While it seems like only hybrid and full-electric powertrain systems get attention these days, Ford is making waves with a V6 gasoline engine. Sure, Ford offers hybrid vehicles and electric cars. In fact, Ford hybrid sales may outnumber Honda by the end of the year according to autospies.com. Celebrities in the U.S. are driving Ford’s battery electric Focus on “The Jay Leno Show” and residents of a U.K. borough will soon get a chance to drive electric Ford Focus cars for three months.
But for this article, we’re going to focus on the attention that the Ford EcoboostTM is attracting. The engine was recently the topic of a comparison presented by Automobile Magazine and Motor Trend that pitted the V6 Lincoln MKS against V8-powered competitors. The 6versus8 Challenge took place at Loveland Pass in Colorado, a winding mountain road at nearly 12,000 feet of elevation. Click here to go to 6versus8.com and watch the exciting videos that tell this story.
The engine has also garnered attention from other media outlets. Click here to read what Jalopnik says about the engine when it was first introduced, and click here to read the KickingTires blog on cars.com about the engine.
As if being a twin-turbo, direct-injection gasoline engine isn’t unique enough, Ecoboost contributed 125 new patents and patent applications. The additions build on Ford Motor Company’s current roster of 4,618 active U.S. patents, with thousands more patent applications pending.
EcoBoost uses turbocharging and direct gasoline injection to boost engine output and reduce emissions without sacrificing fuel economy. The engine marks a major milestone in the Ford strategy to deliver technologically advanced, high-output, smaller-displacement powertrains.
The Ford powertrain management strategy uses hundreds of thousands of lines of computer code and related parameters that are adjusted to optimize the engine and transmission operation. It’s these processes that largely make up the EcoBoost patent contribution and make Ford’s use of direct injection and turbocharging of its engines like no other automaker in the world.
“The secret to Ford’s EcoBoost system isn’t just the hardware – the key is in the Ford control system,” said Brett Hinds, Ford Advanced Engine Design and Development manager. “Our engineers have the right ‘recipes’ to integrate the various systems like engine, transmission and fuel management, resulting in a seamless, exhilarating driving experience.”
To extract the level of power and efficiency achieved in an engine like the EcoBoost V-6, a remarkable level of precision is required. One example is the amount of control engineers maintain over the fuel injection system:
Patenting is a global activity at Ford, with experts in the United States, Europe, India and China sharing common processes and reporting through Ford Global Technologies
To wrap up this article, we’ll show our pride in the EcoBoost engine by bragging about winning an award. The Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Awards, now in their fifth year, recognize products and celebrate innovations poised to change the world, and the passionate, smart creators behind them. Ford is the only automaker this year to receive a Breakthrough Award.
“From flying cars to robots to wind turbines for homes, the innovations honored by the 2009 Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Awards not only capture the imagination, they hold the potential to improve and even save lives,” said James B. Meigs, editor-in-chief, Popular Mechanics. “We are pleased to honor this year’s diverse list of visionaries, Dean Kamen among them, and applaud their efforts to address such concerns as climate change, pollution, energy shortages and medical care in the developing world.”
By 2013, more than 90 percent of Ford’s North American lineup will be available with EcoBoost technology.
In selecting the candidates and winners of the 2009 Breakthrough Awards program, the editors of Popular Mechanics canvassed a large range of experts and academics to come up with a list of worthy nominees. Members of PM’s Board of Advisers reviewed the nominations to help the editors of Popular Mechanics choose the winners.
A complete report of the Breakthrough Awards will be published in the November issue of Popular Mechanics (on newsstands October 13, 2009). You can click here to read the article on popularmechanics.com.