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©2012 U.S. Auto Scene®
march 12, 2012
EcoBoost Engine is Favorite
Among U.S. Truck Buyers
by Jim Stickford
 Ford’s EcoBoost engine has gone from zero to 60, so to speak, allowing the company to introduce the technology to the public via the popular F-150 model.
 Eric Kuehn, chief engineer for electrified programs and former chief engineer for Ford F-150s, the the EcoBoost allows Ford to move from to the V-6  3.5 liter engine, replacing the 4.6 and 5.4 V-8 without compromising performance.
 A variety of Ford executives, including Derrick Kuzak, Raj Nair and Ellen Hughes-Cromwick, discussed the issue at a gathering in Dearborn recently as Ford displayed its “fuel efficient” car lineup. Ford engineers were on hand to discuss how EcoBoost and other powertrain technology advances are serving Ford’s customers so well these days.
 Smaller displacement means less weight, which translate to better mileage, Kuehn said. Less mals also means the engine doesn’t have to work as to move the vehicle.
 “When we did all the testing of the EcoBoost engine, our durability tests showed us they’d last,” Kuehn said. “Endurance is a key component when selling to truck buyers.”
 The EcoBoost engine had to produce in terms of torque, mileage, performance –also called grade acceleration, throttle response – also known as pickup and passing performance.
 “We called it the AND solution,” Kuehn said. “The EcoBoost needed to be a high performer AND capability such as towing. It needed to have payload AND deliver fuel economy.”
 The EcoBoost, Kuehn said, works with direct injection, which meters and directly injects fuel into cylinder heads. It uses two turbos, which are integrated into exhaust gas waste energy, essentially turning the turbo, which then compresses air and which make more combustion. That then translate into better torque and mileage.
 Simply put, it uses exhaust gas to work in such a way that it resembles a windmill, recapturing energy that would otherwise just go out the tailpipe, Kuehn said.
 Added to this engineering is computer technology, unique to Ford, that Kuehn calls the EcoBoost’s hidden warrior.
 “Our electronic controls and software monitors the engine and reacts to measurements to produce peak performance,” Kuehn said. “The X factor is the software, which handles millions of calculations every second. That software is Ford’s and Ford’s alone.”
 The EcoBoost first appeared in the MKS, the Flex and the Taurus, Kuehn said. But it wasn’t until Ford put it in the F-150 that the public at large really began to understand what the system could do in terms of performance and better fuel economy without sacrificing performance.
 The EcoBoost has allowed the public to reorient perceptions about green technology. All to often people think fuel economy had to make a trade off in terms of performance, Kuehn said. But thanks to AND  thinking,  there’s no trade off. Customers had to feel they were getting better results across the full spectrum of performance.
 “As we continue to improve the technology, and use across a larger part of Ford’s line up, the costs will go down,” Kuehn said. “We sold 127,000 EcoBoosts in 2011. Thanks to the F-150, that figure shot up to 1.2 million in 2012. The V-6 line up was around 53 percent of truck sales in 2011 vs. the V-8 in 2011, which accounted for 100 percent of sales. That’s huge shift in just one year.”
From left, Ford executives Raj Nair, Ellen Hughes-Cromwick and Derrick Kuzak discussed how Ford’s various powertrain options, including the EcoBoost engine, are giving Ford customers better fuel economy even as gas prices rise at the pump.
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