Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Ford developing next-gen, ethanol-boosted engines under Bobcat codename

Ford has yet to release its first EcoBoost engines but is reportedly already hard at work on the technology's next phase. Rumors indicate that the new engine technology is codenamed Bobcat and uses small amounts of ethanol injection to improve power and reduce emissions. Ethanol carries a very high octane rating, which allows an engine to be tuned for more power. An engine with ethanol injection can run a much higher compression ratio along with a small turbocharger as the ethanol would be injected directly into the engine's combustion chamber, thereby eliminating precompression, which is more commonly referred to as knock and can be extremely hazardous to your engine's health. The alcohol injection would be performed on an entirely different fuel injection system as the gasoline, complete with its own fuel tank. It would have to be closely metered, but should only need refilled once every few months since the amount used would be so small.

Early estimates put the new Bobcat engine tech at about a $1,100 price premium over a standard gasoline engine, but the turbocharging and gasoline direct injection that makes up EcoBoost accounts for $700 of that charge. While that may seem like a steep amount, consider that many truck buyers opt for high-power diesel engines that carry premiums of $5,000 or more.