After witnessing the enormous success of Fiat’s TwinAir engine, Ford decided they want their own super small engine. So they made a 1 liter three-cylinder EcoBoost unit.
To be launched globally in Ford small cars, this new engine promises power and performance of regular four-cylinder units with much greater fuel economy. Ford also announced development of their first eight-speed automatic transmission. That and its new hybrid transmission will further strengthen the company’s lineup of fuel-efficient vehicles.
The new 1 liter engine has been designed and developed in UK and introduces many new technologies that could someday be part of the DNA of future Ford engines. They’ve focused on improving thermal efficiency and reducing friction of the engine’s internal moving parts, especially during warm-up. The 1.0-liter engine features:
- An offset crankshaft that helps improve fuel economy
- An advanced, Ford-designed split cooling system that allows the cylinder block to warm up before the cylinder head. Faster cylinder block warm-ups save fuel, especially in cold weather
- An exhaust manifold cast into the cylinder head. The one-piece assembly lowers the temperature of the exhaust gases. This enables the engine to run in a wider rpm band with the optimum fuel-to-air ratio. The new design also saves weight and allows the engine to operate more smoothly
- EcoBoost technologies, such as turbocharging, direct injection and twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT)
Performance and fuel economy figures of the new engine are yet to be announced, but if Ford want’s it to be successful, they have to make sure it’s not dull and slow. That’s what makes the Fiat’s engine so popular. That is not particularly economical for a 2-cylinder unit, but it’s so fun to drive that you wouldn’t care!
As mentioned Ford has also developed two new transmissions. Here’s some technical details on them:
This year, Ford offers more automatic, manual or dual-clutch automatic six-speed transmissions across its lineup than any other full-line automaker. From the subcompact Fiesta to the industrial-strength F-Series Super Duty pickup, 100 percent of Ford’s lineup of cars, trucks, SUVs and CUVs feature fuel-saving six-speed transmissions.
Like the 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine, advanced technology will be a key feature of the new Ford-designed, Ford-engineered and Ford-built eight-speed automatic currently under development, Bakaj said. “The new gearbox will be the first with a number of advanced new technologies that will provide faster, smoother and more positive shifts,” he said.
The eight-speed transmission will feature:
- Ford’s next-generation clutch controls
- An input torque sensor, which measures torque coming into the transmission. The sensor enables faster selection of the proper gear, reduces hunting and helps smooth out shifts
- Actuators built into the case for tighter, more precise control of hydraulic pressure
- Closed-loop control
More details on production and applications will be released at a later date.
In-house hybrid transmission
Another new Ford transmission, to be installed in hybrid vehicles, starts production late this year at Van Dyke Transmission Plant in suburban Detroit. Full volume production is slated for the first quarter of 2012.
By next spring, Ford expects to be manufacturing more hybrid transmissions in North America than any other automaker or supplier. The new transmission replaces a unit currently made in Japan that is used today in Ford and Lincoln hybrids.
As with the new eight-speed, the new hybrid transmission is Ford-designed, Ford-engineered and Ford-built. It’s an e-CVT or electronic continuously variable transmission. The new hybrid transmission will offer improved performance over the current unit. The current Ford Fusion Hybrid can reach a top speed of 47 mph on electricity and go as far as one mile.
Within the last year, Ford has invested $135 million to design, engineer and manufacture key components for its expanding lineup of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles. The investment not only brings in-house battery and hybrid transmission production, it also has created at least 220 jobs in Michigan.
Ford is on track to launch five electrified vehicles in the U.S. by 2012 and in Europe by 2013.
“It’s absolutely essential for Ford to further develop its core competencies in engineering electrified powertrains,” Kuzak said. “With this new Ford-built hybrid transmission, and assembly of battery packs at our Rawsonville plant, Ford will be positioned well to meet the quality and performance requirements of future electric and hybrid vehicles.”