Ford Aggressive Growth Plan in China







Published by Gerald Ferreira Date: November 21, 2011
Categories: Ford, Ford Corporate News

ford logoFord to Bring 20 New Engines and Transmissions to China and Improve Fleet Fuel Economy by Over 20% by 2015

Total Powertrain Portfolio Upgrade to Support Aggressive Growth Plan in China

  • Ford will upgrade its entire powertrain portfolio in China by bringing 20 advanced engines and transmissions to support its aggressive plan to introduce 15 new vehicles to China by 2015.
  • These advanced fuel-efficient technologies, including turbocharging, direct injection, twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) and six-speed transmissions will deliver over 20% in fuel economy improvement to Ford's passenger vehicle fleet in China by 2015, which represents a key part of Ford's near-term sustainability goals in China.
  • As the smallest of Ford's EcoBoost engine family, the all-new 1.0-litre EcoBoost direct-injection turbocharging gasoline engine will be produced in China for application in future vehicles for the market.
  • Ford's joint venture, Changan Ford Mazda Automobile Co., Ltd. (CFMA), is building a new engine plant and a new transmission plant to speed up the localization of advanced powertrains to meet China's fast-growing demands.

GUANGZHOU, China, 21 Nov., 2011 – Ford is introducing 20 new engines and transmissions in China by 2015 in a comprehensive strategy to upgrade its entire powertrain portfolio in the world's largest auto market. This upgrade aims to support its aggressive plan to introduce 15 new vehicles to China by 2015.

Utilizing state-of-the-art technologies such as turbocharging, direct injection, twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) and six-speed transmissions, the upgraded powertrain portfolio will deliver over 20% in fuel economy improvement to Ford's passenger vehicle fleet in China by 2015 while reducing tailpipe carbon dioxide emissions by 20%.

Ford also announced that it will produce its latest all-new 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine, the smallest in the EcoBoost engine family, in China to equip its vehicles produced and sold in the market.

"Ford is committed to be a fuel economy leader in every segment that we compete by utilizing advanced powertrain technologies. These technologies represent a core part of our near-term sustainability goals in China," said Kumar Galhotra, vice president, Product Development, Ford Asia Pacific and Africa.

"Earlier this year at the Shanghai Auto Show, Ford announced a plan to introduce 15 new vehicles to China by 2015. All these new vehicles will launch with the latest Ford-developed powertrains which will improve fuel economy and lower carbon dioxide emissions, offering our customers a more environment-friendly ride without compromising vehicle performance."

Universal application of EcoBoost Engine

Ford holds more than 125 patents for its high-performance and fuel-saving EcoBoost technology in the United States. EcoBoost, which uses turbocharging and direct gasoline injection to boost engine output and reduce emissions without sacrificing fuel economy, marks a major milestone in the Ford strategy to deliver technologically advanced, high-output, smaller-displacement powertrains.

The integration of three advanced technologies – turbocharging, direct injection and Ti-VCT – into the EcoBoost powertrain delivers significant customer benefits:

  • Optimized engine efficiency: delivers up to a 20% improvement in fuel economy, 15% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions compared with conventional gasoline engine
  • Superior driving performance: strong low-end torque and responsive performance across the full rev range
  • Advantages of small displacement: large-engine performance, but with the size, weight and fuel economy of a much smaller unit

A key advantage of the Ford EcoBoost approach is the ability to downsize engine capacity, so that larger naturally-aspirated engines can be replaced by much smaller units without sacrificing power output.

The performance boost offered by turbocharging typically results in a 50% increase in torque, so there is a significant opportunity to downsize capacity while still providing a potential performance benefit.

The advantages of downsizing include improved efficiency through reduced internal friction, lower pumping losses, and lighter weight – which also makes the engine warm up more quickly. This helps to ensure that the real-world fuel economy benefits of Ford EcoBoost engines are delivered in all driving conditions, including both city and highway driving.

The global EcoBoost engine family is the cornerstone of Ford's near-term sustainability plan to deliver high-volume, affordable, fuel-efficient vehicles that customers around the world want and value.

By 2013, the company plans globally to produce 1.5 million EcoBoost engines annually. Also, by 2013, nearly 80 percent of Ford's global nameplates will be available with EcoBoost.

Ford launched the 2.0L EcoBoost-equipped Mondeo-Zhisheng in China earlier this year.. According to the certification issued by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), the vehicle's 7.9L/100km fuel consumption is one of the best in the segment.

Ford will offer the 1.0L EcoBoost engine on small-to-medium vehicles, and the engine will be built in China, with a plan to introduce more EcoBoost engines based on market demand. By 2015, EcoBoost engines will be available on most Ford branded passenger cars in China.

Upgrading conventional engines

Ford will introduce an advanced non-turbocharged engine in China that combines the technology of gasoline direct injection technology (GDI) and Ti-VCT to offer vehicles with more dynamic performance and better fuel efficiency.

At the heart of this is a high-pressure direct injection system which injects fuel into each cylinder in small, precise amounts at a pressure of up to 200 bar – the droplet size is typically smaller than 0.02mm, one-fifth the width of human hair. Compared to conventional fuel injection, direct injection produces a cooler, denser charge, delivering improved fuel economy and performance.

The system could inject highly pressurized fuel into the combustion chamber of each cylinder rather than traditional mixing with the incoming air in the inlet port. Advantages include more precise delivery of fuel for lower emissions, improved volumetric efficiency and avoidance of knock for better performance and fuel efficiency.

The Ti-VCT technology allows extremely precise, variable control of "valve overlap," or the window of time in which both the intake and exhaust valves in an engine are open at the same time. By adjusting overlap continuously, an engine can operate at optimum settings for peak fuel economy or peak power output as conditions demand. It could reach up to a 7% improvement in peak power and a 5% improvement in low-speed torque for better acceleration, passing and merging performance and up to a 4.5% improvement in fuel economy. Ti-VCT also facilitates an "internal EGR" effect, reducing NOx (a contributor to smog) and hydrocarbon emissions throughout the engine's operating range.

Six-speed transmissions for a smoother drive

As part of its powertrain upgrade, Ford plans to replace the current four-speed automatic transmission with advanced six-speed transmissions which will not only provide smoother gear shifts but also improved fuel economy.

Leading the way is Ford's innovative PowerShift six-speed automatic transmission that combines the efficiency and driving dynamics of a manual gearbox with the convenience of a conventional automatic transmission. Unlike regular hydraulically operated automatic transmissions, which use power-sapping torque converters, wet clutches and pumps, the PowerShift automatic consists of two manual transmissions (in the same case) working in parallel. The dual clutches engage and disengage in a way that provides seamless delivery of torque to the wheels, even during gear changes.

The transmission also features Hill Launch Assist that prevents the vehicle from rolling back by maintaining enough brake pressure until the engine delivers enough torque to move the vehicle up the hill providing improved driver confidence, comfort and clutch robustness

Other than the PowerShift transmission, Ford also plans to introduce a full range of six-speed transmissions to satisfy market demand. Compared to the current four-speed automatic transmission, the new six-speeds will deliver smoother gear shifts, seamless torque delivery and superior fuel economy.

Expanding production capacity

In line with Ford's strategy to overhaul its powertrain lineup in China, most of these new powertrains will be manufactured in the country for use in future vehicles. Currently, Ford's joint venture in China, Changan Ford Mazda Automobile Co., Ltd. (CFMA), is building a new engine plant and a new transmission plant, with initial annual capacity of up to 400,000 in each plant.