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Ford tests cylinder deactivation on three-pot engine

Cut above: The baby of the Ford engine range, the 1.0-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost petrol engine, has achieved fuel savings of about six per cent when equipped with cylinder deactivation technology.

Smallest engine in Ford’s armoury could get cylinder deactivation for fuel savings

4 Jun 2015

IT SEEMS no engine is too small to benefit from cylinder deactivation for fuel savings.

Ford has revealed that it has been toying with an experimental engine management system that it says can shave six per cent from the fuel consumption of its pint-sized 1.0-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost engine by cutting cylinders at certain road speeds.

The system – tested in real-world conditions in a Focus – can either cut one cylinder or switch to “rolling deactivation” that effectively halves the engine firing rate.

Apart from a revised engine management system to control the firing order, a dual-mass flywheel, pendulum absorber and tuned clutch disc were added to enable cylinder deactivation at a wider range of engine loads and speeds while counteracting any increase in noise, vibration and harshness (NVH).

The Ford experiment at its Aachen research and development centre in Germany was revealed at the Vienna Engine Symposium by Ford global powertrain, research and advanced engineering director Andreas Schamel.

“Even for an aggressively downsized engine such as the 1.0-litre EcoBoost, a significant improvement in vehicle fuel economy could be found by exploiting cylinder deactivation,” Mr Schamel said.

“The highest priority in the development of new combustion engines for automotive applications is the ongoing reduction of fuel consumption.”

Ford said it has tested the technology in both the lab and in road tests over a typical commuter distance of 55km on autobahns, city roads and rural roads.

The direct-injected, turbocharged 1.0-litre is only available in Fiesta in Australia where it is credited with a combined fuel economy rating of 4.9 litres per 100km in five-speed manual form and 5.3L/100km with the six-speed auto.

The company did not say if it intended to put the technology into production on the 1.0-litre engine that accounts for one in four overall Ford sales in Europe.

Ford’s major rival General Motors has long been a proponent of cylinder deactivation, employing the technology on its V8 engines in both North America and Australia.

More recently, GM has extended cylinder deactivation to some V6 engines on vehicles such as the current Silverado pick-up and upcoming Camaro.

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