Thomas Niemann, sustainability reporting manager for Ford Motor Co., spoke at the 2012 Burns & McDonnell Sustainability Summit on Friday in Kansas City.
“We understand that fuel efficiency is very much a business issue because it’s a cost,” Niemann said. “With the transit, we’re bringing a product to market that people want and need. It will have aspects such as safety, fuel economy and adaptability that businesses want and need. They’ll now have a product that can save them money as they do business, and it will be built right here in Kansas City."
The popular EcoBoost engine will be part of the new Ford Transit Van. Ford also offers the EcoBoost engine in the Ford F-150 pickup, the most popular selling vehicle in America for the past 30 years, also produced in Kansas City.
According to Niemann, the EcoBoost engine provides a good mix of power and fuel economy, which has helped Ford experience 50 percent greater demand for the new engine technology than originally forecast.
“It’s like taking an eight-cylinder engine, cutting off two cylinders and still having the same power,” Niemann said. “The torque curve is more flattened out, so you don’t have to ramp up to hit a power band anymore. It’s at the front end, so you get the fuel economy of a six-cylinder engine, and yet it can compete with the power and capacity of an eight-cylinder engine,” he added.
According to Autoblog.com, EcoBoost is used only in automatic transmission vehicles, as fuel economy gains are found only on these types of transmissions.
According to a company March press release, the rear-wheel-drive transit van will be equipped with a 3.5-Liter EcoBoost V6 Engine.
The Ecoboost is already present in the Ford Escapade.
According to Ford, EcoBoost engines are key to the company’s strategy of providing advanced, high-output, smaller-displacement powertrains that deliver well on fuel economy and performance.
Ford intends to achieve at least 25 percent better fuel economy due in part to reduced weight of at least 300 pounds compared to similar E-Series vans.
According to Ford, EcoBoost engines are able to produce fuel efficiency gains due to a high-pressure direct-injection fuel system. A common rail that delivers a precise amount of gasoline in the exact spot for fast and complete burn feeds this system.
The EcoBoost engine involves turbocharging to create a denser mix of air and fuel in each cylinder. Additionally, special pistons with optimized bowls in the center improve combustion efficiency. These pistons are also oil-cooled, which reduces in-cylinder temperatures.
Finally, EcoBoost engines reduce CO2 emissions and produce excellent fuel economy compared to V8 engines with similar power ratings.
The Kansas City economy should improve with the prospect of a proven track record of sales of vehicles equipped with the EcoBoost engine. Ford numbers show that the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 available in the F-150 exceeded 100,000 sales in less than one year on the market. EcoBoost-equipped F-150s now account for more than 40 percent of F-150 retail sales.