Home » Whats next for Ford EcoBoost? Lincoln C Concept may point the way

Whats next for Ford EcoBoost? Lincoln C Concept may point the way

by DrivingEnthusiast

The Ford EcoBoost family continues to expand, with a 1.6 liter 160 PS 4 cylinder engine in production, 2 different 2 liter 4s of 200 and 240 HP, and 3 variants of the 3.5 V-6 for cars and trucks. We’ll also see a 3 cylinder EcoBoost, as well as a higher output 1.6 in the future Fiesta ST, a higher output 2 liter in the Focus ST, eventually a very high output 2 liter 4 in the future Focus RS, and a smaller displacement V-6 for future Lincolns. There are also rumors of a increased displacement >2 liter 4 for the future Mustang (not for performance, not an SVO – but solely for fuel economy).

The Lincoln C concept was introduced almost 3 years ago at NAIAS and was built on a production Focus chassis with an engine and drivetrain taken from near-production. While Ford has only acknowledged a future “C”-class product for Lincoln in the most general terms, the concept is an indication of what we may see in another year or so, combining a high output 1.6 liter EcoBoost 4 with a dual-clutch transmission. Note the facts in the press release below (red highlights are ours): the EPA highway mileage would be 43, and the HP would be 180 with matching torque. An exceptional achievement, combining exceptional fuel economy with very reasonable and responsive performance in a 2,750 pound car.

Ford Press release follows:

DETROIT, Jan. 12, 2009 – The Lincoln C concept showcases Ford Motor Company’s newest combination of fuel-efficient powertrain innovations: a four-cylinder EcoBoost engine mated to a dual-clutch PowerShift transmission.

Featuring a 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine and Ford’s all-new dry, dual-clutch PowerShift six-speed transmission, Lincoln C achieves a projected 43 mpg on the highway, while offering up an estimated 180 horsepower and 180 ft.-lbs. of torque. That’s a nearly 25 percent fuel-economy improvement over Lincoln C’s fuel-sipping C-car cousin, the Ford Focus, which currently delivers unsurpassed highway fuel economy in its segment when equipped with a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated engine.

“Lincoln C demonstrates that a higher degree of engine downsizing as the key to fuel economy improvement, paired with the right technologies, can deliver optimum horsepower, torque and drive-away capability,” said Andreas Schamel, a chief engine engineer with Ford’s Powertrain Research Laboratory. “Plus, when combined with the PowerShift six-speed transmission, the impossible equation becomes perfectly possible: lower fuel consumption, increased power and smoother, more fun-to-drive performance.”

The 1.6-Liter EcoBoost Engine
The Lincoln C concept’s 1.6-liter engine dimensions the common attributes of Ford’s EcoBoost strategy, leveraging a combination of direct fuel injection technology and turbocharging to deliver significantly improved fuel economy and torque versus a larger displacement engine, while reducing emissions up to 15 percent.

The 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine features turbocharging and a central-injector direct injection system. Using a central injector instead of a side-injector system provides improved fuel-air mixture preparation, helping to further reduce fuel consumption and lower emissions. A central injector-based system also provides the most flexible foundation for future fuel-saving technologies.

“We know that a central injection system is a prerequisite for future global fuel economy upgrades such as stratified lean operation, homogeneous charge compression ignition or HCCI, and premium injection system technology if the market demands,” said Martin Wirth, a Ford Direct Injection Gasoline Systems and Combustion technical specialist. “It’s a value solution that gives us the ability to answer market trends quickly and provide broad market coverage, a key component of the EcoBoost strategy to deliver an affordable, fuel-efficient engine technology at high volumes.”

When compared to a standard 2.0-liter naturally aspirated engine, the 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine can deliver up to a 10-percent gain in fuel economy simply on the merits of the engine downsizing and boosting as well as common powertrain systems such as twin independent variable camshaft timing (TI-VCT).

TI-VCT varies the phase of the intake and exhaust cams independently for improved airflow through the engine, which delivers more torque while reducing average fuel consumption by up to 5 percent. “TI-VCT gives us better low-end torque and drive-away capabilities even under the stronger engine downsizing conditions,” said Wirth.

The 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine also features other sophisticated fuel-saving powertrain technologies such as Assisted Direct Start, which contributes to an additional 3 percent gain in fuel efficiency.

Assisted Direct Start automatically shuts down the engine when the vehicle is at idle – at a stop light, for example – and automatically restarts the engine when the brake is released or gas pedal is engaged, improving fuel economy by saving idle fuel consumption.

When a vehicle comes to a stop, the electronic control unit immediately synchronizes the engine’s systems for restart. Once the brake pedal is released or the gas pedal is engaged, a short starter engagement triggers the direct fuel injection system to fill the cylinders with fuel, initiate combustion and start the engine, producing the no-hesitation vehicle launch. An advanced battery management system converts braking energy into electricity and stores it to keep electrical systems operating while the engine is not running.

This advanced system provides consistent start behavior of the stopped or stopping engine that is smooth, quiet and seamless to the customer, requiring no changes in driver behavior.

Powershift Transmission
The Lincoln C concept also features Ford’s dual-clutch PowerShift six-speed transmission, which delivers the efficiency of a manual with the ease of operation of a premium automatic transmission.

Compared to traditional automatic four-speed transmissions, PowerShift can help reduce fuel consumption by up to 9 percent depending on the application. PowerShift, for example, contributes to an estimated 8 percent uptick in Lincoln C’s fuel efficiency when compared to the current Focus.

“The Lincoln C application of PowerShift helps illustrate the competitive advantage this transmission will offer to Ford in the global small car markets,” said Jack Dorigo, North America Powertrain Planning manager. “It’s a new-to-segment technology that’s an improvement over today’s automatic transmissions in terms of fuel economy while providing customers a more connected feel between the pedal and the vehicle’s acceleration.”

PowerShift provides the full comfort of an automatic with a more sophisticated driving dynamic, thanks to uninterrupted torque from the dual-clutch technology, which consists essentially of two manual transmissions working in parallel, each with its own independent clutch unit. One clutch carries the uneven gears – 1, 3 and 5 – while the other the even gears – 2, 4 and 6. Subsequent gear changes are coordinated between both clutches as they engage and disengage for a seamless delivery of torque to the wheels.

The lean curb weight of the Lincoln C enables a dry-clutch derivative of Ford’s PowerShift transmission for added efficiency and durability. A dry clutch transmits power and torque through manual transmission clutch facings, while most automatic transmissions utilize wet clutch plates submerged in oil. As a result, the dry-clutch PowerShift transmission does not require an oil pump or torque converter, providing superior mechanical efficiency.

“A dry clutch is a real sweet spot for lighter vehicle applications like the Lincoln C concept,” said Piero Aversa, manager, Ford Automatic Transmission Engineering. “It is perfectly matched to this vehicle and engine. PowerShift is more efficient, it saves weight, is more durable, more efficient and the unit is sealed for life, requiring no regular maintenance.”

Lincoln C weighs in at 2,750 lbs. due to a number of light-weighting measures, including the transmission. PowerShift, unlike conventional automatic transmissions, does not need the pound-adding torque converter or planetary gears. In addition, the dry-clutch derivative eliminates the need for the weighty pumps, hydraulic fluids, cooling lines and external coolers that wet clutch transmissions require. As a result, the dry-clutch PowerShift transmission showcased on the Lincoln C is nearly 30 pounds lighter than the four-speed automatic transmission featured on today’s Focus.

Differentiating PowerShift even further in terms of its customer appeal is its shift quality, launch feel and overall drive dynamic, which are all facilitated by an expert blend of Ford-exclusive electro-mechanical systems, software features, calibrations and controls. These unique driving features include:

  • Neutral coast down – The clutches will disengage when the brakes are applied, improving coasting downshifts and clutch robustness as well as reducing parasitic losses for increased fuel economy.
  • Precise clutch control in the form of a clutch slip to provide torsional damping of the engine vibration – This function improves noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) at low engine speeds and enables lower lugging limits for improved fuel economy.
  • Low-speed driving or creep mode with integrated brake pressure – This function simulates the low-speed control drivers are accustomed to from an automatic transmission. T he amount of rolling torque in Drive and Reverse is precisely controlled, gradually building as brake pressure is released.
  • Hill mode or launch assist – Prevents a vehicle from rolling back on a grade by maintaining brake pressure until the engine delivers enough torque to move the vehicle up the hill, providing improved driver confidence, comfort, safety and clutch robustness.

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