Ford EcoBoost Turbo Engines Explained
Thanks to the success of its turbocharged engine family, “EcoBoost” is as much a household name as Topaware, Pringles and the Harlem Shake, but it’s one of the newest engine families out there.
So what is EcoBoost? This is the name given by Ford Motor Company, co-developed with FEV engineering and in production since 2009. But before we can tell you the technology that make an EcoBoost engine, we must first look into its history and what customer demands lead to its creation.
Give that everybody uses turbocharges now, you’d think this was commonplace, but for Ford it was a leap of faith. Most of its customers actually valued reliability and simplicity over increased economy. However, FoMoCo saw this was the way of the future and invested heavily, resulting in a total of 125 patents for the technologies that go into an EcoBoost engine.
Ford EcoBoost engines are designed to deliver power and torque consistent with larger engine displacement, naturally aspirated engines while also lowering fuel consumption by 20% percent if not more. The company even goes as far as to say its 1-liter engine is as good as any equivalent diesel.
The EcoBoost engine family was launched in 2009. V6 turbo engines stated being assembled at the Cleveland Engine Plant No. 1 in Brook Park, Ohio, and introduced to various SUV and pickup models. Meanwhile, the European debut of the EcoBoost family came at the e 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show.
Ford already had some of the most reliable small engines on sale in Europe and the US, natural stating points for the turbocharged versions. Adding to its Duratech technology, EcoBoost engines come with DOHC valvetrain, Direct Acting Mechanical Buckets, VVT, direct injection system and Bosch management systems with individual knock control. Something we like about turbo engines is that while Mazda is using very high compression rations, all EcoBoost motors use just 10:1 ratios. V6 motors sold in America use Honeywell turbos, while the smaller three- and four-cylinder units in Europe use Borg Warner low inertia integrated turbo systems.
Ford has always liked keeping it simple, so in fact there are only three types and four displacements of EcoBoost engine. So, without further ado, here they are:
1.0 Lliter EcoBoost Three-Cylinder
Ford says this engine block is no bigger than a sheet of A4 paper, and while that might sound like a marketing scheme, the fact that the three-cylinder EcoBoost engine only weighs 97 kg (213 lbs) is very impressive.
Of the family, this is the only engine that makes do with a cast iron block. This makes it about 20% heavier than what it could have been if it was made from aluminum but ensures it warms up much faster, essential for the efficiency of the unit.
Initially, the 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine was heralded as an replacement to 1.4 and 1.6-liter engines but it is actually an alternative offered alongside its naturally aspirated cousins. There are two power versions, making either 100 PS or 120/125 PS. On the Fiesta Facelift, this three-cylinder engine is also offered as a non-turbo “Ti-VCT” units making 80 PS.
1.0 EcoBoost engines are assembled both in Cologne, Germany and Craiova, Romania. After Ford’s expansion into the Chinese market, it will also be available there. Ford’s American PR people have mentioned it being used in the yet-to-be-launched 2014 Fiesta, though we’ve yet to be assembled in North America. The engine is used offed with the Focus, Fiesta, new B-MAX B-segment van and C-MAX. It will also likely be available with the Transit Connect next year.
We think the 100 PS engine is a bit overpowered for a normal supermini like the Fiesta, so the most impressive applications are in the Focus hatchback.
EcoBoost Four-Cylinder Engines
The 1.6-liter EcoBoost actually displaces 1.597cc. It usually makes 150 PS thanks to direct injection and a Borg Warner KP39 low inertia turbo, cast iron with 47mm-diameter crankpins, eight counterweights, five 52mm-diameter main bearings and damped front pulley and seven-hole high pressure injectors from Bosh. It makes 160 PS and 270 Nm at 1,600rpm for the 2010-present Mondeo and S-MAX.
The 180 PS high performance version is used by the European Fiesta ST, as well as the Kuga/Escape SUV and 2013 Fusion Sedan. The most extreme road application is in the 197 hp (200 PS) 2014 Fiesta ST for the American market.
Ford’s other four-cylinder EcoBoost is the 2.0-liter. This makes up to 252 hp (255 PS though Euro model is rated at 250 PS) in the Focus ST hot hatch and is used in anything from the Galaxy minivan to Lincoln models.
3.5-L EcoBoost V6
It’s power output is either 355 hp (265 kW) in the case of models like the Lincoln MKS, MKT and Ford Fusion or 265 hp (272 kW) offered by two performance models with tweaked exhausts, the 2013 Ford Explorer Sport and the 2013 Ford Taurus SHO. All these cars have the same torque levels, 350 lb-ft (475 Nm) available at 5000 rpm, though the Ford F-150 pickup gets 420 lb-ft (569 Nm) which is available from just 2500 rpm.
The Future of EcoBoost
Ford is going to continue focusing on turbo technology into the future, so we can expect it to become as common as TFSI is for Audi. The 1.0-liter unit will likely grow into a 1.5-liter for the Brazilian and Indian markets. The 2.0-liter EcoBoost will also be transformed into the all-important 2.3-liter 300 hp unit to be offered with the Ford Mustang and Focus RS. The torque and economy of the 3.5 L EcoBoost V6 will ensure it will continue to be used in pickups and SUVs for the foreseeable future.