Ford's internal combustion engine advances for the future
When Ford showed the Lincoln MKR concept at last month's Detroit Auto Show, most of the talk was about it's styling, and whether it would get migrated to future Lincoln production models. However, perhaps more interesting is some of the technology in the engine. The MKR featured a twin turbocharged variant of the new Ford 3.5L V-6 that puts out over 400hp.
The most significant feature of the TwinForce engine is the direct fuel injection. Direct injection has been used on several European engines, most notably from Volkswagen and the 1.8L four cylinder introduced in the 2003 Mondeo. Spraying the fuel directly into the combustion chamber allows the distribution and concentration to be controlled more precisely for reduced emissions and fuel consumption. Mazda has also used DI on several of their engines including the 2.3L turbo four in the MazdaSpeed 6. The TwinForce engine also has variable valve timing, deceleration fuel cutoff and flex-fuel capability, all technologies which are or will be appearing in upcoming production Ford vehicles. Of course none of these technologies are entirely new, but hopefully Ford will stay in business long enough to actually see them and more to production. Read more after the jump.
ADVANCES PROPEL INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINES INTO THE FUTURE
The Lincoln MKR concept, introduced recently at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, has new engine technology that delivers V-8 power and performance with V-6 fuel economy. The new engine technology that makes this possible is called TwinForce.™ It will appear on future Lincoln and Ford vehicles and will employ state-of-the-art direct injection (DI) technology.
"We believe gasoline engines are, and will remain, an integral part of our future," said Nancy Gioia, Ford Motor Company director of Sustainable Mobility Technology Lab and Hybrid Vehicle Programs. "With advancements such as boosting, direct injection, variable cam timing, deceleration fuel shut off and direct start, we are continuing to squeeze every possible efficiency out of gasoline engines."
TwinForce adds two turbochargers and direct injection to deliver increased power while maintaining excellent fuel economy. When combined with other technologies like weight-saving techniques, it can provide fuel economy improvements and reduce green-house gas emissions.
In a conventional engine, fuel is sprayed in the intake port so that air and fuel are induced simultaneously into the cylinder. With direct injection, the fuel is injected directly into the cylinder. The result is a more efficient engine with greater fuel economy and torque. While more prevalent in diesel engines, direct-injection technology is being adopted by more automakers in their internal combustion powerplants.
Ford already has several direct injection-equipped 4-cylinder engines in production, including a 1.8-liter launched in the 2003 Ford Mondeo and the 2.3-liter turbocharged engine developed by Mazda for the 2006 MazdaSpeed6.
Mazda has used direct injection in its CX-7, Mazdaspeed6, Mazdaspeed3 and the new CX-9. Mazda earned recognition for its DISI 2.3L turbocharged DOHC I-4 when it was named to Ward's 2007 10 Best Engines list.
A comparison of the Mazda6 with the Mazdaspeed6 with direct injection clearly illustrates the advantages of DI. The Mazda6 with a 3.0L six-cylinder engine cranks out 212 hp at 6,000 rpm and its fuel consumption is rated at 19/27 (city/highway.) The Mazdaspeed6's smaller engine (2.3L, 4 cylinders) produces more horsepower, 270 hp at 5500 rpm, but still gets a roughly equivalent fuel efficiency rating at 19/25, thanks to DI.
Refinements like TwinForce technology may ensure that the gasoline-powered internal combustion engine will continue to offer consumers with a number of powerplant choices now and in the future.
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