Fuel Economy Secrets: How Ford Does It

By Ford Social Member

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.”
Libin Daniel 04/08/2011
That's the kind of job I want! Hooray for aerodynamicists! Do you take students with bachelor's degree in AE?
Sam 04/07/2011
To Sean - First, aerodynamic testing has been and is performed by all automakers. It is just one component of Coefficient of Drag (which includes tire roll). Ford's testing is not new or unique. Certainly, the strides they are making are commendable and are necessary no doubt. Second, the "five" automakers you describe are actually two (GM and Chrysler) - those, and Ford comprise "The Big Three" U.S. automakers. Just thought you should know.
Sean 04/07/2011
Finally aerodynamic testing for vehicles let's hope Ford does this on the rest of there vehicles in the future and of course I hope all the other auto companies catch on with this when making there vehicles more aerodynamic and fuel efficient as well plus reducing weight too? Though Chevy, GMC, Dodge, Chrysler, and of course Jeep are all behind high fuel efficiency it's just sad to see there not quick enough to play catch up because if gas still keeps going up like a rocket they could be left behind in the dust while the others succeed if you know what I mean by because all five of these car companies are gas guzzlers/hoggers. Wouldn't you have to agree with me? I would have to on my own just to say.
Bill Karnes 04/06/2011
About time--I been preaching aerodynamics for years-- Smooth
Ford fan 04/06/2011
The new 2012 focus looks like a bigger size of the new fesita i think there ugly but there really good mpg but no thanks 19 mpg in my bronco is good enough for me ford needs to make good suvs again and also stay with what there doing good focus and festia but people still want good suvs like the bronco and you mest up the explorer RWD to FWD no thanks. you already got the flex escape and edge FWD why did you mess up the explorer if you do that you should bring back the bronco and make it 4WD and RWD not FWD.
Fred Kubitz 04/05/2011
Does Ford use the " REAL ROAD TESTS" or "LAB TESTS"?
Common Lab Tests: Strapped down to a roller wiht no Passenger Weights, Minimal fuel in the tank, a warm engine, averaging 48mph for ten miles wiht no wind force creating resistance, no spare items in the trunk to reduce overall vehicle weight? Would like to know how Ford conducts the MPG Test?
Alice Lee 04/05/2011
John Field Sr. 04/05/2011
Instead of fuel economy, I will take an EXCURSION. They still sell better used then most. Please bring them back to the people who are not looking for a box.
Just Checking 04/05/2011
Is this really true? 40 mpg?
Brent Henry 04/05/2011
I always laugh at them Chevy Equal-Knocks adverts.
William Peene 04/05/2011
remember K-N airfilters lets more air in yes but computer adds more gas....stick with standard fram air filter,and use quakerstate full syth.oil i have gained 1 to 2 mpgs just by using quakerstate full syth oil.....also bosch plus4 spark plugs........
Aaron McCarthy 04/05/2011
In a Chevrolet advertisement, it said the Equinox got better gas milage than the Escape Hybrid. The MPG of the equinox is 17-22/24-32. The Escape's is 30-34/27-31.
Bob Long 04/05/2011
My dad got 30+ mpg in his 1960 Falcon 6cyl. Driving style is the single biggest factor in fuel efficency.
Bryant Riley 04/05/2011
Love ford!!!"
William Peene 04/05/2011
bring back the gt-40 to compete with the vette so ford can take over the car industry..!!!!!!!!!!!! AMERICA=FORD...........
William Peene 04/05/2011
if they would change the trans fluid the cars would not be in the shop......
Monty Greer 04/05/2011
That's because they spend more time in the mechanics shop getting their damn transmissions repaired then on the rode
Soccersn Nonamehere 04/05/2011
thru hardwork and consistency of purpose probably
Samir Ikanovic 04/05/2011
Wanna save ? Buy a car with TDCi engine from Ford. Petrol Ford's are also good, especially on open roads, but those are the engines used in EU before the globalization with the new Focus. Anyway, TDCi engines are made in collaboration with PSA, in fact the engines are the same as in a Peugeot, and who doesn't know, Peugeot's diesel engines have breaken records on highest mileage with just one tank of fuel :)
Vladimír Ruska 04/05/2011
My Ford Escort 1.6EFi engine 77kW/105Hp 8V makes 100km on 4,5 - 5,5l of fuel. in most cases depends how you can drive. And I'm not driving on highway. It's probably the best gas engine that ford ever produced. And still, after 20 year of service it runs quite nicely, no bugs to fix, except that corrosion. :) Try that in new gas engine. No chance to get the same fuel consumption. That's the only reason why I've not scrapped him.
Tommy Curran 04/05/2011
Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less!
Tommy Curran 04/05/2011
Thats why I just left Toyota and came back to Ford for the Explorer, well, I never really left Ford, still had my Shelby!
Meshack Matsimela 04/05/2011
Reason why Mazda is not selling any diesel cars in South Africa(excl. The BT-50) is that South African diesel is not 'clean'.Ford has many and doing well but.
Darren Pete Farmer 04/05/2011
If Ford is first class in fuel economy, I failed epically. 12 miles to the gallon with my 08 F-250 Super Duty.
Rob King 04/05/2011
we need Nat. gas option we have all the nat. gas we need in the US
Steve Rubinson 04/05/2011
I would also like to see a fuel-efficient diesel engine option, preferably in a SUV or crossover.
Lee Henderson 04/05/2011
Lisa~ use motorcraft synthetic blend oil,clean the throttle body, have factory style true dual exhaust run on it, K&N factory replacement air filter, Lucas fuel injection cleaner, NGK TR55 spark plugs, ACCEL ignition coils, change oxygen sensors, PCV valve, EGR sensor. You can do any or all of these things. Just remember to disconnect the negative battery terminal for 15 minutes and hook it up before you drive it.
'Salvatore DiSanto 04/05/2011
Hey Monica, it's your govt regulations that keep diesels out of the USA
Alex Keegan 04/05/2011
Diesel diesel! Diesel explorer or a diesel fiesta or both!
William Charles Schulte 04/05/2011
Go Ford Go, I want the stock to go to $50. That would add another $118,550 to my retirement funds!!!!
Tiffany Kearns Jacklett 04/05/2011
How about a diesel Focus??? Do it like the Jetta!
Tiffany Kearns Jacklett 04/05/2011
How come they say that the top 10 leading vehicle with the best gas mileage are mostly foreign and no Fords??? Come on, you guys can do better than that!
Dave Evans 04/05/2011
I've said it before and I'll say it again: It's in the way that you drive it. Vehicles lose aerodynamic qualities at speeds above 60mph. Additionally, if you ride your brake all the time rather than gently coasting to a stop, you're wasting fuel. Aero only compensates for so much poor driving.
Monica Coté Evans 04/05/2011
Except for the Expy. C'mon Ford. You have the engineering talent, you have the technology. Put a fuel-efficient diesel in your world-class SUV. Pretty please with sugar on top.
Andy Sellers 04/05/2011
way to let the cat out of the bag, Ford
Lisa Kimpel 04/05/2011
Is there any way I can get better fuel economy with my 99 Mercury Grand Marquee?
Robin Pettersen 04/05/2011