Ford's EcoBoost Engines Conquering the World?
- Ford this week celebrated production of the two-millionth engine employing its suite of EcoBoost efficiency- and power-enhancing technologies.
- Ford continues to add production capacity around the globe as Ecoboost engines now are outselling Ford's diesel engines worldwide.
- Just around the corner are two more potentially tempting EcoBoost models: the 2014 Fiesta ST is just now coming to showrooms and a Fiesta with the new, high-economy 1.0-liter three-cylinder EcoBoost hits the road in a couple of months.
DEARBORN, Michigan — When it launched its first EcoBoost gasoline engine back in 2009, Ford knew it was rolling the dice with the EcoBoost concept for downsizing engines and adding turbocharging and direct injection to make up the difference — particularly for pickup trucks, where buyers never have warmed much to any kind of engine with less than eight cylinders.
Four years later, Ford powertrain planners and engineers ought to be in line for outsized raises, as the company said it built the 2-millionth EcoBoost engine this week and installed it in a 2014 Escape crossover assembled in Louisville, Kentucky.
Moreover, in the full-size pickup truck segment where EcoBoost was the riskiest gambit, there's seemingly no looking back as customers' acceptance of the twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 in the best-selling F-150 typically means that between 40 percent and 50 percent of all F-150s now built are fitted with the EcoBoost .
Joe Bakaj, Ford vice president of powertrain engineering, said one in five Ford vehicles produced worldwide currently is powered by an Ecoboost engine.
EcoBoost's blend of downsized efficiency and turbocharged power and torque has changed thinking about six-cylinder engines for the brawn-biased full-size pickup market but is equally at home for performance models. Already in use for the 2014 Taurus SHO and the 2014 Focus ST, the latest performance-oriented EcoBoost is the 1.6-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder that churns out 197 horsepower for the 2014 Fiesta ST, which Bakaj said should just now be hitting Ford's U.S. showrooms.
And sometime in the next three months comes the 2014 Fiesta fitted with the spunky, three-cylinder Ecoboost. Although displacing just 1.0 liter means it's smaller than more than a few motorcycle engines, the new three-cylinder generates 123 horsepower, while its 148 pound-feet of torque matches a lot of larger non-turbocharged four-cylinder power plants.
Globally, Ford now is producing five different EcoBoost engines: the 1-liter three-cylinder, four-cylinders of 1.5 liters, 1.6 liters and 2.0 liters, and the 3.5-liter V6.
While the EcoBoost's not entirely expected success in the F-150 lineup has equally pleased Ford and flummoxed competitors, 90-percent of all Escapes sold have an Ecoboost under the hood, half of all Fusion midsize sedans are EcoBoost-powered.
Bakaj also said sales of Ford vehicles with Ecoboost power now have surpassed diesel-powered vehicles on a global basis. In the U.S., where diesel fuel is priced higher than gasoline, he said the "payback" time for the EcoBoost engine is around 20 months — about a quarter of the payback time for a diesel engine.
Ford's pending marketing for Ecoboost will address theoretical concerns about the EcoBoost design's durability by using the example of a large California farming operation that has amassed more than 100,000 miles on EcoBoost-equipped F-150s without any engine-related mechanical problems.
Edmunds says: EcoBoost's success in Ford's big pickups still is the biggest surprise of the engine-downsizing era, but now EcoBoost's numbers are piling up in other models, too.