Ford Announces 1-Liter EcoBoost Engine, New Transmissions

Ford is adding a new engine to its North American and global vehicle lineups that has the same displacement as a common size for a water bottle: 1 liter. The three-cylinder mini-mill is the smallest engine Ford has ever built. Ford first mentioned the engine with the Start concept car — shown above — when it was rolled out at the Beijing auto show last year.

Like other Ford EcoBoost engines, it uses high-pressure direct gas injection and turbocharging to get better performance and up to 20% better fuel economy compared with larger-displacement engines. V-6 engines perform like V-8s, and four-cylinder engines perform as if they had six cylinders. In this case, a three replaces a four.

But the 1.0-liter EcoBoost packs other advanced fuel-saving features, some of which Ford is offering for the first time.

A split-cooling system allows the cylinder block to warm up before the cylinder head. This will help save fuel during cold weather or short trips because oil and engine fluid viscosity rises as temperatures fall, so more work and more fuel is required to overcome friction in the powertrain.

An offset crankshaft improves fuel economy by reducing engine friction during combustion. The crank bore is moved slightly to the side instead of directly below the cylinder bore so maximum combustion pressure happens at the point where the connecting rod (which connects the crank and piston head) is straight up and down in the cylinder instead of at an angle where rotational side forces add friction and reduce efficiency. Toyota and Honda have used similar construction in their small engines. Joe Bakaj, Ford's vice president of global powertrain engineering, said friction is reduced by three to five percent while returning one to two percent better fuel economy.

The exhaust manifold is combined with the cylinder head in a single-piece casting instead of bolted on. The one-piece assembly lowers the temperature of the exhaust gases and saves weight.

Bakaj said customers aren’t counting cylinders or displacements anymore. "Customers are looking at performance and what the engine does for me," he said, adding that the engine will have the same performance as a 1.6-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder, “but much higher fuel economy.”

The 1.0-liter three-cylinder was first shown in the Ford Start concept car and it recently made its European debut in the Ford B-Max at the 2011 Geneva International Motor Show. We expect it will be used in Ford’s small cars, including the Fiesta, Focus and upcoming C-Max compact multipurpose vehicle.

New Hybrid and Conventional Transmissions

Ford also announced it will build a new hybrid transmission and an advanced eight-speed automatic gearbox that will be available across a wide range of its vehicles.

The new hybrid transmission is an e-CVT, or electronic continuously variable automatic transmission. It promises improved performance over the current gearbox, which allows the current Ford Fusion to reach a top speed of 47 mph on electricity and go as far as one mile.

The fuel-saving eight-speed transmission will feature:

  • Next-generation clutch controls
  • An input torque sensor that measures torque coming into the transmission, enabling faster gear selection, reducing gear hunting and helping smooth out shifts
  • Actuators built into the case for tighter, more precise control of hydraulic pressure


Amuro Ray

I've said this b4, & I'll say it again - I applaud Ford's decision to go with small, fuel-efficient engines & transmissions, but I don't see this as a "we can now celebrate" announcement on this 1000cc 3 cylinder engine & e-CVT tranny.

Both of these - in a way - have been done & sold in Japan (and some other Asian countries) for such a long time - OVER 30 years!

Jatco has been producing eCVT for almost 10 years now, and K-car in Japan has been doing 660cc 3 cylinder (with optional) Turbo/Supercharged (62hp/97hp respectively) engines for over 30 years now. What Ford's doing is essentially an evolution to the K-car segment. Whether N. Americans can adopt to small size vehicle with about 100+ hp (only) is yet to see...

What's scary, however, is Ford's old (and now bad) ideology of "if u build it, they will come." Yeah, I can see great success on that - just take a look at the numbers of Ford Fiesta and Focus vs F-150/SUVs. If we don't educate our mass consumers (with laws, incentives, etc.) on fuel efficiency and savings, the vehicles that we REALLY need will never be the vehicle that most will ultimately purchase.

@Amuro: Educate consumers with laws? Whoa. I didn't know the government knew better than consumers what producta and vehicles you and I really need. Can't wait until we have to buy two Fiestas to move a family of six instead of using one of those obnoxious SUVs.


Go ahead Ford. This type of innovation is required in the days of $ 100 Oil.

Already their Ecoboost is a big success. This 3 cylinder engine can be applied in Focus & Fiesta and also in Plugins as a backup generator.

As for 8 speed tranny, I wonder why not they move toward CVT alone.


i like my country free, so 'educating' the buying public with overbearing laws or providing incentives (from a bankrupt government borrowing money from china) does not seem like a good idea.

now, if the politicians truly believe that the everyday american (as opposed to themselves) needs to cut down on fuel use, they can put their careers where their mouths are and raise the gas tax that hasn't been raised in decades. this of course is politically unpopular, and probably a career ender...lord knows they shouldn't have to go find a job....not in this economy!

that being said, for them it's safer (although utterly ineffective) to try to scare or guilt the rest of us into buying small cars with doomsday politicized theories and rhetoric about global warming and climate change.


Notice how it does not mention that the 8 speed automatic is a planetary transmission.

I bet it is a double clutch for trucks, 5,000-10,000 weight class.


I like the idea they are using. Basically, a diesel that runs on gasoline. Why not? And I'm tired of the government telling me that they are banning a choice I have for, say, a light bulb, but saying that I will still have a choice on what kind I want to buy.

Rick Fowler

Gee... my 1991 Subaru Justy GL 4WD has a 1.2 MPFI engine, with a 5spd, and AC! It gets about 33-36 mpg! Plus, it has a funky plaid interior.


IF the government truly wants to control what we buy and how we must save fuel, why do they still allow manufactures to build cars that will run over 150+ MPH when the speed limits are maxed at 70 in most states and 60 in some of the others?


When is Ford going to fix the transmission in my 2011 Fusion? Still jerks and hunts and flares rpms when moving to next higher gear. How is adding 2 more gears (8 vs. 6) going to help?

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