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Engines and transmissions highlight the next-gen Focus

by DrivingEnthusiast

As a Driving Enthusiast, our interest in the new Focus centers around the driving experience, and one key to that is the engine and powertrain technology. At this early point, Ford has chosen to announce only the new 2 liter DOHC Ti-VCT Direct Injected 4 cylinder and the double-clutch transmission. at only (estimated) 155 HP, it doesn’t produce much but then it’s point in life is fuel economy (the Hyundai 2.4 liter 4 with Direct Injection makes almost 200 HP).

We’ll focus on this engine and transmission for now since Ford hasn’t told us what happens with the Ford of Europe ST-2 DOHC turbocharged five cylinder. Hopefully something along those lines will be along later in an updated form, and hopefully it will also come to North America (although more likely it will be a turbocharged 4). Remember that the five is the basis for the current RS model, which ends production shortly. We can only keep our fingers crossed for one of those in North America, although Ford did make a small effort to bring it over a year ago that failed due to excessive costs of federalizing a vehicle that wasn’t designed for worldwide standard. The new Focus is a true worldwide vehicle – so there is hope.

What strikes us about this announcement is the extent to which Ford got it right. The engine is state of the art, with independently variable intake and exhaust timing (Ti-VCT) coupled with Direct Injection. And the added bonus of a dual-clutch tranny. We’ll have to wait for the first drives late in the year to see how this combination works. And what kind of fuel economy it provides – because that is it’s primary purpose. But the bonus of this technology will be the dynamics it provides – and that is of great interest to Driving Enthusiasts.

Ford Press release and images follows:
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GLOBAL DEBUT OF FORD FOCUS PREVIEWS NEW FUEL-EFFICIENT POWERTRAIN TECHNOLOGIES

  • The all-new Ford Focus previewed at the 2010 North American International Auto Show features a fuel-efficient new 2.0-liter DOHC I-4 engine with Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT) and direct injection (DI)
  • The global reveal of the next-generation Focus also features an advanced dual-clutch PowerShift six-speed automatic transmission designed to deliver better fuel economy than comparable automatics
  • The new engine and transmission are the first examples of a Focus powertrain strategy that reinforces Ford’s commitment to delivering fuel economy leadership without sacrificing driving fun throughout its global offerings
  • DETROIT, Jan. 11, 2010 – The reveal of the next-generation Ford Focus at the 2010 North American International Auto Show includes the first in a series of powertrain technology developments coming from Ford that give its new global C-segment leader a combination of power, exhilarating performance and unsurpassed fuel economy.

    Ford has disclosed that North American models of the new Focus will be equipped with a responsive, fuel-efficient combination of a 2.0-liter I-4 engine with Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT) and direct injection (DI) plus a dual-clutch PowerShift transmission.

    “Combining a direct-injected engine and the dual-clutch PowerShift transmission will help Focus redefine fuel economy and flexibility in the C-car segment,” said Barb Samardzich, vice president for Ford’s global powertrain development. “The refinement and sheer fun-to-drive nature of the new Focus will surprise a lot of drivers.”
    The new engine is designed to deliver an estimated 155 horsepower and 145 ft.-lb. of torque to give customers ample performance and a refined driving experience.

    The 2.0-liter Ti-VCT I-4 also serves as another example of Ford delivering fuel economy leadership by using advanced technologies to produce surprising power from minimal displacement. The engine can deliver outstanding fuel economy and emissions along with the throttle response, performance and flexibility expected from a world-class engine.

    “Using direct injection and Ti-VCT, and coupling that to a dual-clutch transmission, we’ve been able to make a quantum leap in fuel economy and performance,” said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development. “We’re meeting the goals of our global powertrain strategy, and we now have another key powertrain for use around the world.”

    Core engine technologies
    As a DOHC design, the 2.0-liter I-4 uses two camshafts: one to open the intake valves and one to open the exhaust valves. Traditionally, camshafts have only been able to open the valves at a fixed point, defined during engine design and manufacture. But with modern variable cam timing systems, the camshafts can be rotated slightly relative to their initial position, allowing the cam timing to be advanced or retarded.
     
    Ti-VCT takes this technology and applies it to both the intake and exhaust camshafts of its DOHC design, using electronic solenoid valves to direct high-pressure oil to control vanes in each of the camshaft sprocket housings. By using one oil control solenoid per camshaft, controlled by the Electronic Control Module, each intake and exhaust cam can be advanced or retarded independently of the other as engine operating conditions change, providing an exceptional degree of valve timing control.

    “The overlap control via Ti-VCT helps us eliminate compromises in the induction and exhaust systems,” said Jamie Hanshaw, Ford VCT technical specialist. “Drivers will notice improved low-end power and better fuel economy. And there are benefits they won’t notice too, like reduced emissions overall, especially at part-throttle.” 

    Fuel metering duties on the 2.0-liter I-4 are handled by a DI system that precisely delivers a fine mist of fuel directly into each cylinder for optimal performance, economy and emissions. Unlike port fuel injection (PFI) engines that spray fuel into the intake system, the direct injection system puts the fuel in the combustion chamber, exactly where it needs to be for combustion. Thanks to DI, the engine can safely operate at a high 12:1 compression ratio (compared with the current engine’s 10:1 ratio), further enhancing power and efficiency. And unlike most competitive direct injection systems, the engine will be E85 flex fuel-capable.

    The high-pressure fuel injectors are positioned to the side of each cylinder, aiming the fuel directly into the cylinder adjacent to a high-intensity spark plug and alongside the intake and exhaust valves. Fuel is sprayed into the cylinders at pressures of up to 2,150 pounds per square inch, which is about 35 times more intense than PFI injection.

    “The DI system creates an incredibly fine spray of gasoline that’s injected directly into the combustion chamber at the precise moment it’s needed, eliminating a lot of the compromises on traditional fuel systems,” explains Scott Makowski, I-4 engine manager. “It sounds simple, but months of testing and computer simulation went into finding the exact injector spray pattern, where in the cylinder to aim the spray, and even the piston dome design.”

    The Denso high-pressure fuel injectors use internal solenoids to precisely switch the flow of fuel on and off. Fuel flows through six tiny outlets – like pinholes – in each injector, and each spray is positioned to provide benefits in fuel economy and emissions. A sophisticated electronic control system varies the timing and intensity of the fuel delivery according to engine operating conditions.

    Attention to detail yields fuel economy improvements
    Complementing the efficiencies introduced by Ti-VCT and DI, every aspect of the proven 2.0-liter I-4 was examined to identify ways fuel economy could be improved. Key strategies focused on reducing internal engine friction and reducing overall weight.

    Computer modeling indicated areas where friction reduction strategies would pay the most dividends. The valvetrainreceived a fine surface treatment to present the smoothest surface possible. Piston skirts are treated with a special low-friction coating, and the oil pump and its drive ratio are sized for the exact capacity requirements of the new 2.0-liter engine.

    Accessory drive friction was also reduced through a series of actions. Electric Power Assist Steering eliminates the drag of an engine-driven power steering pump, while the use of so-called stretchy belt technology removes friction in the form of a belt tensioner on the air-conditioning compressor drive system.

    Additionally, an overriding alternator decoupler – essentially a special pulley that reduces certain types of vibrations – allows the alternator and water pump drive belt to operate at a much lower tension than is typically used, further reducing frictional losses.

    To keep overall powertrain weight as low as possible, the block, cylinder head and oil pan – traditionally the heaviest engine components – are aluminum castings. To increase rigidity, these elements are ribbed for additional strength and durability. Pistons are cast aluminum as well, with the light weight helping to reduce reciprocating mass.

    Composite material is employed to keep intake manifold weight to an absolute minimum, while allowing for induction routing to increase thermal efficiency and improve low-end torque characteristics.

    PowerShift: A different kind of automatic
    An all-new PowerShiftsix-speed automatic transmission that combines the responsive performance and fuel economy of a manual gearbox with the convenience of a traditional automatic transmission promises to be another key Focus powertrain technology.

    “PowerShift is a transmission that changes the game,” said Samardzich. “Our fuel economy leader is now a PowerShift automatic. Previously, a C-segment driver needed a manual transmission and a clutch pedal to enjoy the greatest fuel efficiency.”
    Twin internal clutches keep the PowerShift in constant mesh, continuously optimizing for maximum responsiveness and fuel efficiency, depending on engine speed, vehicle speed and input from the driver’s foot on the accelerator pedal. The new technology provides significant fuel economy improvement, and for the driver, it retains the operational ease of an automatic with noticeably quicker and smoother shift quality.
      
    PowerShift is a dual dry clutch transmission, operating with sealed internal lubrication, reducing friction and contributing to Focus fuel economy improvements. The lack of pumps and hoses reduces complexity, saves weight and contributes to fuel efficiency.

    An additional feature is Hill Start Assist functionality. This sensor-based system will “hold” the brakes for an instant (2.5 seconds) to prevent rollback when stopping or starting from rest on an incline. Employing a digital accelerometer to measure slope incline, the system activates automatically when the incline exceeds 3 percent.

    Simpler, more responsive and more fuel-efficient than a conventional automatic transaxle, PowerShiftrepresents an innovative small car breakthrough.

    Continuing refinement on the global stage
    Using the 2.0-liter Ti-VCT engine and PowerShift dual-clutch transmission in the North American market, combined with state-of-the-art common-rail diesels for global customers, Focus is poised to claim a leadership role in fuel economy from the moment it’s launched. This powertrain will not be marketed in Europe.

    The global powertrain lineup for the new Focus also will include a range of state-of-the-art Ford EcoBoost™ four-cylinder turbocharged direct injection engines – including the 1.6-liter unit in Europe and a choice of advanced and improved Duratorq TDCi common-rail diesel engines, all of which offer reductions in fuel consumption of between 10 and 20 percent compared to the outgoing models.

    “When the new Focus launches in late 2010, it will be among the global leaders in fuel economy and CO2 emissions,” said Kuzak. “We will continue to pioneer new technologies beyond launch, including a true zero-emission model launching in North America in 2011. Throughout its life cycle, Focus in all forms, in all regions, will demonstrate the Ford commitment to deliver unsurpassed fuel economy on a truly global scale.”

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