen, Germany.

Schamel explained: "Even for an aggressively downsized engine such as this a significant improvement in fuel economy could be found by exploiting cylinder deactivation. The highest priority in the development of new combustion engines for automotive applications is the ongoing reduction of fuel consumption."

'HALF-ENGINE MODE'

Ford equipped a Focus one-litre EcoBoost with cylinder deactivation hardware then monitored deactivation of a cylinder and even performed rolling cylinder deactivation to run the unit in what it calls "half-engine mode".

Ford said: "The prototype was also fitted with a system that combined a dual-mass flywheel, a pendulum absorber and a tuned clutch disc - particularly effective on a slow-running engine.

"Fuel-efficiency improvements were recorded in homologated conditions and during test drives of the first prototype vehicle over a typical commuter distance of 55km on a combination of highway, city roads and rural roads in Cologne, Germany."

HAT TRICK OF AWARDS

In 2014 Ford’s one-litre EcoBoost engine became the first to win the title of International Engine of the Year three years running. By 2014, Ford said, EcoBoost-equipped vehicles were in 25% of new Fords sold in Europe.

The little EcoBoost is available with either an auto or a five- or six-speed manual transmission and is fitted to 10 models ranging from the Fiesta to the new Mondeo.

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