Have you seen the price of fuel these days? Of course you have, and now more than ever buyers are paying attention to not only a vehicle’s fuel-economy figures, but also the ways in which it was engineered to further improve fuel efficiency. Ford employs some pretty cool technology to do just that.
For example, did you know there’s a job called aerodynamicist? Well, vehicle aerodynamics is an important consideration when it comes to the topic of fuel efficiency. Aerodynamics help Ford vehicles achieve class-leading or unsurpassed fuel efficiency in each segment where they compete, and these fuel economy improvements can result from reducing friction and drag – not only within engines and transmissions, but as air flows over and around the vehicle as it efficiently skims through the atmosphere at cruising speeds. Wind-tunnel development time enables Ford engineers, designers and, yes, aerodynamicists to optimize vehicle fuel efficiency.
But let’s talk specifics: The all-new Ford Focus employs an innovative active grille shutter system to help deliver up to 40 mpg highway by improving aerodynamics. Focus four-door models feature an innovative system to improve vehicle aerodynamics – and fuel efficiency – at cruising speeds. The active grille shutter system will open grille slats when extra engine cooling air is required, such as low-speed stop-and-go driving. When cruising on the highway at steady speeds, the grille slats automatically close to improve aerodynamics and fuel efficiency. Also cool? This active grille shutter technology will be migrating to other Ford nameplates.
Carefully balancing aerodynamic details such as the front air dam, sideview mirrors and rear liftgate spoiler adds nearly 1 mpg on the highway to the all-new Explorer SUV, the 2011 North American Truck of the Year. Now you can better understand just how the Explorer is able to deliver class-leading fuel economy of 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway, when equipped with front-wheel drive and the standard 290-horsepower V6 engine.
In fact, the Explorer and the stylish Ford Flex crossover both enjoy improved fuel efficiency from painstaking detail work by designers and aerodynamicists collaborating in the wind tunnel. The Flex has a boxy shape requires only 8.90 horsepower to maintain a 55 mph cruising speed; its crossover competitors GMC Acadia and Toyota Highlander require 9.30 horsepower to move at the same velocity. Using less power to carve through the atmosphere saves fuel, lowering the cost of ownership for Flex drivers.
The F-150 trucks feature a chamfered shape to the rear of the cab that helps direct aerodynamic wake over the pickup box in an efficient manner. The top of the tailgate angles outward to create a lip, which in turn does its part to direct airflow over the cargo box. The front bumper valance and spoiler have been configured to properly manage airflow beneath the truck, with no compromise to off-road capability.
Revised front and rear fascias, front and rear tire shields, an underbody shield and optimized cooling air flow into the engine compartment help the Ford Fusion travel farther on a gallon of gas. Optimized airflow over, under and around Ford Fusion and Fusion Hybrid sedans help these popular offerings deliver class-leading fuel efficiency. The subcompact Fiesta is available with a Super Fuel Economy (SFE) package that enables the car to achieve 40 mpg highway. This package features cruise control, low rolling-resistance tires and several additions to enhance vehicle aerodynamics, such as underbody shields, side air deflectors and lower grille blockers.
“Aerodynamic development has yielded significant improvements in fuel efficiency across the full line of Ford vehicles,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford Group Vice President of Global Product Development. “Full-size trucks, family-friendly utilities and cars in each segment add fuel economy from careful attention to aerodynamic details.”