Ford 1.5L EcoBoost engine: the exhaust manifold is part of the cylinder head casting
There’s a clutch on the water pump
By Jacques Gordon, Managing Editor MACS ACtion Magazine
Ford and FIAT announce their next steps in fuel economy
In the on-going drive for greater fuel economy, Ford has unveiled their newest 1.5L EcoBoost engine that will be used first in the 2014 Fusion. Like previous EcoBoost engines, it’s equipped with a turbocharger, direct fuel injection and variable valve timing. This combination of features (particularly the high compression ratio allowed by direct fuel injection) produces about a 20% improvement in fuel efficiency and/or power density, plus reduced emissions, compared with more conventional engine technology. For this engine Ford has made the exhaust manifold part of the cylinder head casting. Ford says this saves weight and, even more importantly, lowers exhaust gas temperature so the engine can use the “optimum” air/fuel ratio over a wider rpm range. On the intake side of the head is an air-to-liquid intercooler. Below that is a common belt-driven water pump, but it has a clutch that’s controlled by the PCM so the pump can be turned off to reduce warm-up time. This reduces cold-start emissions, the ‘dirtiest’ part of the EPA emissions test cycle. No word on whether or not the engine has a thermostat.
Ford says about 28 percent of all vehicles sold in the U.S. had 4-cylinder engines in 2009, but they expect that percentage to be almost doubled this year or next. The new engine is expected to eventually replace the current 1.6L EcoBoost, and while there are lots of good reasons and new features to recommend the new engine, the reduction in displacement is driven mostly by tax incentives in China and other nations that tax and/or regulate displacement (1.5 liters is a ‘break point’ in many places).
Meanwhile, FIAT has announced the (theoretical) ultimate in fuel economy, the FIAT 500e electric vehicle (EV), to go on sale in California this summer. It will also be available for lease. FIAT North America says that federal and California state tax incentives could reduce the purchase price to less than the base price of a standard FIAT 500, and the lease price to as low as $200 a month. The car’s range is a bit less than 90 miles, so the company is offering another interesting incentive for all buyers and leases. The FIAT 500e Pass provides free access to other passenger cars in the Chrysler line-up for up to 12 days per year with no mileage limit. The idea is to provide EV owners with more cargo capacity and/or greater range when needed for a trip. For an additional fee, customers can upgrade to a pickup truck or minivan. The EV car’s navigation system shows the locations of charging stations, and a smartphone app also provides those locations throughout the state.
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