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Ford ramps up global production of EcoBoost engines

By: Rhoda Miel

September 18, 2013

Ford Motor Co. is ramping up production of its EcoBoost engines globally, with a multi-million dollar investment in North America alone to increase production of the engines, which use high temperature plastics extensively.

The 2 millionth vehicle using EcoBoost rolled off an assembly line in Louisville, Ky., on Sept. 10 — an Escape sports utility vehicle using a 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine, Ford said in a Sept. 17 news release.

In North America, 90 percent of Escape buyers opt for the optional EcoBoost engine, while in Asia, 95 percent of buyers get the EcoBoost on the Escape's sister vehicle, the Kuga.

Even in Europe, which favors diesel engines for fuel performance, the EcoBoost has been a solid performer, with 39 percent of Ford's vehicles sold using the engine. When Ford first began selling the power charged version of a V6 engine in its F-150 truck as a fuel saving option to the eight-cylinder, it hoped that 25 percent of the buyers would buy the option. It now sells 42 percent of its F-150s with a 3.5-liter EcoBoost.

Ford's power-boosting engine is smaller, but the combination of turbochargers, direct injection technology and variable valve timing manages to improve performance while cutting fuel consumption by 20 percent, the Dearborn, Mich.-based carmaker said.

Nylon and other plastics are used in a variety of parts on the EcoBoost program, including an injection molded turbo resonator within a blow molded duct, along with cam cover, hoses and other key parts.

Ford said it will invest nearly $200 million in Cleveland to build the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine starting in 2014.

In Europe, Ford is doubling production capacity in Cologne, Germany, to make more than 1,000 engines per day. Cologne has also started building a 1.0-liter engine for the North American market. The engine will go into the 2014 Fiesta, which goes on sale later this year.

Ford will begin building the 1.0-liter EcoBoost at its new Changan Ford plant in China soon to meet demand for the engine in Asia.