The three-cylinder Ford 1.0-litre Ecoboost engine will be offered with fuel-saving cylinder deactivation technology which will allow him to function as a two-cylinder engine.
A similar technology is seen on many four-cylinder engines, but Ford has said that it is the first time that it has been designed in a three-pot. Some manufacturers have rejected the idea, citing the refinement as one of the main problems, but Ford has not been deterred.
Cylinder deactivation will automatically shut down the fuel delivery and operation of the valve to one of the cylinders of the engine in conditions where the full capacity is not needed, such as during coasting or cruising with the light of the demand on the engine. The technology can disengage or re-engage a cylinder in 14 milliseconds.
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Capable of operating at speeds up to 4500rpm, the system uses engine oil pressure to activate a special valve rocker and the interruption of the connection between the camshaft and the valves of cylinder number one. The software uses factors such as speed, throttle position and engine load to determine when to disable the cylinder.
The 1.0-litre Ecoboost – for the first time in 2012 – has a new single-piece camshaft module, which has freed up space inside the cylinder head for the new oil channels and switching valve components.
The Ford engineers predict that the system will be active for a few seconds at a time in most driving situations, and has the potential to improve the fuel efficiency of 6%.
Installed in the current Fiesta, the 1.0-litre Ecoboost in 98bhp form is capable of a claimed combined economy of 65.7 mpg, so a 6% improvement could take the figure of 69.6 mpg.
Ford has said he has “devised solutions to counter vibration and to ensure that the cylinder deactivation is imperceptible to the pilot in terms of functioning and performance of the engine”.
The technology will be tested throughout 2017 and be available for sale by 2018, although Ford has not confirmed the car model will be the first to have it. At the present time 11 Ford models – Fiesta, Ecosport, B-Max, Focus, C-Max, Grand C Max, Transit and Tourneo Connect, Transit, Tourneo Courier and Mondeo – are available in Europe with the three-cylinder engine.
With the 1.0-litre Ecoboost available in three power ratings, Ford has also yet to be confirmed which of them will receive the cylinder deactivation technology.
The system uses an offset crankshaft configuration and deliberately “unbalanced” flywheel and pulley to neutralize the vibration. The new double-mass flywheel and vibration damping clutch disc help neutralize engine oscillations when the motor is running on two cylinders, especially at low rpm, and enable a wider range of operation.
Intake and exhaust valves are closed when the system is active, the trapping of the gas to provide a spring effect which contributes to the balance of forces between the three-cylinder engine for the refinement and also to keep the temperature inside the cylinder to maintain fuel economy when it is reactivated.
New engine mounts, the driveshafts and suspension bushes will also be specially designed for the refinement in the revision of the 1.0-litre Ecoboost is installed in a car.
The engine has also been made more durable to cope with the various load forces resulting from the deactivation of cylinders, with uprated parts, including a new camshaft drive chain, and the valve rockers formed using advanced metal injection molding.
The system has been developed by the Ford engineers in the UK, Germany and US, in collaboration with the Schaeffler Group, an engineering partner.
Bob Fascetti, Ford motor Company’s global powertrain engineering boss said the engine was proof that “there is still untapped potential, even the best internal combustion engines to provide better fuel efficiency for customers.”
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