Ford has announced a new range of EcoBlue diesel engines. The brand has taken what it learned from its award-winning range of EcoBoost petrol engines and applied the knowledge to its diesel ones. These will replace the ageing Duratorq range that’s used throughout the firm’s range.
Set to be more fuel efficient, quieter and better to drive than the units EcoBlue will replace, it sounds like a win/win for buyers. But what exactly is new, and how does it all work?
Why the new engines?
In a push to improve public health, the EU constantly imposes stricter emissions regulations on vehicle manufacturers. These force car makers to produce cleaner vehicles, a large part of which car be achieved by designing engines (petrol and diesel) which burn more cleanly. The latest Euro VI emissions standards require diesel engines sold from September 2016 onwards to emit 55 per cent fewer Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) than allowed under the current regs.
Ford’s new EcoBlue range – a ground-up redesign of the brand’s diesel engines – complies with these latest Euro VI rules. Not only will the EcoBlue units emit lower levels of NOx, but Carbon Dioxide (CO2) levels have dropped by as much as 10 per cent, too. The new model is set to debut in the Transit van where it replaces the outgoing 2.2, but will also find its way into Ford’s passenger vehicles at a later date.
What improvements do EcoBlue engines offer?
Internal combustion engines tend not to be that efficient at converting fuel (a mix or air and petrol/diesel) into power. The noise and heat that comes from an engine? That’s effectively waste energy from the fuel burning process – energy which could be put to better use driving the wheels. Ford has taken a variety of steps with the EcoBlue design to ensure as much fuel is converted into useful energy as possible.
Through a redesign of the engine components, internal friction has been reduced relative to Ford’s older diesel designs. A new fuel injection system delivers an incredibly precise amount of diesel when required, which combined with an optimised air intake system results in an ideal mix of fuel and air at all times. The result? The EcoBlue engine is 13 per cent more efficient than the unit it replaces. That means that not only are emissions reduced, but you won’t need to spend as much cash filling them up, either.
An updated exhaust system design helps to cool gases leaving the engine, and reduces the quantity of harmful emissions (including CO2 and NOx) that exit the tailpipe.
So now I can breathe more easily. Any other benefits?
By wasting less energy, more power can be transferred to the road for every litre of diesel put in the tank. As a result, the new unit has the potential to produce more power than before – despite the smaller capacity. Depending on how its tuned, the new 2.0-litre will offer anywhere from 99 to 237 horsepower.
Further tweaks should also see to EcoBlue engines feeling more flexible in everyday driving. A new turbocharger, made from an alloy used in the construction of rocket engines (inconel, for the curious), can spin much faster than before, which in turn improves low-down torque. The result is a peak figure which not only arrives at just 1,250rpm, but is 20 per cent greater than what is offered by the Transit’s old 2.2. This should help drivers to creep in traffic more easily, and a more responsive start/stop system should further improve low speed driving.
The new engine is quieter, too. Improved seals help to trap noise within the engine block, and other steps taken to reduce vibration help contribute to a four decibel drop in engine noise at idle.
Which Fords will benefit?
Though the engine will first hit the road in the Transit, it shouldn’t be long before we see variants fitted to the likes of the Mondeo and Kuga. We wouldn’t be at all surprised to see one of the more powerful variations to find its way into the Focus ST Diesel in the near future. Further down the line, Ford has confirmed that a smaller 1.5-litre EcoBlue variant will feature in its range. Expect it to slip under the bonnet of the Fiesta, B-Max and Focus, among others.
Save money on your next new car
To see what the current range of the Blue Oval’s diesel units have to offer, take a look at the Ford Focus deals page, and find out if you could save money by searching through carwow. Want to find out what Ford’s rivals have to offer? Take a look at our car chooser.