The automotive industry is quickly embracing turbocharging
technology for gasoline engines which was once relegated to sports cars and
luxury vehicles in an effort to improve
fuel efficiency. Now vehicles ranging from "lowly" Chevrolet
Cruze compact sedans to Ford F-150s (as witnessed by our article
earlier today) are jumping on the bandwagon.
A little over a year ago, Ford
debuted its Start concept car which featured a brand new three-cylinder
EcoBoost engine. While the vehicle is (and likely will remain) a concept, the
engine has now
been approved for production.
The tiny 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine is turbocharged
(obviously) and features an offset crankshaft to help improve fuel economy. It
also features a split cooling system to warm up the cylinder block before the
cylinder heads. In addition, other EcoBoost staples like direct injection and
twin independent variable camshaft timing are included. The engine also weighs
less than the current 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine used in the Fiesta.
All of this technology means that the tiny 1.0-liter engine
puts out the same or better power as a normally aspirated 1.6-liter engine
while achieving “much higher fuel economy and lower emissions”.
“No one’s ever built a three-cylinder engine quite like
this," said Joe Bakaj, Ford VP of Global Powertrain Engineering
“Consumers are telling us they want to buy affordable
vehicles that get many more miles per gallon,” said Kuzak. “Our new 1.0-liter
EcoBoost engine will give consumers looking for hybrid-like fuel economy a new,
more affordable choice.”
Ford isn't ready to provide EPA numbers for the 1.0-liter
EcoBoost just yet, but the company said that it will get much better fuel
economy than the already good 30 mpg city/40 mpg highway rating of the Fiesta
with the 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine.
quote: The other half is will the smaller less powerful engine be enough lighter to match the performance of the rival hybrids, or will it be even more sluggish?