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New car aims to use bleeding edge technology to offer hybrid-like miles from a gas engine

While perhaps not as sweet as the 1.6L Duratorq TDCi "ECOnectic" variant -- a 65 miles per gallon diesel Fiesta variant from Ford Motor Comp. (F) that is not available in the U.S. -- next year will bring a 1.0L three-cylinder EcoBoost engine to the 2014 Ford Fiesta in the United States, which should offer smaller, but similar gains.

The diesel and EcoBoost both use direct-injection, which is the process of shooting fuel directly into the combustion chamber, rather than mixing it in intake chamber.  The 1.0L EcoBoost engine is currently offered in the European 2013 Ford Focus, which gets roughly 32/41 mpg, according to Car and Driver.  The 2014 Fiesta should offer at least a few more mpg, as it roughly 250 kg lighter than the Focus.

The 1.0L inline-3 engine block stowed inside carry-on luggage [Image Source: Autoblog]

Ford brags that the 1.0L 3-cylinder EcoBoost engine will deliver the same 123 hp as its 1.6L four-cylinder counterpart, but will offer 148 lb-ft. of torque (peak) at around 1,400 RPM.

The automaker reports that 30 percent of orders in Europe for the 2013 Focus have been for the EcoBoost version.  Since EcoBoost launched in 2009 it has been a modest sales success. Ford estimates it has sold 520,000 of the high-tech optional gasoline engine.  It is targeting 1.6 million EcoBoost engine sales in 2013.

The I-3 EcoBoost is Ford's first three-cylinder car engine, and is the smallest member of the EcoBoost family.  It reduces parts by about 25 percent over the standard 1.6L I-4 engine, and is covered by 125 patents.  Comments Bob Fascetti, director, Ford Global Engine Engineering, "We really focused on reducing the amount of energy the 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine uses by paying very close attention to such things as bearing sizes, piston ring tension and thermal management.  For instance, we decided not to use a balance shaft in the engine because it adds weight and increases friction or parasitic losses. So we balance the engine externally with the crankshaft pulley and flywheel."

2014 Fiesta
The 2014 Ford Fiesta finally adds EcoBoost, thanks to Ford's tiniest engine yet.

EcoBoost engines typically cost around $995 USD extra as an option.  Some quick math tells you that assuming you get 4 or 5 extra miles per gallon of gas and gas costs $3.60 USD/gallon or more, than means you'd break even after around 4,000 gallons or 185,000 miles.  Of course, if the price of gas goes higher, the break even could come sooner; for instance at $4.00 it becomes around 3,700 gallons or 165,000 miles.

That equation could improve, also if Ford chooses to drop EcoBoost option prices in 2013 to stoke adoption.

Sources: Ford, Autoblog

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I know it's to save costs....
By Philippine Mango on 11/20/2012 2:01:56 AM , Rating: 2
But.... I wish they would make a 1L 4 cylinder engine or the like instead so that the engine could operate more smoothly. An I6 that was a 1.5L would be really sweet since the engine would be perfectly balanced and probably could be tuned for more power more easily.

RE: I know it's to save costs....
By MGSsancho on 11/20/2012 4:41:16 AM , Rating: 2
Bigger engine would increase the weight and thus decrease the MPG. Keep in mind for the markets targeted by this engine, coasting at 85mph isn't too much of a concern when you live in congested cities with smaller roads. In addition it would be more expensive =/

RE: I know it's to save costs....
By Samus on 11/20/2012 8:01:27 PM , Rating: 1
3 and 5 cylinder inline engines are inherently smoother than 4-cylinder inline engines. this doesn't "feel" the case a lot of the time because I4 technology has advanced so much because of their dominant market position. but the laws of physics, balanced firing order and parasitic losses all favor I3/I5 over I4.

however, there is no argument that inline 6's are the smoothest of all inline configurations. but they are incredibly heavy and expensive to repair. they are also very long (even the smallest of them such as the Toyota 3.0l 7MGE) making tough placement in front-wheel drive configurations in small cars. large cars like the Volvo S80 can transversely mount an I6 (even with two turbo chargers) because the engine compartment is wide and the AWD drivetrain is optimally placed behind the engine with an external center differential and transfer case (which would otherwise be integrated into the transmission if there were enough room to mount next to the engine.) this is even more complex with manual transmissions which are usually even longer/wider, even when they have dual layshafts.

RE: I know it's to save costs....
By e36Jeff on 11/20/2012 11:15:21 PM , Rating: 3
I3 and I5's are not more balanced that an I4. Both an I3 and an I5 require balance shafts to be run smoothly, regardless of the displacement/output. A small I4 with lowish power output can run without any balance shafts without being considered rough(though if you get over 2.0L, you need the balance shafts). As for parasitic drag, that is primarily a function of the number of cylinders, so an I3 has less than an I4, which in turn has less than an I5, and so on. All things equal, an I6 is a heavier engine, but not by huge amounts. The difference in weight between a 3.0L I6 and a 3.0L I5 will be fairly low, you need the running gear for an extra cylinder, but you dont need the balance shafts. As for the expense of an I6, thats more a function of the brands that use them, i.e. BMW and Volvo. They are luxury brands, and you get charged a premium for your parts and labor. You are, however, dead on with the size comment. The only way to fit an I6 into a normal sized car is to install it longitudinally into a RWD platform, which is why it fell out of favor when the market switched to FWD and smaller cars. And using a 3.0L engine as an example of a small I6 is a really bad example. There have been multiple examples of I6's from BMW alone in the 2.0-3.0L range. Most modern I6's fall in the 2.5L-4.0L range.

RE: I know it's to save costs....
By mellomonk on 11/20/2012 5:06:40 AM , Rating: 2
The reviews I have seen from Europe have pretty pretty good for the little lump. It must be extensively counter balanced since they all mentioned it's smoothness. Maybe that is relative to expectations. Fifth Gear did a drag race between Focuses (Foci?) equipped with the 1.0 Eco Boost and the normally aspirated 1.6L petrol variant. You can guess who won.

BMW makes a wonderful 1.6L 6 cylinder for their top touring motorcycle. Makes about 160bhp and is smooth as and android's bottom.

RE: I know it's to save costs....
By JonnyDough on 11/20/2012 7:20:58 AM , Rating: 2
Additionally, a three cyl engine is not that much "less smooth" than a four cyl engine, it's simply a matter of timing the pistons and having them operate at higher firing speeds. Two cylinder engines on motorcycles work just fine, with muffling playing a part in keeping two cylinder engines quieter. Cooling becomes important when each piston fires more frequently, but when you're burning such low amounts of gas in each piston you aren't going to have as much heat. Aluminum of course has long been chosen for dissipation of heat.

RE: I know it's to save costs....
By steven975 on 11/20/2012 8:45:11 AM , Rating: 3
An i-3 only needs end to end balancing, which is taken car of with the crank pulley and flywheel. It won't be perfect, but it would be better than a i-4 with no balance shaft.

An i-4 has second order vibration due to the pistons accelerating up and down at different rates.

An i-6 needs no balancing whatsoever.

RE: I know it's to save costs....
By YashBudini on 11/20/2012 4:43:42 PM , Rating: 2
An i-6 needs no balancing whatsoever.

That's why 6 cylinders rock, because they don't.

And 60 degree V6's aren't far behind.

RE: I know it's to save costs....
By bill.rookard on 11/20/2012 9:09:24 AM , Rating: 2
From a smoothness point of view, I agree with you - an I4 or an I6 small displacement engine would be nice, but external counterbalancing through the flywheel and the front harmonic balancer is a simple and frictionless way to eliminate most of those vibrations (well, simple from a parts count p.o.v.).

That is really what the goal is about with this engine: reducing parts, which reduces parasitic losses and maximizes efficiency. That really is a great way to get a return on every drop of fuel - every bearing, every counter rotating balance shaft, every piston ring creates friction (and wear) and increases your failure points. It also takes power to run those shafts and to overcome that friction, so reducing those parts makes an engine both more reliable -and- more efficient.

What frosts me about this whole thing though is the failure of the EPA to allow those efficient diesels to be brought here. 65mpg is no joke, and even with the slightly elevated price for diesel fuel, the gasoline version gets 10.95 miles per dollar, while the diesel gets 16.25 miles per dollar (assuming $3.50 gasoline, 40mpg gasoline, $4.00 diesel, 65mpg diesel).

When is the EPA going to make some flexible rules which allow the mileage of a vehicle to play into the emissions? Yes, a diesel is a little 'dirtier' but the fact that it gets nearly 60% better mileage HAS to play into the factors somewhere. Instead, the EPA is pushing ethanol which gets WORSE mileage (lower energy density which also has no reduction in price due to that lower density).

RE: I know it's to save costs....
By Spuke on 11/20/2012 11:41:55 AM , Rating: 2
65 mpg in Europe does not equal 65 mpg US. Different capacities and different testing methodologies. Please stop repeating BS.

RE: I know it's to save costs....
By bill.rookard on 11/20/2012 3:37:44 PM , Rating: 2
Ah - true - and fair enough - the testing methodologies are different between the US and EU, but the comparison is still valid since the 41mpg quoted from the Focus (if I am reading it right) is from the European version as well.

So - 41mpg (Euro) vs 65 (Euro) is -still- a 50%+ improvement - although it appears I -did- make a mistake in comparing the Focus mileage to the Fiesta diesel. Even assuming +5 mpg for the gasoline Fiesta - it comes to 45 gasoline, 65 diesel.

And regarding your 'BS' comment, from all around the net (including the official government site), the Euro-Focus is rated 41mpg, the US-Focus is rated 38mpg. So - about a 5% difference which isn't that much, meaning my comparison for the most part is substantially correct - the diesel versions - REGARDLESS OF US/EU RATINGS get significantly better mileage than their gasoline versions.

RE: I know it's to save costs....
By Spuke on 11/20/12, Rating: 0
RE: I know it's to save costs....
By Spuke on 11/20/12, Rating: 0
Still not worth the money
By tayb on 11/20/2012 9:52:15 AM , Rating: 2
The average consumer does not drive a car to 180,000 miles much less 150,000. The car may eventually tally up that many miles but it will likely come from second or third hand buyers. If Ford wants to increase adoption rate for the ecoboost engines they need to drop the price by 50% or more. As of right now the price increase just isn't worth it.

RE: Still not worth the money
By mcnabney on 11/20/2012 10:11:25 AM , Rating: 2
You should pay attention all the way through the article. It is more efficient and it is faster. So your extra money buys performance too.

RE: Still not worth the money
By Spuke on 11/20/2012 11:45:51 AM , Rating: 2
This would be a great used, daily driver car when your other car is a 69 BMW 2002 with an M20 6 cyl swap. :) I'll have to keep my eye on this one.

RE: Still not worth the money
By JediJeb on 11/20/2012 8:51:11 PM , Rating: 2
Mine(96 F150) has 238,000 miles currently and I am hoping for 300,000 at least before I get rid of it when I have had it for 20 years. All vehicles should be this reliable and long lasting, otherwise they are not worth what they currently cost.

Who knows, if they don't make anything I like three years from now, I may just hang on to it even longer.

RE: Still not worth the money
By rcsinfo on 11/21/2012 1:26:08 AM , Rating: 2
I agree that most new car buyers do not keep a car long enough to hit that kind of mileage. However it is worth considering that this $995 option may have a considerable effect on the resale value or lease residual of the car.

Depending on the market segment, certain options like cruise control or power door locks have shown enough resale value to offset their purchase price. Below is a good article about car options and resale value. It does mention performance engine upgrades, but not the fuel economy boosting engine mentioned in the article.

By fic2 on 11/20/2012 12:24:22 PM , Rating: 5
My calculations tell me something different as far as break even. The 2013 Ford Fiesta with the 1.6L engine is rated at 37 mpg highway. If we assume the 1.0L engine gets 5 mpg better then my math looks like:
12,000 miles/year / 37 mpg = 324 g/year * $3.60 = $1166.40 /year
12,000 miles/year / 42 mpg = 286 g/year * $3.60 = $1029.60
for savings of $136.80 per year. Break even would be after ~7.25 years and 87,280 miles.

Another way is using the $995 price difference.
$995/$3.60 gal = 276.4 gallons of saved fuel to reach break even. The 42 mpg version would save 38 gallons per year.

RE: Math?
By piroroadkill on 11/21/2012 5:53:20 AM , Rating: 2
Also, one thing that people don't often mention - what's your time worth? The simple fact you have to fill up less often is surely worth something.

By YashBudini on 11/20/2012 4:40:16 PM , Rating: 2
and is covered by 125 patents

I'm surprised, I thought only Apple could have so many.

Hmmm, the engine is a rectangular shape, Apple's attorney's are probably filing the next lawsuit as we speak.

"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer

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