Climate Talks End In “Copenhagen Accord”; Countries Settle On Non- Binding 2 ºC Warming Limit
Perspective: Why Carbon Emissions Should Not Have Been the Focus of the UN Climate Change Summit and Why the 15th Conference of the Parties Should Have Focused on Technology Transfer

Ford Making Aggressive Push With EcoBoost and Technologies Such as Ti-VCT for Improved Fuel Economy; Roadmap for Future Generations of EcoBoost Highlights Role as Company Strategy as Well as Product

The next-generation of EcoBoost will seek to improve performance and fuel consumption through the use of technologies such as advanced boosting and cooled EGR. Click to enlarge.

As part of an aggressive deployment strategy for improving fuel efficiency across its product line-up in the near-to medium-term, Ford will offer its first-generation turbocharged, gasoline direct-injection EcoBoost engines (earlier post) in 90% of its product lineup by 2013. Ti-VCT (Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing), Ford’s advanced multi-valve engine technology (earlier post), will be on 80% of its products by 2012, including EcoBoost and non-EcoBoost applications.

Ford views EcoBoost as a strategy as well as a product—one that will serve as a key element of Ford’s CO2 and fuel economy product strategy—said Dan Kapp, Director, Ford Powertrain Research and Advanced Engineering, during a briefing on the company’s fuel economy strategies in Dearborn. The development and deployment of current and future generations of EcoBoost and other technologies are not alternatives to electrification of the powertrain, Kapp said. The more efficient combustion engine technologies, with their enabling of downsizing, come in compatibly with hybridization, with hybridization and electrification playing a larger role over time.

Planning background. Several years back, Ford engaged in a modelling strategy to determine what it’s fleet fuel economy should be over time given a proportional contribution to achieving an atmospheric CO2 concentration of 450 ppm, said Sue Cischke, Ford group vice president, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering.

Ford planners concluded that the most impactful thing they could do in the short term was to leverage currently available technology. In the powertrain arenas, this indicated the broad deployment of technologies such as more advanced transmissions (e.g. 6-speed and dual clutch), but especially EcoBoost, Kapp said.

Wide-spread EcoBoost application will enable downsizing—moving from eight-cylinder engines to six, and from six to four, while maintaining or even improving performance. “As we go into the mid-term,” Kapp said, “we have the opportunity to weight reduce the vehicle, enabling additional downsizing.

First-generation EcoBoost. The first thing you get with EcoBoost, Kapp said, is almost a doubling of the torque potential on a same displacement basis, thereby enabling the downsizing. EcoBoost in its first generation can deliver a 10-20% improvement in fuel consumption, Kapp said, based on a function of the reference point and how much downsizing is done.

It’s deployable on existing engines, it can take advantage of the assets we have... We can take the same basic technology and apply it to any number of the engines and vehicles, stair stepping down the engine displacements in almost any vehicle application.

—Dan Kapp

First application of EcoBoost was in the form of a 3.5L V6 EcoBoost engine in the 2010 MY Ford Taurus SHO and Flex as well as the Lincoln MKS luxury sedan. The next application will be offered as a 2.0L I4 engine in two power levels for worldwide vehicle programs (currently announced as SUVs and crossovers in North America, larger Ford vehicles in Europe, and on the Ford Falcon in Australia) before a further migration into a small 1.6L I4 initially for the C-MAX in European markets. An I3 architecture is also scheduled.

On average, nearly one in five buyers of the Taurus, Flex, Lincoln MKS and MKT have opted for EcoBoost since the engine lineup’s introduction in August, according to Ford.

Given its strategic role, there is “absolutely” an evolutionary path mapped out for EcoBoost, Kapp said.

Future generations of EcoBoost. While the current, first generation of EcoBoost combines basic direct injection and turbocharging technologies to enable downsizing, there are technologies that will continue to augment its capabilities, Kapp said. Broadly, these can be described as:

  • EcoBoost–Next Generation (CY 2014-2016). Currently under advanced development, this generation will provide increased BMEP and knock mitigation through the use of technologies such as advanced boosting, cooled EGR and the Miller cycle. The further downsized next-generation technologies can be very synergistic within hybrid applications.

  • Ecoboost-advanced
    EcoBoost-Advanced Technologies. Click to enlarge.
    EcoBoost–Advanced technologies (CY 2017+). Long-term EcoBoost solutions may include more advanced, multi-stage boost systems for higher BMEP capability over a wider range, and extended dilute combustion range. Various types of lean operation are also being investigated for improved BSFC.

    These systems will also need to deliver very low criteria pollutant levels (e.g., 100% SULEV), and will require developments in combustion management and aftertreatment technology.

The first step is that you have to break through the knock limitation, using things such as cooled EGR or even the characteristics of ethanol fuels, and then much further out, you start to push into some lean operating regime.

I think it is important to note that the engine technologies that complement EcoBoost sometimes aren’t the same that you would use on a larger, naturally aspirated engine. So this combustion mode that gets talked about as HCCI is something that as it has been developed really only works under very lightly loaded engine conditions.

But if you carry that to an EcoBoost, once you’ve downsized it, you don’t spend a lot of time at those lightly loaded conditions. There are technologies that we will continue exploring that will deliver more potential out of the engine, Whether or not that ends up being HCCI or some other alterative combustion mode is to be determined. I think we all agree now that HCCI is still in research mode.

—Dan Kapp

One such potential complementary technology for addressing the knock challenge, Kapp said, is the ethanol boosting system Ford has been exploring with MIT. (Earlier post.)

That is one sort of research development mode, among many others, that we have looked at in the EcoBoost engines to address this knock limitation. If you can get through that, you can translate that into greater torque potential and therefore greater downsizing, or you can increase the compression ration and improve the engine’s base efficiency.

In the longer term internal combustion engines in general start to hit a wall in terms of CO2 improvement, and ultimately they need a contribution from the fuel side. Renewable fuels have to play a real key role going forward, and while ethanol has certain pros and cons, some of its pros are very compatible with EcoBoost—it is a technology that likes the characteristics of ethanol fuel.

—Dan Kapp

Ti-VCT. Although Ti-VCT will inevitably end up being applied in combination with EcoBoost, the first production combination is the 2.0L EcoBoost announced in July. (earlier post). Ti-VCT has a life of is own, with applications such as in the new 3.7L V6 first being applied in the 2011 Mustang (earlier post as well as on the 1.6L in the new Fiesta (earlier post).

Ti-VCT gives precise, variable control of valve overlap. This technology also optimizes phasing on both intake and exhaust camshafts by spinning them ever so slightly to advance or retard valve timing, resulting in improved throttle response at initial throttle tip-in, reduced emissions at part throttle and enhanced efficiency at higher rpm. The outcome is more power, responsiveness and fuel efficiency from less overall cylinder displacement.

Gains in new vehicle fleet economy by OEM, 2004-2009. Data: EPA. Click to enlarge.

Ford’s fuel economy gains and “One-percenters”. According to EPA’s recently released annual report, Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 through 2009 (earlier post), Ford has improved in fuel economy more than any other major automaker since 2004, according to data in a recent report by the US Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA rated Ford’s combined car and truck fuel economy improvement at 20.2%, almost double the next closest competitor. Ford, however, was starting with the worst 2004 new vehicle fleet fuel economy of any of its major competitors.

While EcoBoost will play an increasingly foundational global role in ongoing reduction in fuel consumption, its newness means that it played a negligible role in the improvements from 2004 to 2009. What has made a major difference is the rebalancing of the vehicle portfolio. In 2004, noted Mark Fields, Ford EVP and President, The Americas, Ford’s US portfolio was composed of 70% trucks and SUVs, the rest being cars and crossovers. In 2009, trucks and SUVs represented 40% of the portfolio, with cars and crossovers up to 60%.

“Every joule is precious.”
—Nizar Trigui, Ford Vehicle Energy Management Engineering

Furthermore, Ford has focused engineering attention on all the aspects of the entire vehicle system that by themselves could deliver a small improvement in fuel consumption—Ford calls these the “one-percenters”— but that together can combine for a substantial improvement. Examples of these include:

  • Gear shifting optimization
  • Converter lockup/modulation optimizations
  • Transmission damper optimization
  • Engine stabilized temperatures
  • Electrical cooling fan duty cycle
  • Electrical loading optimization design
  • Tire rolling resistance
  • Brake drag
  • Fluid viscosity
  • NVH v idle speed tradeoffs
  • Piston sprayers
  • Underhood airflow optimization

Ford is also pursuing a very aggressive aerodynamic strategy, seeking to deliver substantive levels of aero improvements with a minimal impact on design leadership, said Nazi Trigui, of Ford’s Vehicle Energy management group. The company plan is also targeting mid-term weight reductions of 250-750 lbs (113 to 340 kg)—thereby enabling the use of smaller displacement engines and lighter weight components.

Ford is also aggressively implementing what it see as high value technologies across the entire vehicle line up for improved economy. As an example of this “democratization of technology”, Ford plans to fit nearly 90% of the Ford, Lincoln and Mercury lineup with EPAS (Electric Power Assist Steering) by 2012.

Another example of rapid technology deployment is the new six-speed transmission. Ford has committed that almost 100% of its transmissions will be advanced six-speed gearboxes by 2013.

While we are implementing our near-, mid- and long-term plans, we are continuing to achieve efficiencies throughout the vehicle in areas that can quickly lead to fuel economy improvement today. Whether we’re reducing wind drag, eliminating engine-driven power steering pumps or switching to low-friction engine oil, this attention to every detail and these small improvements collectively deliver significant fuel economy gains for our customers.

—Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president of Global Product Development

[Ford hosted Green Car Congress for the Dearborn briefing.]




The article emphasizes the advanced ICE moves, but I think Fords moves with the Ford Fusion Hybrid, the Ford Escape Hybrid, which are in production, and the Focus BEV, which is coming soon, show that Ford is doing the right thing on several fronts. The FFH is a heck of a car, larger and, imo, nicer than a Prius. I wish that Ford had expanded their hybrid roster to include a hybrid Ford Ranger. I don't think that BEV's will be priimary cars for at least 10 years, so I hope that Ford is working on an EREV version of the Focus BEV.


Ford has a one off version of an FFV PHEV Escape. This is the model for the future. A plug hybrid that runs on cellulose E85 will go a long way towards reducing imported oil.


This may be all well and good but what is not so good is that it took 120+ years to come out with eco-boost -- and even then, it is just trying to catch up with others.

FFV and HEV are old technologies by now.

Major weight reduction and apllication of other technologies mentionned will help fuel economy. Remains to be seen how many will be truly incorporated in Ford's vehicles.



Yes they will, but PHEV will be a tiny share of car market even in 2020. So most of the saving in fuel efficiency can be made in improving ICE, Aero, weight. I know it is frustrating but that's what it is.


We can get a 2% reduction in gasoline usage over 10 years with HEV/PHEV or a 20% reduction with FFVs and cellulose E85. I say do BOTH, but the FFV and cellulose E85 will do more good in a quicker time frame at a lower cost.

It does not matter how old a technology is, if it has not been widely deployed and allowed to help out. Waiting for the world to change is not a viable plan. Go with what we have for the most benefit at the lowest cost and let's get on with it.


"Ford planners concluded that the most impactful thing they could do in the short term was to leverage currently available technology. In the powertrain arenas, this indicated the broad deployment of technologies such as more advanced transmissions (e.g. 6-speed and dual clutch), but especially EcoBoost, Kapp said."

Ford deserves praise for sticking to car making business and participating in hybrid/EV development. But these ICE enhancements are delaying the necessary action of electrification. Upgrading technology that requires fossil fuel does nothing to get us off foreign imports (okay it lowers consumption somewhat.) But we need our major car makers to commit to electrification sooner rather than later.

Ford will get stuck without EV/hybrid product and unable to compete against imports - unless they put more emphasis on near term electrification. "Currently available technology" is electric motors and Li-ion batteries.


I do not see improvements as delaying an inevitable change to all EVs. If EVs are the great winner in the market place then so be it, car makers will provide them. But if people don't like a car that costs more with less range, then plan B is called for.


sulleny - I agree with you on this one. Progressive but more aggressive emphasis on vehicle electrification may not be avoidable if a manufacturer wants to stay in the race.

Batteries and associated elements will improved much faster in the next decade unless all the major vehicle manufacturers jointly decide to extend ICE vehicles production for another century.


All cars being built today should be able to operate on electric power with regenerative braking.
Start / stop and ability to cruise with the engine off provide an easy boost to mpg.

Also as batteries improve they can be added over the life of the vehicle.

Turbos and direct injection are useful engine technologies for natural gas, aerodynamics and lightweighting are pretty obvious

Bob Carpenter

The American consumer doesn't like being should upon. They will buy the vehicle that meets their driving requirements -e.g the 300 mile trip to Grandma's house each Thanksgiving and the annual trip to the vacation rental house along with the 2 kids and family dog. If EVs can satisfy these requirements, they will face an uphill road to acceptance.


When we make ALL cars FFV, we must make them REAL FFV. In Brazil 75% of the cars sold are TRUE FFV. The can run on E85, M85 or any mix of the two. M85 methanol can be make from natural gas and or biomass and costs HALF of what ethanol costs.


The American consumer doesn't like being should upon.

Accept when he gets sick from food poisoning because it should have been inspected - but wasn't.



Stan Peterson

... 'because it should have been inspected - but wasn't.'

Ah the benefits of government. No one inspected the food. Why am I not surprised. Government seldom does the actual job.

No private insurance company could get away with the long lines and absolutely poor service of the DMV. No private mail/package deliverer could stay in business with the quality of service provided by the Post Office. So UPS and FedEx provide much better service.

When its everyone's responsibility, that really means No One gives a damn.

Hence the saying. "...good enough for government work!"


FedEX does not provide 44 cent envelopes, it has $10 envelopes.
The DMV has online services in California that handle millions of requests. Private sector would charge much more, a simple change of address could cost $100.

Privatization has given us no bid contracts that have greatly increased the cost of doing business. It is good for the contractors and bad for taxpayers.

After 9/11 there was resistance from Republicans to having government employees take over security at airports. Private companies wanted to continue employing people at minimum wage with little or no training. It was more profitable for them.


The state should employ the minimum number of people.

The US is not (yet) a commune.

Passing and enforcing laws must be done by the state – by the representatives we elect (and admire?).

It would be ridiculous to believe we could leave law making and enforcement to the private sector - to the most efficient business. This is where we need politicians (oh how it hurts to realize this).

But it is also ridiculous to have government provide a service people want, that can be self supporting and shaped by the market, not propped up by our taxes, not be above the law.

It is bad enough that we must put up with our politicians and labor unions and all their power struggles and earmarks and lobbying and graft.

I see no reason to believe package delivery must be done by the state.

Mail delivery, like highways was considered a citizens right – not to be subject to whether the routes were profitable - expensive but properly considered essential.

I do not know how telephone and electric power escaped complete control by the government but they seem to operate well and are controlled closely by the state.
I assume telephone and electric power was not considered an inalienable right.

We are becoming soft and unsophisticated; a higher and higher percentage of people are coming to believe that all services should be provided to their liking, regardless of cost.

Of course a higher and higher percentage of people do not pay taxes, and for them, the state CAN provide any and all services at no cost.

A higher and higher percentage of people also work for the state or in a powerful union and likewise selfishly often push for more services to be above the law; free of market forces.

The reason we have government is to protect us from those, both foreign and domestic, that would use force against us or be above the law – we should not allow more people to be above the law than absolutely necessary. This is the fear that fosters the Waco, Ruby Ridge, Branch Davidian and “government black operations” paranoias.


I do applaud the fact Ford will phase in over the next few years automobiles with direct fuel injection, which allows for extremely precise fuel metering for vastly improved fuel economy compared to today's engines, along with more power.

I wouldn't be surprised that we see new Fiesta's Ti-VCT 1.6 engine bumped up from 115 to 127 bhp by switching to direct fuel injection, along with maybe 5-6% fuel economy improvements from more precise combustion.

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