Ford Nails International Engine Of The Year For EcoBoost 1.0 Engine

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Just in time for the 2014 Go Further With Ford auto trend conference in Dearborn, here comes news that Ford’s new super-efficient EcoBoost 1.0-liter engine has just been named International Engine of the Year for the third year in a row, and it also garnered the honor for Best Engine in the under 1.0-liter class. That’s according to a survey of 82 automotive journalists at Engine Expo 2014 in Stuttgart.

We were just talking about a bigger version of the EcoBoost, which is standard on that all new 2015 Ford Edge crossover SUV. The 1.0 version is in the Ford Fiesta available now and it will be available later this year on the 2015 Focus.

Ford Ecoboost energy efficient Engine
Ford Ecoboost Engine

The Ford EcoBoost Engine

We happened to be visiting Dearborn (okay, so we were invited by Ford) last December and we caught a hands-on look at the Ford EcoBoost engine, so here are a few more details about the 1.0.

For starters, the three-years-in-a-row achievement is unprecedented. It brings the 1.0 EcoBoost up to 13 awards, including a Breakthrough Award from Popular Mechanics and a Ward’s 10 Best Engines award in the three-cylinder class, which is a first for any automaker.

Performance-wise, the 1.0 liter EcoBoost has a compact turbocharger that clocks in at a maximum rpm that compares to 2014 Formula 1 engines. We don’t really know what that means in terms of the numbers but we had a chance to experience it on the road when a Ford staffer offered us an “enthusiastic” spin in a Fiesta around the high speed track at Ford’s Dearborn facility.

For those of you in the know, we’ll admit there’s a 70 mph limit on the high speed track but hey you can still feel the burn.

Of more interest to the clean tech angle are the efficiency refinements. Some of them relate directly to fuel efficiency, and others help enhance lifecycle factors that have more to do with general resource conservation.

As Ford describes it, the 1.0 liter can fit into an airplane overhead luggage compartment, but packed into that space is a system for cooling exhaust temperatures that provides for an optimal fuel-to-air ratio.

Here’s some more green goodies:

An innovative flywheel and front pulley design delivers improved refinement compared with traditional three-cylinder engine designs.

Engine friction is reduced by specially coated pistons, low-tension piston rings, low-friction crank seals and a cam-belt-in-oil design.

A variable-displacement oil pump tailors lubrication to demand and optimizes oil pressure for improved fuel efficiency.

Engines With Benefits

As Ford describes it the 1.0-liter EcoBoost delivers “big-car benefits from a small engine.”

That goes to the heart of a conversation we’ve been having about the future of liquid fuel. While first-generation biofuel has some serious ball-and-chain issues in terms of sustainability, the emergence of next-generation sources means that gasmobiles have the potential for a sustainable supply chain far into the future, even as the electric vehicle market grows.

Efficiency enhancements like the EcoBoost series and the advent of new lightweight materials will also contribute to that trend.


Speaking of contributing, the EcoBoost is the result of an intensive collaborative effort involving more than 200 Ford engineers and designers.

Collaboration also emerged as a running theme throughout the Go Further with Ford conference, and we’ll have more details on that in a later post.

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Tina Casey

Tina specializes in advanced energy technology, military sustainability, emerging materials, biofuels, ESG and related policy and political matters. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on LinkedIn, Threads, or Bluesky.

Tina Casey has 3143 posts and counting. See all posts by Tina Casey

11 thoughts on “Ford Nails International Engine Of The Year For EcoBoost 1.0 Engine

  • Can I plop one of these engines into my Subaru? Sort of like a bridge technology until I get around purchasing an electric car. In the spirit of all energy is good, even stored energy, the flywheel improvement is key. What’s happening to Volvo’s flywheel or KERS (kinetic energy re-something something)?

    Here’s federal R&D spending in a nutshell: total, $140 billion; defense, $71 billion; Energy, $12 billion; Efficiency/renewables, $1.7 billion.

    Total US Industry R&D spending: total, $330 billion; other, $322.7 billion; energy, $7.3 billion, efficiency/renewables, (it’s hard to tell oil and gas dominate industry spending).

    O&G spend the least on R&D, on a revenue and profit basis. They don’t need to. They’ve been doing the same thing over and over for the past 150 years.

    “Other” is mostly IT and life sciences. Maybe getting google and facebook to integrate better with NSA. And making a better corn ear, maybe.


    • The flywheel in this engine and almost all other ICE engines doesn’t really store energy. It merely “buffers” the mechanical force of pistons firing through its rotational inertia to send a smooth transfer of mechanical energy to the transmission. This lowers mechanical wear and the amount of engine vibration you feel when driving the vehicle.

      • Fair enough. I’m not really at all familiar with the purpose of the flywheel for the Ecoboost engineer here.

        The KERS flywheel, if I’m not mistaken is an energy storage system. It takes braking energy and stores it as rotational energy. The wheel is carbon fiber and contained under a vacuum to reduce weight and friction. I believe it spins around 30,000 rpm. Through the magic of gearing converts the spinning motion of the KERS into forward motion of the car. Kind of cool stuff. About a 15 percent boost in efficiency just from mechanical changes.

        Here’s a paper on KERS vs. Batteries for storage:

        And here’s Motor Trends first drive piece:

        I hope I’m not straying too from Ford as a blog post topic. Did Ford sell all its interest in VOLVO? They may still have a piece of KERS. I wonder how the Swedes get along with the Chinese. Probably well.

  • Everytime I see a motor like that I can’t see anything but how inefficient they are, how complicated and how much problem they bring. It’s almost scary how superior an electric motor is.

    • Electric motors are indeed more efficient and mechanically simpler than ICE engines. However, we are not going to go completely electric for many decades and I would rather see Ford making great strides in saving the most fuel whenever possible. The perfect should not be the enemy of the good and maybe this technology will eventually be used as a range-extender for limited EV applications.

      • I know. But there will be a great day coming when we don’t need them at all. 🙂

  • If I understand correctly, this better than average fuel economy engine will help Ford keep within the average fuel economy targets set by the government, meaning that government regulation (and gas prices) helped spur a corporation to achieve goals that benefit the consumer while lowering our demand for foreign oil and reducing greenhouse gases. Looking forward to seeing that on Fox News.
    The EcoBoost term is a great achievement by Ford marketing, as it is really a turbo. Of course the eco “boost” is actually a function of the turbo increasing power using more fuel. So pouring on the power or the “boost” is eco because it uses more fuel?
    I have some concerns that in real world driving conditions some underpowered but efficient engines will be driven harder than simulated by the EPA, which will lower gas mileage.
    Still, if the public needs to be “guided” by marketing into an engine that even if overdriven is relatively efficient for an internal combustion engine, then so be it.

    • The “boost” from the turbo allows Ford to use a relatively-small 1.0L engine in a compact passenger vehicle. Up till now, the smallest naturally-aspirated engines you would see would displace 1.3L and only be available in Europe, Asia and developing countries. Lower displacement usually translates to better fuel economy except in the instances like the U.S. spec Smart car where an underpowered engine (mated to a cruddy transmission) causes the engine to operate at high rpm to propel the vehicle, wasting energy in pumping losses and mechanical friction within the engine. With a Trubo, a smaller engine can operate at lower RPM while still giving the same amount of torque, lowering these loses.

  • Building on earlier comments, I wonder how far this technology can go? I’d like to see a “kitchen sink” approach where a 1.0L Direct-Injection, HCCI engine running on the Atkinson Cycle and whatever else we can throw at maximizing efficiency. If the old Prius 1.5L can generate 65HP, then a 1.0L could be expected to generate around 40, so running it at wide open throttle at 2000rpm (beyond which, pumping and friction losses start to become significant) could produce a little over 20 HP. This is all you need to have an efficient and compact range-extender for an electric vehicle, not what GM put in the Volt (which still looks like a great car if they could just get the price down…)

  • Winning the award three years in a row in a great achievment.,, but also a little boring.. Can’t wait for next years award.. certainly another contender should be able to clear it from its throne…
    I looked at the different categories.and wonder …Are there no diesel category.????

  • I bought this car. I have already saved more than half on gas. Plus this car is fun to drive. An electric car would not make my commute. A hybrid would work but I could not afford one. So far I love this car.

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