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Ford strengthens fuel-efficient vehicles lineup with three-cylinder engine

ABR Staff Writer Published 06 June 2011

Ford Motor has strengthened its lineup of fuel-efficient vehicles with the addition of new 1.0-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder engine and a new eight-speed automatic transmission.

The company said that the new transmission will be installed in its next generation of hybrid vehicles, including a new plug-in hybrid vehicles set to launch in 2012 will be built at Michigan.

Ford group vice president of global product development Derrick Kuzak said in the last five years, the company has made a record investment in new powertrains and fuel-saving technologies and today, it has the fresh powertrain lineup in the industry.

Ford engineers at the Dunton technical centre in the UK have already started designing the new EcoBoost 1.0-liter engine long before the current spike in fuel prices pushed the cost of a gallon of gas over $4.

The engineers also focused on improving thermal efficiency and reducing friction of the engine's internal moving parts, when an engine emits higher levels of CO2 and other pollutants.

The new 1.0-liter engine features an offset crankshaft that helps improve fuel economy, an advanced, Ford-designed split cooling system that allows the cylinder block to warm up before the cylinder head. Faster cylinder block warm-ups save fuel, especially in cold weather.

The new engine also features an exhaust manifold cast into the cylinder head. The one-piece assembly lowers the temperature of the exhaust gases that enables the engine to run in a wider rpm band with the optimum fuel-to-air ratio. The new design also saves weight and allows the engine to operate more smoothly, and EcoBoost technologies, such as turbocharging, direct injection and twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT).

The company's new eight-speed transmission will feature its next-generation clutch controls, an input torque sensor, which measures torque coming into the transmission. The sensor enables faster selection of the proper gear that reduces hunting and helps smooth out shifts, actuators built into the case for tighter, more precise control of hydraulic pressure, and closed-loop control.

Later this year, the company plans to start production of another new transmission at its Van Dyke Transmission Plant in suburban Detroit, its full volume production is scheduled to start in the first quarter of 2012.

The company expects to manufacture more hybrid transmissions in North America by the end of this year and is on track to launch five electrified vehicles in the US by 2012 and in Europe by 2013.