We caught up with Ford and were among an
exclusive group of journalists who got a tour of the company's
research and design center and a briefing on EcoBoost. Two
things quickly became apparent -- first, that Ford appears committed
to departing from natural aspiration, and second that Ford believes
that none of its competitors have as advanced testing and control
systems as it does when it comes to direct injection and
Looking at the first point -- the
departure from natural aspiration -- it's important first to explain
what natural aspiration is. Every engine needs air to fuel its
combustion. In naturally aspirated engines, this air isn't
forced into the engine by compressors, rather the intake simply
relies on atmospheric pressure.
When designing more efficient
engines one approach is simply to refine or redesign inefficient
mechanical components (using technologies such as variable valve
lift). Thus far, Ford and others have largely taken this
approach. An alternative is to turn to turbocharging --
artificial aspiration via exhaust-driven compression of air -- to
If there's one thing that Ford made
clear to us at the presentation, it's that it is turning from the
former approach (natural aspiration) to the latter approach
(turbocharging), and that it believes that eventually the majority of
its consumer production will be of turbocharged models. This is
a different approach than its domestic competitors -- GM and Chrysler
-- which are largely opting for refined natural aspiration, as well
as exploring more exotic alternatives like gasoline
The second major point of the
presentation is that Ford strongly believes that it has unique
technologies and testing assets that its competitors don't have.
In order to maintain the engine's compression ratio when
turbocharging, Ford is employing direct injection of gasoline.
Direct injection, while improving compression and providing a torque
gain offers its own unique challenges -- including engine knock.
In order to implement such a strategy and avoid such problems,
complex tools are needed to model and design the engine. Ford
believes it has these tools, but its competitors do not.
Ford's Don Kapp, Ford's Powertrain Research and Advanced Engineering
Director, "We have developed world class design tools and
methodology. There are others out there doing DI and
turbocharging [but] a lot's how you implement it."
has unique internal tools to model how fuel sprays out of the
injector. Ford believes that it is the only automaker to have
accurate, working models of fuel injection in three dimensions and
fuel film formation and rippling on the piston surface. Thanks
to this CFD model, along with more traditional test technologies such
as an optical engine (an engine you can see inside) and single
cylinder engine, Ford was able to tune EcoBoost for awesome
performance. It also helped them address cold start issues by
splitting injection into two separate pulses.
The end result
of Ford's extensive testing and control systems development is 125
filed patent applications. The number is one that Ford is
particularly proud of, as it believes that the patents are
representative of EcoBoost's revolutionary nature. Ford
representatives, in response to an audience question, also stated
that Ford would be willing to work with other automakers to license
EcoBoost and its supporting technologies, if they show interest.
challenge that Ford still faces is managing emissions during cold
start. Current cold start technologies from Ford tend to
significantly reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. In order
to meet U.S. emissions guidelines, Ford may be forced not to deploy
its 1.6 L and 2.0 L EcoBoost engines domestically.
the end of the day, Ford seems to be on the right path with
EcoBoost. Doubling torque/liter and offering 1/2 to 1/3 more
power/liter Ford's 3.5 L V6 EcoBoost engine can outperform many V8
engines. This is advantageous as smaller engines get better
fuel economy (due to less friction) and cost less to produce.
The resulting engine can be tuned to be very powerful -- when pushed,
the 3.5 L V6 EcoBoost engine can put out up to 500 hp for a "couple
hours" if smog emissions are thrown out the window.
the end of the day, though, the Ford EcoBoost engines instead pocket
a 10 to 20 percent increase in fuel economy, while offering an
impressive 365 hp. And with EcoBoost variants coming soon to
the Ford F150 (a 5.0 L EcoBoost engine is in the works), Ford
appears to just be getting started.
quote: The new chevy camero can get 308 hp out of a v6 for cheaper. Makes the Mustang look like a toy.
quote: I don't think I like what they did with the new Camero.
quote: Why would you buy a Stock SS and put on a Magnacharger when you could buy a 2003-2004 Mustang Cobra (for under $20k) and spend $300 on a pulley still smoke the SS?
quote: Chevrolet does not currently make a Camaro that can compete with the upper-crest of Mustang offerings-- at any price.
quote: The V6 Camaro trashes the V6 Mustang, and the SS is a bit faster than any comparably priced Mustang.
quote: And the Mustang has survived because it continues to be what it was built to be, a girls car. It was designed for women and its still largely the car a daddy gets his little girl when she wants a sporty car for her 16th birthday.
quote: ..the SS is a bit faster than any comparably priced Mustang
quote: Where's the plastic on the Camaro? Same places the Mustang has plastic.
quote: Yes, because the "upper-crest" Mustangs are expensive. Like, Corvette-price territory, but nowhere near Corvette performance.
quote: a straight line, a $45,000 GT500 beats a $49,000 C6. (so does a $20,000 03 or 04 Mustang Cobra)
quote: Put a monster cam in a v8 that requires getting spun to 8krpm and you will see a vast increase of efficiency per liter. New Musclecars tend to still choke the engine down for low end torque. More of them should take a page from cars like the s2000 in that respect.
quote: I'm not buying some car that I have to flog to 10k RPM everytime I want to go somewhere.
quote: A Honda 3.0 VTEC V6 makes 200hp and 195 lb ft/torque.
quote: Hmm, guess Honda doesn't know about Honda's engines.
quote: Largely because of GM being able to exploit the powerful low rpm output of the "old tech" LSx engines by making a tall O/D gear.
quote: No, the 400hp Mustang GT isn't out yet, but you do the math.
quote: If the Camaro's current IRS-breakage problems are any indication, they made the right choice.
quote: From what I have been reading Ford stayed with SRA for 2 reasons. Cost and drag racing.
quote: Chevy needs a solid rear axle option.
quote: Some of my friends are considering doing what a lot of the cobra owners do and swap it out if possible.
quote: Have you driven an STi? It has ZERO bottom end torque.
quote: What exactly are you laughing at Ford FanBoy?
quote: says the Subaru Fanboy LOL The SHO has a 12:1 weight to power ratio The STI has about 11:1 weight to power ratio The SHO gets better mileage. aka more efficient HP per liter is not the sole determination of efficiency. When you quote only HP per liter you're only speaking to the max HP the engine can make. The SHO's engine has more torque and a broader torque curve. Torque is the application of force. That means the engine can apply more force to the wheels over a broader range than the STI's engine.
quote: Subaru is limited on what engines it can use because their rally vehicles need to meet the World Rally Associations rulebook on production car displacement, right ?
quote: Holy hell, the SHO weighs 4400lbs?
quote: Is that the 2011 5 series? All the 5 series I could find were less than 4,000 lbs.
quote: The STI doesn't really sound all that impressive from those numbers, especially considering the SHO can hit 60 mph in 5.2 seconds.
quote: Ford's 3.5 L V6 Ecoboost likely could have gotten closer to the 911's horsepower if it sacrificed fuel economy.
quote: Big static turbo's on small displacements suffer from high back pressure at low RPMs. This causes a significant drop in torque as energy is wasted forcing the exhaust out. This usually plays itself out over the first 60-70 feet of launch.
quote: They have a hard time getting NA motors right, so I hope they can figure out how to make a decent turbo motor.
quote: Yea, I don't see the big deal with this. I have a turbo-charged toyota from 91 that makes 300+ whp and still manages 29 mpg when I lay off it (which isn't often)...
quote: I'm not a Ford hater, I'd just never own one. Too risky.
quote: by FITCamaro on October 5, 2009 at 10:52 AMYes and they cost $40-50,000 dollars if not more.
quote: Europe has been doing these engines for many years, and are getting significant gains every generation. Ecoboost is nothing new at all.
quote: What's this "used to be committed" business? Their M line is still all NA.
quote: When you include total BMW group sales (with Mini), that's about 9%
quote: The bulk of the sales are not coming from these models, so I would have to say the heavier use is in non-turbo vehicles.
quote: But, before I do that, why don't you prove me wrong?
quote: being right or wrong is what does that. And, I am right.
quote: Good marketing though, making people think you invented turbochargers. Maybe you can do the same thing with VTEC?
quote: Man, your way behind the times. New turbos have Variable Geometry so that they have a minimal amount of lag.