A prototype of Ford's 3.5L EcoBoost engine. Click to enlarge.

When Ford announced the EcoBoost idea at this year's Detroit Auto Show, the main message was that this was a reasonable technology that could be implemented soon, would save people money by improving fuel economy without decreasing performance and that the improved engines would be paired with lighter cars to emphasize the fuel savings. Oh, and then there's that easy-to-remember tag line that its a V6 with the power of a V8.

Ford is moving full steam ahead with the EcoBoost project and will install the first production engines in the 2009 Lincoln MKS. Thus far, there have been hundreds of test engines built at the Dearborn testing facility and these have spent countless hours (well, we're dealing with engineers here, so these hours were probably actually counted) on the track and dynamometers. Ford is inviting journalists to Dearborn this week to get a close-up view of the EcoBoost technology and AutoblogGreen got to spend a few hours talking to the team and bolting a few parts to the test subject.

Read on after the jump for more.

At Ford's Beech Daly Technical Center, we sat down with Corey Weaver, EcoBoost systems engineer, who has been working on the program since it started about six years ago. Weaver said when the EcoBoost program got started, the team took a look where things stood in the auto industry but also where they were going. Looking back now, it's a good thing that, in 2002, Ford noticed that gas prices were headed up and that customers would want more efficient engines. This mindset has been increasingly evident to the EcoBoost team. Weaver said that at the beginning, the team was asked if they could make a V8 EcoBoost, to really increase power. As gas prices crept higher, the question became, "Can we get this in a 4-cylinder?" (The answer to that is yes, at least in the near future)

Weaver wouldn't talk about specific fuel economy numbers for EcoBoost models, but stuck to the Ford line that performance has been retained while fuel usage has been decreased. By using direct injection with turbochargers, the EcoBoost engines are able to provide the full 340 lb-ft of torque at just 1500 RPM. With 340 hp (compared to 265 in today's 3.5L V6 engine), the EcoBoost vehicle should be a treat to drive while being slightly better for the environment than what's currently available. For more details from Weaver, check out the video below. We've got an in-depth look at the EcoBoost technology here.

Here's what else we know about EcoBoost:

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