Ford adds cylinder deactivation to 1.0-liter Ecoboost

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Ford has announced that its multiple Engine of the Year award-winning 1.0-liter EcoBoost petrol engine is to be offered with ‘innovative’ cylinder deactivation technology from 2018, to further reduced CO2 emissions and improved fuel efficiency.

The unit will become the first three-cylinder engine in the world to feature cylinder deactivation, which Ford states can disengage or re-engage one cylinder in 14 milliseconds. Combined with a number of solutions to counteract vibrations, the company also states that the process will be imperceptible to drivers in terms of operation and engine performance.

“Ford has pushed back the boundaries of powertrain engineering once again to further improve the acclaimed 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine, and prove that there is still untapped potential for even the best internal combustion engines to deliver better fuel efficiency for customers,” said Bob Fascetti, vice president, Global Powertrain Engineering, Ford Motor Company.

The cylinder deactivation system was developed by Ford engineers at Dunton Technical Centre, in Essex, UK, Germany and the U.S. in collaboration with Ford’s engineering partners at the Schaeffler Group.

The system operates at engine speeds of up to 4,500rpm and uses engine oil pressure to activate a special valve rocker and interrupt the connection between the camshaft and the valves of cylinder number one, depending on vehicle speed, throttle position and engine load. A new single-piece camshaft module, similar to the design debuted earlier this year for the all-new Ford EcoBlue diesel engine, increases space within the cylinder-head for new oil channels and valve-switching componentry.

“With the variable capacity delivered by cylinder deactivation, drivers get the power and performance of the whole engine when they need it, and the enhanced fuel efficiency of a smaller engine when they don’t,” added Denis Gorman, powertrain engineer, Ford of Europe. “Our research shows that in most driving scenarios the system will be active for just a few seconds at a time, making fast and seamless operation crucial, and has the potential to improve fuel efficiency by up to six per cent.”

A new dual-mass flywheel and a vibration-damping clutch disc help neutralise engine oscillations when running on two cylinders, especially at lower rpm, and enable a wider operating range. Intake and exhaust valves are closed when the system is active, trapping gasses to provide a spring effect that helps balance forces across the three cylinders for refinement, and also retain temperatures inside the cylinder that maintain fuel efficiency when reactivated.

New engine mounts, drive shafts and suspension bushes also will be specially tuned for refinement. The 1.0-litre EcoBoost will feature enhanced durability to cope with the different loading forces resulting from cylinder deactivation, including a new camshaft chain, and valve rockers formed using advanced metal injection moulding.

“Cylinder deactivation adjusts the effective engine capacity to maximise fuel efficiency, and to deliver the greatest benefit to customers, needs to be triggered in as many driving scenarios as possible,” concluded Carsten Weber, manager, Powertrain Research and Advanced Engineering, Ford of Europe. “We intensively tested the system in real world conditions using a range of deactivation strategies to develop a system that maximises the fuel efficiency without compromising driving comfort.”

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Dean has been with UKi Media & Events for over a decade, having previously cut his journalistic teeth writing and editing for various automotive and engineering titles. He combines extensive knowledge of all things automotive with a passion for driving, and experience testing countless new vehicles, engines and technologies around the world. As well as his role as editor-in-chief across a range of UKi's media titles, he is also co-chair of the judging panel of the International Engine of the Year Awards.

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