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Ford Fiesta
Ford continues to milk the benefits of turbocharging

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.

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RE: Nice idea
By shiftypy on 6/3/2011 4:42:55 AM , Rating: 2
Very interesting read to bust some myths

You mentioned, turbocharging becomes interesting for eco-cars after introduction of gasoline direct injection
Add stratified charge combustion and you get even more efficient lean burn idle and cruise mode

But high compression... Isn't natural gas quite immune to high compression detonation? Doesn't it make sense to build such turbocharged 100% LNG car, optimized for that fuel? Hunch says it will be lighter/more powerful compared to conversion kits.
And LNG is cheaper and burns cleaner than gasoline

RE: Nice idea
By shiftypy on 6/3/2011 4:47:03 AM , Rating: 2
Apologies, I meant compressed natural gas, not liquified. Infrastructure for CNG exists in many regions

Read about Honda Civig GX. Not stellar performance. Slower and heavier than gasoline counterpart and has less range. Meh.

RE: Nice idea
By Hyperion1400 on 6/4/2011 11:48:44 AM , Rating: 1
Or, one could use the exact same engines and just run ethanol to avoid the compression issue. The only modifications that need to be made are new fuel injectors, with an ethanol friendly spray pattern, and an adjustment to the valve and firing timings.

Sure, you lose a good 2/5ths of your fuel mileage, but I bet brewing alcohol in your back yard is a hell of a lot cheaper than visiting the pump. And yes, the production of de-natured alcohol is perfectly legal.

What I wonder, is how much turbo-lag is there with such a tiny engine? I realize variable valve timing has eliminated most of the problem on 1.6s and 2.0s but still, sooooo tiny!

RE: Nice idea
By tastyratz on 6/6/2011 1:55:59 PM , Rating: 3
the lag has been mitigated quite a bit on more aerodynamic turbochargers on new cars as well as with technologies such as electronic assist and ball bearing center cartridges. As long as the turbo is not too large most transient response might only feel like 1 or 2 seconds if at all.

Ethanol presents its own issues, and if home brewing were cost effective it would be commonplace. Ethanol is corrosive to the entire fuel system and requires all compatible metals and seals. It also corrodes aluminum... and what do you do with aluminum heads and manifolds? You can't do anything but wait... Ethanol might not be as bat as methanol and nitromethane, but it will cause cars to give up the ghost sooner than later.

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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