Ford is investigating an innovative new engine management approach that could be a key to helping make the company’s award-winning three-cylinder 1.0‑litre EcoBoost engine even more fuel efficient.

On-road tests using a working prototype showed fuel efficiency improvements of up to six per cent after engineers conducted an experimental investigation into cylinder deactivation.

For the test they also developed a new dual mass flywheel. This enabled cylinder deactivation to take place at a wider range of engine loads and speeds, and helped minimize noise, vibration and harshness levels.

These findings were presented today to the world renowned Vienna Engine Symposium by Andreas Schamel, Ford director, Global Powertrain, Research & Advanced Engineering. Cylinder deactivation is among a number of fuel efficiency solutions Ford is investigating for the 1.0-litre EcoBoost, at the European Research and Innovation Centre in Aachen, Germany.

“Even for an aggressively downsized engine such as the 1.0-litre EcoBoost, a significant improvement in vehicle fuel economy could be found by exploiting cylinder deactivation,” Schamel said. “The highest priority in the development of new combustion engines for automotive applications is the ongoing reduction of fuel consumption.”

Ford’s 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine last year became the first engine ever to be named International Engine of the Year three times in a row. Downsized EcoBoost engines combine surprising power with excellent fuel efficiency through direct fuel injection, turbocharging, and variable valve timing. EcoBoost-equipped vehicles last year accounted for one in four new Ford vehicles sold in Europe. The 1.0-litre EcoBoost, the most popular, is available with automatic as well as 5-speed, and 6‑speed manual transmissions, and across 10 different models – from Fiesta to the all-new Mondeo.

For testing, engineers equipped a Ford Focus 1.0-litre EcoBoost with cylinder deactivation hardware that they could monitor deactivation of one cylinder, and also a rolling cylinder deactivation to run the engine in half-engine mode.

They also fitted the prototype with a newly developed system that combined a dual mass flywheel, a pendulum absorber, and a tuned clutch disc; and is particularly effective at low revs. As well as enabling a wider operating range of cylinder deactivation, this system helped counteract any effect that the cylinder deactivation had on levels of noise, vibration and harshness.

Fuel efficiency improvements were recorded in homologated conditions and during test drives of the first prototype vehicle, for a typical commuter distance of 55 km on a combination of motorway, city roads and rural roads, in and around Cologne, Germany. The development is a collaboration with Ford’s engineering partners at the Schaeffler Group.

Original source: Ford