Ford has Big Plans For its EcoBoost Engines

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Detroit Free Press

Ford Motor Co. plans to grow its EcoBoost family of turbocharged gasoline engines and use them in more vehicles, in the U.S. and overseas, according to a Ford executive.

Get the details on Ford’s strategy to boost fuel economy in its vehicles.

Ford plans to grow its EcoBoost family of turbocharged gasoline engines and use them in more vehicles, in the U.S. and overseas, according to a Ford executive.

The automaker is designing new vehicles to be powered with EcoBoost engines, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, diesel and compressed natural gas, said Joe Bakaj, Ford vice president of powertrain engineering. The company marked the production today of 2 million EcoBoost engines.

To meet the federally mandated corporate average fuel economy of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, car companies must upgrade engines every three years, rather than the once-a-decade pace of the past, Bakaj said.

EcoBoost technology, which uses direct injection and turbochargers to achieve better fuel economy and greater performance in engines with smaller displacement, is an important tool for Ford to meet those 2025 standards.

Ford now has five EcoBoost engines with more to come.

The largest is the 3.5-liter V6 in full-size cars, crossovers and trucks. The 2-liter and 1.6-liter four-cylinder engines power smaller cars and crossovers globally. The smallest is the 1-liter, three-cylinder engine offered in Europe and coming this fall in the 2014 Fiesta. The newest, announced in April, is a 1.5-liter on sale in China. It will go into the Fusion and Mondeo for North America and Europe.

Mike Omotoso, a forecaster for LMC Automotive in Troy, sees room for a smaller V6, maybe a 3-liter, in the lineup, as well as a turbocharged V8 for a performance Mustang to replace the supercharged V8 in the Shelby Mustang.

“Five or six years ago we were looking at the engine on paper,” said Amy Marentic, Ford group marketing manager. “Today we are celebrating the 2 millionth.”

Ford put an EcoBoost V6 into an F-150 in February 2011 and at one point it was half of the new trucks Ford sold. That has since dropped to 42% with more entry-level buyers in the market; the EcoBoost costs more than a conventional V6.

But the number of EcoBoost V6s sold is higher because pickup sales have risen, said Doug Scott, truck marketing manager.

Bakaj said it was a “big risk for us as a company to go from a big V8 to a V6. We knew on paper it would be great, but until you launch and see consumers vote, you don’t know if the strategy will work.”

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