Ford Bets on EcoBoost
Yahoo! Finance reports that Ford's chief engineer for Research and Advanced Engineering will spend part of his day telling the Society of Automotive Engineers that his employer is counting on their EcoBoost technology– not hybrids– to meet and greet federal mpg standards and appeal to buyers. Andreas R. Schamel's speech will tout "volume-based, near-term actions… within the next five years." [In case you hadn't heard, EcoBoost combines direct injection and turbocharging some 20 percent better fuel efficiency, 15 percent lower CO2 emissions and "superior driving performance versus larger displacement engines."] Although Schamel will toss diesel and hybrid powerplants a rhetorical bone– "hybrids, diesels and technologies such as plug-ins and fuel cells have a role"– EcoBoost it is, starting with the cetacean-snouted Lincoln MKS. From there, The Blue Oval Boyz promise "A 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine with the capability of producing more torque than a larger 6-cylinder engine — nearly an entire liter larger in displacement." Sounds like a plan. [thanks to jthorner for the link]
At risk of inflaming folks, I suggest that daily use of high powered cars for commuting and so forth is an obsolete model and the cars with sub-whatever nought-to-60 are best reserved for occasional weekend fun. Otherwise, they may risk being legislated against if the fuel situation worsens, which I believe it is bound to do considering the rapid growth of car acquisition in China (+28% per year) and the consequent strain on supply. I have been a car buff all my life, owned fast cars, 12-cylinder cars, V8 muscle cars, V8 sports cars, etc., but have made a decision that my daily driver must now be greater than 35 mpg (real world) or it does not land in my garage. Therefore, I applaud Ford for trying whatever they can to survive in this environment. Frankly, I don't care if it is leading edge, bleeding edge, or whatever technology, as long as it works, is deliverable, is reliable and affordable, and has good driveability. And I would prefer it if American manufacturers had competitive models in this niche. After all, the laws of thermodynamics and physics make it damn difficult to have our cake and eat it too, and we have eaten it for a very long time indeed.
Ecoboost is just marketing...but pretty smart marketing. Almost all vehicle will need to have turbo-DI engines in the future for fuel economy (along with stop start, regen braking systems, lighter materials, lower rolling resistance tires, better aerodynamics, possible friction launch/no TC, diesel option, electric power steering, radiation repellant glass, reflective paint, LED lighting, maybe even solar roof panels etc) Ford's just trying to get some positive marketing out of it...no point criticizing them for it. GM's doing the same thing with the Volt, and the announcement of Li-ion mild hybrids.
Ford isn't dumping their V8 and replacing it with a turbo V6, that would be a dumb move, not a bold move. Ford has a new V8 engine set to debut in 2010 for the Mustang, F-150 and their SUVs to compliment the turbo V6. In the Mustang the engine will make over 400hp and all the right sounds for the muscle car faithful. In the F-150 and SUVs it will provide stump-pulling power for those who don't want to pony up for the 4.4L diesel or pay diesel prices. It will also perform much better than the old 5.4L.
kudos to streamliner, I couldn't have said it better (apart from the fact that I haven't ever owned a 12-cylinder...)