Since 2004, Ford Motor Company’s combined car and truck fuel economy ratings have risen almost 20%, which is almost double that of their closest competitor. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that this makes Ford the most improved automaker in the industry since 2004.
The 2010 Ford Fusion, for example, offers a 20% improvement in fuel efficiency over the previous year’s model, going from 28 mpg to 34 mpg on the highway.
What made the difference? The improvements Ford made to the powertrain.
Ford’s new models, like the Fusion, are benefitting from the new six-speed transmission, which has a wider gear span than the four-speed. The company intends to use the advanced six-speed gearboxes in nearly 100% of their transmissions by 2013.
Ford says that the introduction of the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner hybrids are also to thank for increased fuel efficiency. The company has also made many incremental improvements in aerodynamics, mechanics, energy management and weight saving across its entire lineup of vehicles. In the near future, Ford intends to improve even further fleet-wide with the introduction of the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan hybrids and more widespread use of its EcoBoost engine.
Currently the EcoBoost is available on the Ford Taurus, Flex and the Lincoln MKS and MKT. The EcoBoost powertrain raises fuel economy up to 20% using gasoline turbocharged direct-injection technology. It also produces 15% lower carbon dioxide emissions and better performance than the larger-displacement engines. EcoBoost recently won the Popular Mechanics’ Breakthrough Award.
Ford’s fuel efficiency improvement reflects the company’s philosophy that every joule of energy that can be saved incrementally is important. Engineers use a systems approach for the management of vehicle energy, and a variety of engineering and design ideas that improve fuel economy by at least 1% each. The sum of the techniques delivers remarkable savings for drivers at the pump.
The power steering system can also be a place to save on energy. Ford’s Electric Power Assist Steering (EPAS) can make up to a 3% improvement in fuel economy, reduce carbon dioxide emissions and enhance steering performance. EPAS works by using an electric motor connected to the battery instead of a hydraulic pump. Ford will be engineering EPAS into 90% of their entire lineup of Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles by 2012.
Ford is planning to boost its overall fuel economy rating with the introduction of the 2011 models of the Ford Fiesta and Focus, which are both small, energy efficient cars.
Ford also claims to have reduced tailpipe carbon dioxide emissions levels more than any other carmaker. The fleet-wide average of 434 grams per mile is 37 grams lower than its total in 2007 and 25 grams lower than 2008.