Fastidiously engineered Ford EcoBlue diesel promises big fuel savings

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Ford's EcoBlue diesel has been designed to save fuel and deliver more power from the top down

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Ford's EcoBoost gasoline engines have found favor in everything from Fiesta hatchbacks to the almighty Mustang, but the fuel-saving tech is yet to make its way into the brand's diesel engines. Until now, that is, because Ford has launched a new EcoBlue diesel engine promising a 13 percent improvement in fuel economy to go with its improved refinement and performance.

Just as it has done in the EcoBoost motors, Ford has attempted to cut down on friction in its 2.0-liter EcoBlue diesel. There's a 10 mm (0.39 in) offset crank designed to reduce piston side-load and minimize rubbing against the walls of the cylinder block, while an optimized valvetrain and single piece camshaft module also contribute to EcoBlue's improved fuel efficiency.

Ford has also debuted a new mirror-image porting design in the inlet manifold. Aimed at creating uniform fuel/air mixtures in all four cylinders, the system uses clockwise airflow to feed cylinders one and two, before reversing it for cylinders three and four.

According to Dr. Werner Willems, combustion systems specialist, this helps "turn fuel into energy more effectively than any diesel engine [Ford has] ever produced."

Working with the new inlet manifold design are new fuel injectors, capable of delivering six 0.8 mg injections of diesel per combustion event. The fuel is injected through eight conical holes just 120 microns in diameter.

Thanks in part to their piezoelectric design, Ford says the injectors cut down on unwanted noise, minimize energy wastage from the fuel pump, allow for more refined auto start-stop systems and real-time recalibration for ideal fuel efficiency.

As useful as these efficiency improvements are, drivers are more likely to worry about how the engine performs. After collecting feedback from people behind the wheel of its 2.2-liter TDCi Transit, Ford's engineers have liberated 20 percent more torque from the new EcoBlue engine at low revs. That means there's 340 Nm (251 lb.ft) on tap from just 1,250 rpm, which should make for effortless creeping in traffic, or punchy high-gear overtaking on the highway.

Key to this improvement is a redesigned turbocharger, which uses an Inconel turbine wheel capable of spinning at 240,000 rpm for sharp pickup. The turbo turbine has also been milled from solid, reducing tolerances to three microns from improved durability, less noise and smoother response.

Performance aside, the other characteristic drivers are likely to care about is refinement. After all, sitting in traffic makes up a huge percentage of our time, so a rattly idle and uncomfortable vibrations can be a major annoyance.

According to Ford's engineers, the new EcoBlue engine uses a noise-optimized cylinder head, stiff ladder frame and the oil pan to isolate vibrations from the cabin. There are also tight seals throughout the engine to ensure no noise can sneak out and ruin the refinement. The motor is apparently so smooth, although it is designed for use in commercial vehicles, it meets the stringent noise, vibration and harshness standards for Ford's passenger cars.

Initially, the motor will be offered in 77 kW (104 hp), 96 kW (128 hp) and 125 kW (168 hp) variants for Transit buyers, but it is capable of achieving over 149 kW (200 hp). There will also be a 1.5-liter version to do service in passenger cars.

Source: Ford

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