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Ford’s tiny 1.0-litre EcoBoost set to spread

Boosted: The Ford Focus is set to receive the new 1.0-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost petrol engine in Australia from the end of 2013.

Focus and Fiesta next in line for Ford’s three-cylinder turbo after EcoSport

24 Feb 2012

AT LEAST three Ford models sold in Australia are likely to get the Blue Oval’s ground-breaking new 1.0-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost petrol engine that delivers 20 per cent fuel savings in a small car, along with the power of a 1.6-litre four cylinder.

However, Australian customers will have to wait up to 18 months for the first example of the new engine that has just gone on sale in Europe in the Focus small car – the first time such a diminutive engine has propelled such a large mass-produced car.

Ford Australia has already confirmed that the first application of the tiny but taut turbocharged engine will be the Indian-made, Fiesta-based EcoSport compact SUV that is due to arrive in Australia in the second half of 2013.

But GoAuto understands that Ford Australia is working on plans to not only add the engine to Focus – as in Europe – but also Fiesta, from late 2013.

Production of most Focus variants for Australia is about to switch from Europe to Thailand, joining the Fiesta that has been sourced from the Asian kingdom since late 2010, and new Ranger ute.

27 center imageLeft: Ford's new three-cylinder engine. Below: EcoSport and Fiesta.

The first Thai-built Focus hatches and sedans will land in local showrooms in August, but the new 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine will not be available for more than a year after that, due to demand on the European engine supply.

Ford is rapidly ramping up production of its EcoBoost range of engines that also includes a 1.6-litre four-cylinder, a 2.0-litre four-cylinder – already available in the Ford Mondeo and soon the locall -built Falcon – and a 3.5-litre V6 in North America.

Ford brand communications manager Neil McDonald told GoAuto today that Ford Australia was committed to the EcoBoost technology.

“The first vehicle we will see it in is EcoSport that was unveiled recently in Delhi, and that is expected to go on sale locally in 2013, in the second half,” he said.

“Quite clearly we’re considering other applications of the engine across other products, and that would include, ideally, Focus and Fiesta.”

The application of the 92kW 1.0-litre engine to Focus would bring a three-cylinder powertrain into the small car class in Australia for the first time.

Currently, the only three-cylinder cars sold in Australia are smaller, light-sized vehicles such as the Suzuki Alto, Nissan Micra and Smart ForTwo.

Volkswagen has a turbocharged three-cylinder 1.0-litre engine in the pipeline, for the new Up city-car, in which it generates 44kW and 55kW, while Fiat has just fitted its 500 micro as standard with an even-smaller 875cc turbo twin as standard.

None of these engines can match the performance of the new high-tech Ford EcoBoost triple that went on sale in the UK overnight when Ford pulled back the veil of secrecy to reveal a raft of high-tech solutions designed to achieve a 20 per cent fuel cut over the current Focus 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine, while maintaining similar power and smoothness.

Turbocharging, variable valve timing, high-pressure direct fuel-injection with six-hole injectors and a water-cooled integrated exhaust manifold are just some of the technologies employed on the engine help it achieve up to 92kW of power and 200Nm of torque while also sipping a class-leading 4.8 litres per 100km on the combined cycle test.

Because three-cylinder engines are notoriously unbalanced and noisy, Ford has come up with a unique solution to help smooth out the wrinkles: an unbalanced flywheel and pulley, instead of a heavier and more expensive balance shaft.

This system uses a deliberately unbalanced flywheel and pulley to counteract the engine vibration and resultant booming. To further improve engine refinement, the crankshaft has six counterweights, while the camchain runs in oil.

To promote fast engine warm-up and thus reduce exhaust emissions, Ford has employed a split engine cooling system that operates on just part of the system during warm-up and then opens up the second section when hot.

The coolant flows through the new exhaust manifold that is integrated with the cylinder-head, cooling the exhaust gas temperature so the air-fuel ratio can run leaner for fuel-efficiency gains without affecting exhaust emissions levels, which meet the Euro 5 standard.

Efficiency is also promoted by an offset crank and variable oil pump to ensure correct oil pressure across the rev range.

The high-pressure solenoid-style six-hole fuel-injection nozzles are located in the middle of the cylinder-head, which Ford claims provides a much cooler and denser fuel-to-air ratio, leading to more efficient combustion and reduced fuel consumption.

The 1.0-litre engine is available in two states of tune, with the base model producing 74kw at 6000rpm and 170Nm of torque from 1400 to 4000rpm.

The pumped-up version cranks out 92kW at the same 6000rpm. Torque is the same 170Nm, but at a broader 1400-4500rpm, and this can be rammed to 200Nm with overboost.

The 74kW engine comes with only a five-speed manual gearbox and it is said to be capable of accelerating from zero to 100km/h in 12.5 seconds, compared to 11.3 seconds with the sportier engine – with a six-speed manual.

Despite having one fewer gears, the base engine is more efficient, using just 4.8L/100km of petrol compared with the up-spec model’s 5.0L/100km.

Naturally, CO2 emissions of the base engine are lower, at 109 grams per kilometre, against 114g/km for the pepped-up unit.

The power of the up-spec engine matches the 92kW of the current entry-level 1.6-litre Focus four-cylinder engine offered in Australia, while torque is also superior (159Nm on the current engine).

Fuel efficiency is way lower, with the 92kW EcoBoost engine sucking 1.2L/100km less than the 6.2L/100km 1.6-litre four-cylinder Focus in manual form. CO2 emissions are slashed by almost 35 per cent over the current 144g/km.

Ford powertrain engineering supervisor Thomas Zenner said there was no compromise with the new engine.

“It delivers best-in-class fuel economy, outstanding driveability and excellent refinement – achieved by combining advanced features with smart engineering,” he said.

In Europe, the engine will become available in the Ford B-Max and C-Max compact people-movers later this year, neither of which are likely to be sold in Australia.

Nor has Ford Australia committed to releasing diesel-sipping Econetic or zero-emissions all-electric versions of the Focus, which will be crowned by the 2.0-litre EcoBoost-powered ST hot-hatch later this year.

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