Tiny new engines, big power
Ford and Toyota’s latest blocks push the limits of frugal fuel use
FORD and Toyota have announced smaller engines with power figures associated with much bigger engines just a few years ago.
Ford’s EcoBoost range of small turbo engines feature in everything from Fiesta to the F-150 bakkie.
The smallest EcoBoost engine is now getting smaller, thanks to cylinder deactivation.
Toyota has meanwhile unveiled its Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) engines that will be used in both petrol and electric hybrid vehicles later this year.
Ford’s two power
Cylinder deactivation is not a new idea, dating back to 1981 and more recently applied by Jeep in the Cherokee.
But Ford will be the first to cut fuel to a cylinder in a three-cylinder engine. Their system only cuts the cylinder when the Ecoboost is running under light loads to make the already efficient engine a hyper-efficient two-cylinder on the highway or while idling.
To get the idling cylinder pumping again takes just 40 milliseconds, and the system can kick in at engine speeds up to 4 500 rpm. A new single-piece camshaft makes room for the extra oil channels and valve shifting components needed to make cylinder deactivation work. A new camshaft chain and valve rockers have also been fitted to handle the mechanical strain associated with cylinder deactivation.
Denis Gorman, powertrain engineer at Ford Europe, said, “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 percent.”
Toyota will introduce 17 versions of nine new engines and 10 versions of four transmissions from 2017 to 2021.
The new engines are called “Dynamic Force Engines” and combine loss reduction (lower energy losses), improved fuel combustion, and improved air intake efficiency.
The first engine in this new architecture is a 2,5-litre four-cylinder that achieves 40% thermal efficiency as a petrol-only engine, and 41% when used in a hybrid system.
To go with the new TNGA engines, Toyota has also developed new transmissions.
A new eight-speed automatic and a new 10-speed automatic (8AT and 10AT) are being introduced. Improvements in gear tooth surfaces and clutch materials reduce friction throughout the transmissions.