Ford’s R&D team cooks up a (partly) carbonfibre engine

Published: 11 January 2016

Four new Ford EcoBoost engines by 2020
R&D work exploring new lightweight materials
Concept 1.0-litre triple uses carbonfibre parts

Ford’s downsized EcoBoost petrol engines arrived in 2009, blending turbo technology with direct injection and variable valve timing to deliver cleaner emissions and improved mpg without losing the fun. By early last year Ford had made 5 million EcoBoost engines, and they power several key 2016 cars including the Focus RS, Mustang and GT.

Four new EcoBoost engines are promised by 2020, and beyond that Ford is looking to implement some of the tech featured on a concept engine unveiled at the Detroit show. 15% lighter than the existing 1.0-litre triple, the cute three saves weight using injection-moulded carbonfibre for some structural parts, including the sump and part of the cylinder head. The motor also uses racing car-style forged aluminium con-rods (nearly half the weight of existing rods) and powdered metal steel forgings on key highly stressed components.

Other tech on the Ford engine test bed includes e-turbos, mild hybridisation (together with a move to 48-volt electrics), variable geometry turbos, cylinder de-activation (turning the already small triple into a tiny twin) and variable valve lift.

As for when you’ll be able to buy a Fiesta with a carbon engine – ‘This is a working prototype so we’re not talking decades,’ says Ford’s director of powertrain research Andreas Schamel.

Read more of CAR’s Detroit motor show coverage here.

By Ben Miller

The editor of CAR magazine, story-teller, average wheel count of three