Ford Looking to Build on Its EcoBoost Engine Technology

Ford Motor Company’s vice president of powertrain engineering, Barb Samardzich, says that the automaker plans to build on the success of its EcoBoost turbocharging technology.

EcoBoost technology is among the innovations Ford hopes will help its 2010 Taurus compete in the mid-size sedan sector. According to Ford’s CEO, Alan Mulally, the Taurus’ EcoBoost, twin-turbocharged, direct-injection V-6 engine delivers horsepower that rivals a standard V-8 configuration and with far superior fuel efficiency.

Ford plans to introduce a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder, direct-injection EcoBoost engine in its seven-passenger C-Max MPV (Multi-Purpose Vehicle) in 2010. Ford also plans to include the technology in its Grand C-Max which is slated for introduction in U.S. markets in 2011.

The Euro-engineered C-Max will include an array of new innovations from Ford including blind-spot detection technology and semi-automatic parallel parking capabilities. It will also be available in a full range of engines including gas and diesel naturally aspirating configurations in addition to the EcoBoost option. The North American-engineered Grand C-Max will offer greater rear cargo area, a longer wheel-base and a power sliding side door.

Samardzich says that Ford is exploring the possibilities of employing the EcoBoost concept to two- and three-cylinder engines as well as those with displacements of less than 1.0 liter.

Samardzich is optimistic, saying, “I think you’ll see all of those things roll out.” She stops short of offering a timetable for such roll outs, but conventional thinking says that such innovations would undergo test marketing in European markets where smaller vehicles dominate. Such will be the case with the C-Max.

Samardzich expects that smaller EcoBoost enabled engines will utilize other emerging technologies including balance shafts to reduce vibration and engine noise. She says these issues are “manageable.”

The smallest EcoBoost enabled engine confirmed for release in North American markets thus far is the 2.0-liter, four-cylinder. The engine will ultimately replace the current 3.0-liter V-6. Ford has yet to disclose which models will be receiving the new engines but has indicated that the migration will take place in 2010.

Ford expects to sell approximately 1.3 million EcoBoost-equipped vehicles annually by 2013. Of those, the automaker expects up to 750,000 to be sold in North American markets. The four-cylinder model is expected to make up about two-thirds of all sales volumes.

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