Ford explores carbon fibre engines and electric turbocharging at Detroit

In the pursuit of lighter, more efficient engines, Ford is exploring less conventional ways of saving fuel

Ford-Fiesta-EcoBoost-logo

Ford has outlined its plans to make its cars even more efficient, by installing carbon fibre, electric turbocharging and cylinder deactivation to its family of EcoBoost petrol engines.

Speaking at the Detroit Motor Show this week, Bob Fascetti, Ford’s vice president of powertrain development revealed the brand’s big plans to make cars lighter and more economical – as it pushes out four new versions of its successful EcoBoost engine by 2020.

Most economical cars to buy right now

Ford’s 1.0-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost has already won Inernational Engine of the Year three times, but not wanting to rest on their laurels, engineers rolled out a new concept using carbon fibre to cut weight and improve efficiency.

Used to seeing gleaming concept cars fill motor show stands, Ford’s prototype engine was a bit different. By using injection-moulded carbon fibre for things like the sump and oil pan, the new three-cylinder is 13kg and 15.5 per cent lighter than the engine found in the existing Fiesta and Focus. It benefits from the extensive use of aluminium to halve the weight of some crucial components, too.

Ford Fiesta - front tracking

The cylinder head, for example, has been shaved from 7.7kg to just 6.5kg – a 15 per cent weight saving. The engine block is down to just 14kg from 23.5kg, representing a bulk reduction of 40 per cent. Ford says these changes (among others) could equate to a 4.5 per cent improvement in fuel economy and emissions.

Cost is the main thing holding Ford back in implementing these technologies on production cars, but as the price comes down there’s every feasibility we could see carbon fibre engines taking the market by storm.

Elsewhere, Ford is looking at variable geometry, electric turbocharging and cylinder deactivation to improve cost of ownership even further. Bosses said they were not looking at smaller two-cylinder engines due to unwanted vibrations in the cabin, but insisted that shutting down one of the three cylinders on its EcoBoost engine when not needed could improve cruising fuel consumption by four to six per cent.

What do you think of Ford's plans for carbon fibre engines and electric turbocharging? Let us know below...

Recommended

Iconic Ford Escort Mk2 is reborn by specialist MST
Ford Escort Mk2 rally
News

Iconic Ford Escort Mk2 is reborn by specialist MST

£65,000 Ford Escort rally car recreation gives fast Ford fans a Singer of their own to aspire to
8 Jan 2021
Team Fordzilla P1 hypercar concept revealed as full-size model
Ford

Team Fordzilla P1 hypercar concept revealed as full-size model

Ford’s gamer-created virtual race car makes the move from digital to reality as static concept car
18 Dec 2020
Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition revealed
Ford

Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition revealed

Hottest iteration of Ford Mustang Mach-E will offer 480bhp and Tesla Model Y-matching performance when sales begin next year
1 Dec 2020
Ford van models: range, specs, prices and how to choose one
Ford

Ford van models: range, specs, prices and how to choose one

We dive into the Ford commercial vehicle range from Transit to Ranger to explain how to find the best vehicle for your needs
5 Oct 2020

Most Popular

'MG's sales must rank as the success story of the year, possibly the decade'
MG 2020
Opinion

'MG's sales must rank as the success story of the year, possibly the decade'

Mike Rutherford says plenty of big car brands could learn from MG's focus on cheap cars
17 Jan 2021
Hyundai i30 vs Volkswagen Golf
Hyundai i30 vs Volkswagen Golf - main
Car group tests

Hyundai i30 vs Volkswagen Golf

Can the updated Hyundai i30 provide tough competition for the latest Volkswagen Golf?
16 Jan 2021
Best electric cars to buy 2021
Electric cars

Best electric cars to buy 2021

There are more electric cars than ever to choose from, so we've picked some of the best you can buy in the UK now
4 Jan 2021