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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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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
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