|2007 Patent Pipeline Power rankings for the automotive sector. Click to enlarge.|
Ward’s Automotive Group has named Ford’s redesigned 2.5-liter engine for the Escape and Mariner hybrids and GM’s 3.6L direct injection V-6 VVT engine to AutoWorld magazine’s 2009 “Ten Best Engines” list for North America. Ward’s will present the 10 Best Engine awards at the Detroit Auto Show in January. Separately, the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) named GM first in the automotive sector in its IEEE Spectrum 2007 Patent Scorecard. Ford came in fourth in that ranking, behind Toyota in third and Nippondenso in second place.
Ford 2.5L. Ford’s 2.5-liter, dual-overhead cam I-4 hybrid engine (earlier post) was the only engine for hybrid vehicles selected as a winner for this year’s list. This is the fifth year of production for the Escape Hybrid but the first year for the SUV to use Ford’s new 2.5-liter engine. Previous models used a 2.3-liter 4-cylinder engine.
“Ford engineers have done a tremendous job,” said Drew Winter, editor in chief of Ward’s Autoworld magazine. “With hybrids in particular, software is such a big thing. The software that regulates how the power is transferred back and forth from gas to electric, when it’s done badly, can be jerky and unsettling, but when it’s done well, it really elevates driving pleasure. It’s the difference between a superior powertrain and a science experiment.”
The 2009 Ford Escape and Mariner hybrid models use the new 2.5-liter I-4 designed to run on the Atkinson combustion cycle. A new engine processor enables nearly imperceptible transitions between gas and electric vehicle mode. The hybrid models also feature a new powertrain damping system to reduce vibrations and feedback to the driver and other vehicle occupants.
The entire hybrid system in both SUVs was completely developed and engineered by Ford, which holds several hundred patents on this exclusive hybrid system. The Escape and Mariner hybrids deliver fuel economy of 34 mpg city and 31 mpg highway.
GM 3.6L DI V-6 VVT. This is the second year in a row the 3.6L direct injection V-6 VVT has been named to the Ten Best Engines list for North America. GM Powertrain’s 3.6L V-6 VVT with direct injection is GM’s highest-output V-6 and one of the most fuel-efficient in GM's high-feature engine family, delivering a 3% fuel economy improvement over its predecessor. The application of direct injection also reduces cold-start hydrocarbon emissions by 25 percent.
The engine is applied in the Cadillac CTS and will be available in the 2009 Buick Enclave, Cadillac STS, Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, Saturn Outlook and Saturn Vue 2-Mode Hybrid.
GM also offers direct injection on its Ecotec 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine found in the 2009 Chevrolet HHR SS and Chevrolet Cobalt SS, Pontiac Solstice GXP and Saturn Sky Red Line.
IEEE patent scorecard. IEEE’s Patent Scorecard, based on a survey that measures the depth and breadth of patents filed in 2007, is a barometer of which companies are driving technological innovation. GM’s 544 patents carried a top, adjusted pipeline power score of 839, which indicates the company’s overall patent power.
The Pipeline Power score is derived by multiplying the company’s patent count by the product of four other variables:
Pipeline Growth represents the firm’s 2007 patent activity, relative to its average performance in the five previous years.
Pipeline Impact indicates how frequently all 2007 patents cited a company’s patents from the previous five years.
Pipeline Generality is a measure of the variety of technologies drawing on a company’s patents.
Pipeline Originality measures the variety of the technologies upon which an organization’s patents build.
An Adjusted Pipeline Impact factor eliminates self-citation. The final score, Adjusted Pipeline Power, is an estimate of a company’s overall patent power.