Ford Expects Four-Cylinder Engines to Significantly Increase in Popularity
May 21, 2013 8:56 AM
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Ford says 66% of new cars we use four-cylinder engines by 2020
With the looming CAFE fuel economy standards, just about every automaker out there is pushing hard to migrate from larger displacement engines to engines with a
, typically using a turbocharger to get the same sort of power output. The benefit of this is that it allows drivers to have the same performance with improved fuel economy.
One of the most successful automakers at making this transition away from higher displacement engines has been Ford with its line of EcoBoost power plants.
reports that Ford is projecting an increase in sales for vehicles using four-cylinder engines and that by 2020 66% of all new vehicles will use smaller displacement four-cylinder engines.
"I think it's maybe a stretch. But I don't find it implausible," said Bill Visnic, senior editor at the car research site Edmunds.com, in a telephone interview. "If you look at where things have been going segment by segment, except pickups, you could say that's been the trend."
In 2008, only 40% of new vehicles sold used four-cylinder engines compared to 53% today. Currently, the majority of small and medium-size cars on the automotive market come standard with a four-cylinder engine. Most compact SUVs also come standard with four-cylinder engine. Full-size pickups and full-size SUVs currently come with six and eight-cylinder engine options. In 2012, sales of pickup trucks accounted for 13% of all new market sales.
Mike Osmotoso of LMC Automotive notes that to achieve that 66% goal, "[Ford would be] expecting pickups and full-size SUVs to virtually disappear."
Considering that the Ford F-150 is the automaker's best-selling vehicle, the more likely scenario would have
entry-level trucks using EcoBoost four-cylinder engines
producing the same power output as current base level V-6 engines.
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RE: "Disappearing" Trucks
5/21/2013 1:56:41 PM
Truthfully, it depends.
If you're doing a lot of ultra urban, inner city driving (like say...in downtown Manhattan or in downtown Chicago) - probably moreso mass. Cuz you keep having to accelerate and decelerate that mass. So a LOT of energy is spent just on MOVING the damn thing.
But if you're doing say...a constant 75 mph - mehhh...that depends.
If you design the pick-up so that it "LOOKS" like a pick-up today (big, huge, bulky, like a brick), then hurling a brick at 75 mph is going to encounter a lot of air resistance no matter how much you try to make a brick aerodynamic. But on the other than though, mass is somewhat more "predictable" in terms of fuel economy specifically because kinetic energy is 0.5*m*v^2.
So if you say..make a truck 10% lighter, the relationship between the two is pretty well linear. Aero - on the other hand is a LOT less "predictable". (I used to run the computational fluid stuff while I was an undergrad research - not for cars or an OEM, but the nature of fluids and computational fluids is as much an art as it is a science right now. And there's still a LOT of debate amongst CFD users about what is the best way that is the most generally applicable. And it doesn't help that 35 years later (roughly) - there STILL isn't a general concensus amongst the experts in the field give you a glimpse as to how difficult the problem is and how difficult making such a claim/statement is.
And part of it also comes as a result of the customers too. OEMs can probably MAKE a very aerodynamic pick-up truck, but by then, it probably wouldn't look anything like the pick-up truck that people know and have envisioned in their minds. So, they end up having to like "undo" that, and well...yeah...you end up with what you've got today amongst all of the pick-up truck manufacturers.
It's the same or very similiar idea with the CVT transmissions and how people were complaining that you couldn't feel it shift, so OEMs HAD to change the transmission control algorithm and put the "shift feel" back into the CVT (which basically made the whole point of a CVT moot or near-moot).
OEMs (in general) get a fair bit of that. People generally don't like change. But once in a while, people eventually realize that the change was for the better. Much, MUCH better.
(The basic drag force equation is 0.5*rho*v^2*Cd*A and if people want the frontal profile of a pick-up to be a brick, then pretty much almost all of those numbers are locked/fixed values either because they're constant for comparison purposes, or constrained, however artifically).
(Note: I cannot stress my disclaimer enough. Even though I work for an OEM, I've also worked in the supplier base as well as an automotive engineering analyst, so I am speaking for myself based on my discussions at conferences with experts and my collective experiences. And a little bit from having actually done bits and pieces of it as part of my studies/personal research.)
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed here are solely that of my own and are not representative of Ford Motor Company or its affiliates.
"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson
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