Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ford plans to introduce two-cylinder and three-cylinder engines

Ford plans to introduce two-cylinder and three-cylinder engines

Ford Motor Co. will introduce its smallest turbocharged engine yet next year, and on the horizon are even tinier engines--including two- and three-cylinder versions, the automaker's powertrain chief said Monday.

Barb Samardzich, Ford vice president of powertrain engineering, said two- and three-cylinder engines and engines with displacements of 1.0 liter or below are possible.

“I think you'll see all of those things roll out,” Samardzich said. “It's more than experimental.”

Samardzich wouldn't talk about a timetable for such small engines or specify in what markets or vehicles they would first appear. But it makes sense that engines of that size would first be introduced in developing markets or in Europe, where small vehicles dominate.

Meanwhile, in 2010 Ford will introduce a new 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine with its EcoBoost turbocharging and direct-injection technology. The engine will go on sale late next year on the next-generation Ford C-Max, a family of Focus-derived small minivans.

Ford will sell the seven-seat Grand C-Max, the larger of the two body styles, in North America beginning around late 2011. But executives aren't saying whether the 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine will power the Grand C-Max in North America.

The 1.6-liter EcoBoost is intended to replace naturally aspirated, large I-4 engines. Torque compares with a 2.5-liter I-4, officials said.

When Ford goes to even smaller engines, it will use technologies such as balance shafts to help solve noise and vibration issues, Samardzich said. Those problems are “manageable,” she said.

The smallest EcoBoost engine that Ford has confirmed for North America is a 2.0-liter I-4 that goes on sale in 2010 in undisclosed nameplates. It is intended to replace 3.0-liter V6 engines.

By 2013, Ford says, it will sell 1.3 million EcoBoost-equipped vehicles per year globally, with up to 750,000 in North America alone. Two-thirds of the volume will come from four-cylinder models.


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