AutoblogGreen: Still behind, trying hard: A look into Ford's engine efficiency future - Ford Inside News Community
 
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 07-03-2007, 05:51 PM Thread Starter
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AutoblogGreen: Still behind, trying hard: A look into Ford's engine efficiency future


Still behind, trying hard: A look into Ford's engine efficiency future with product development VP Derrick Kuzak



During the Ford 2008 model year preview at their Dearborn Development Center Friday, Group VP for Product Development Derrick Kuzak spoke about the changes that are being made to improve efficiency at Ford. Last January at the Detroit Auto Show, Ford showed off the Lincoln MKR concept which featured a new version of the corporate 3.5L V-6 dubbed Twin-Force.

While the styling of the Lincoln concept may or may not appear in production, the technology on its engine apparently will be the cornerstone of Ford's efforts to improve the efficiency of their upcoming gasoline engines over the next few years. Ford will be following a similar path to Volkswagen's recent TSI engine range in Europe, by combining smaller displacement engines with turbocharging, direct fuel injection and advanced variable valve timing systems.



According to Kuzak, ICEs can approach the efficiency of diesel engines with the twin-force technology without having to use the expensive exhaust after-treatment systems that clean diesels require to meet Tier 2 Bin 5 requirements. Ford plans to add Twin-Force to a range of four- and six- cylinder engines across many of their models by the 2011 model year. Unfortunately, Ford is again trailing behind on this front.

Volkswagen already has a several TSI engines on their European models and even GM has the same concept on the engine currently used in the Pontiac Solstice GXP and Saturn Sky Red-Line. As GM has shown the technology works with the turbo DI engine getting 2mpg better fuel economy while still producing 83hp more. An even smaller displacement engine like VW uses would be even more efficient.

All of Ford's future engines will be designed to accommodate Twin-Force which will also make them better suited to operating as flex-fuel engines. Because of ethanol's lower energy density but higher octane compared to gasoline, turbocharged engines that can vary boost pressure can take better advantage of the biofuel as Saab has demonstrated with their BioPower engines in Europe.

Getting power from the engine to the wheels is another area Ford will be addressing with new PowerShift transmissions. PowerShift is Ford's brand name for dual-clutch gearboxes similar to - you guessed it - the VW DSG units. Zukak didn't say when these would appear but it will likely be in the next couple of years. Ford also plans to expand availability of conventional six-speed automatics to all of their product lines in the same time frame.

The software side of powertrain controls is also being optimized to do things like shut off fuel flow more aggressively during deceleration while maintaining driveability. Battery management technology learned from hybrid development can also be applied to conventional vehicles to balance electrical loads from accessories and the battery state of charge. Even with a conventional drivetrain, closer monitoring of the battery could reduce parasitic losses by reducing the draw on the alternator. Using electrical rather than mechanical assist systems like electric power steering will also help reduce parasitic losses since the systems only draw power when needed instead of continuously, like with a hydraulic assist.

Hybrid drive applications will also be expanded in the next couple of years with a hybrid version of the Fusion and Milan due to be introduced at either the Los Angeles or Detroit Auto Shows and production availability mid-way through the 2008 model year. A hybrid version of the Edge crossover is coming as well although Ford isn't saying when.

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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 07-13-2007, 04:32 PM
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Re: AutoblogGreen: Still behind, trying hard: A look into Ford's engine efficiency fu

US manufacturers are under serious pressure to perform. The Dual Mode Hybrid from GM, and Hybrids Ford is using are a first step. The Joint 6 speed transmissions should help , Hydrogen and e85 should be noted.

Oilies need to step up and invest in bio fuels. Why do they not put as much pressure on these giants to invest in renewable energy like E85.

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