This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

January 16, 2008

Ford Vehicles to Employ the Fuel-Saving "EcoBoost" Engine

Ford unveiled a new fuel-efficient gasoline engine at the Detroit Auto Show. Called the "EcoBoost," the new engine combines direct injection and turbocharging to achieve a 20% improvement in fuel economy, 15% lower carbon dioxide emissions, and superior driving performance. The engine injects gasoline directly into each cylinder, and because the fuel charge is cooler and denser than in current gasoline engines, its combustion is more efficient. Turbocharged direct injection is already used in a variety of diesel engines, but is harder to employ in a gasoline engine. The new EcoBoost engine will first appear commercially in the Lincoln MKS Sedan in 2009, and within the next five years, it will be available in half a million vehicles carrying the Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury brands. The engine will be available in both four-cylinder and six-cylinder models. See the Ford press release and the EcoBoost Web page.

For now, though, the engine is featured in the Ford Explorer America and the Lincoln MKT concepts, which are both on display at the Detroit Auto Show. The conceptual reworking of the Ford Explorer SUV uses unibody construction (as opposed to a heavier truck frame), lightweight materials, and the smaller EcoBoost engine to cut its weight by 150 pounds, while a six-speed transmission and electric power assist steering helps the vehicle to achieve a fuel economy improvement of up to 30%, compared to today's V-6 Explorer. The Lincoln MKT concept features a flex-fuel EcoBoost engine that is capable of running on E85, a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. See the Ford press releases for the Ford Explorer America and the Lincoln MKT concepts.

Ford's Land Rover division also arrived at the auto show with a green concept vehicle: the Land Rover LRX hybrid concept. The vehicle combines a two-liter turbodiesel engine with an electric motor integrated into the vehicle's rear axle. The motor would allow the vehicle to run under electric power up to 20 miles per hour, and would also provide additional torque when needed. In combination with other Land Rover technologies, the hybrid system is expected to cut fuel consumption by 30%, compared to similar-sized SUVs. See the Ford press release.