Despite the hiccups associated with any technology, the U.S. automaker Ford says it can see a day when all vehicles are either hybrids, electrics or powered by turbocharged engines.
Ford produced its 2 millionth EcoBoost engine Tuesday and said it plans to add to its lineup of five turbocharged powerplants, ranging from a 3.5 liter V6 to a tiny 1 liter three-cylinder engine, and may include a smaller EcoBoost V6 for the next F-150 pickup.
Ford plans to offer a 2-liter EcoBoost engine in a non-pursuit version of its Taurus Police Interceptor capable of getting up to 30 miles per gallon highway and 22 miles per gallon in city driving.
"Five is not the end of the road," said Ford Vice President of Powertrain Engineering Joe Bakaj. He said EcoBoost technology would help the automaker meet the federal mileage requirement of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.
It was a "big risk for us as a company to go from a big V8 to a V6. We knew on paper it would be great, but until you launch and see consumers vote, you don't know if the strategy will work," he said Monday at the Dearborn Truck Plant in Dearborn, Mich.
About 20 percent of all new Fords have direct fuel injection EcoBoost engines, which generate the power of a larger conventional internal combustion engine via turbocharging and software while delivering improved fuel economy.
Although an EcoBoost engine is more expensive than a conventional gasoline engine it recoups the additional cost in fuel savings four times faster than a diesel engine, The Detroit News said.
Ford's faith in turbocharging and computer software was echoed by Volkswagen AG.
A spokesman for the German automaker predicted VW would phase out conventional gas engines in three or four years in favor of turbocharged and diesel engines.
"You have to have a turbo these days," Mark Trahan, VW's vice president for group quality," told the News. "We only have one normally aspirated gas engine, and when we go to the next generation vehicle that it's in, it will be replaced. So three, four years maximum."
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