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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 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.

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