Fuel of ideas

May 14, 2015

You don’t have to know much about what’s under the bonnet to know that historically, bigger cars meant bigger engines – and smaller cars meant smaller engines.

Things have moved on. Our 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine has been punching above its weight since we first introduced it for the Focus just a few years ago.

It’s powered a race car, and bigger cars such as the Mondeo, and been named International Engine of the Year for an unprecedented three years running.

Together with our engineering partners the Schaeffler Group we are now exploring a new approach for this engine, which for customers could mean fewer trips to the petrol station.

The 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine has only three cylinders, less than many car engines. But even so there are occasions when that capacity is not fully used, such as when cruising at low revs on a motorway.

We have been investigating temporarily reducing that capacity to only two cylinders, as well as reducing capacity across all three cylinders for short periods, in situations when more capacity is not required. Initial test drives near our European Headquarters around Cologne, in Germany, showed a fuel saving of up to six per cent.

Cylinder deactivation is just one of the technologies we are trialling to help ensure our customers’ fuel bills are as low as possible.

“The highest priority in the development of new combustion engines for automotive applications is the ongoing reduction of fuel consumption,” said Andreas Schamel, Ford director, Global Powertrain, Research & Advanced Engineering, who presented the findings to the world-renowned International Vienna Engine Symposium.