Ford Motor Company is ready to bring a turbocharged, 1.5L three-cylinder EcoBoost engine to the United States with cylinder-deactivation, marking the first time in more than a century that Ford will offer an engine here that can run on just two cylinders, according to Automotive News. The engine is launching overseas in the all-new, 2019 Focus compact car, but for the time being, Ford isn’t ready to announce which US-market products it will be available in.
Cylinder-deactivation – a technology that allows one or more cylinders in an internal combustion engine to cease burning fuel during operation at certain speeds and load levels – has gained popularity in recent years as automakers attempt to bolster fuel economy to meet ever-more stringent emissions regulations. Last year, Ford revealed a new version of the Fiesta ST hot hatch powered by a 1.5L EcoBoost engine equipped with the technology, which can deactivate or reactivate one of its cylinders in just 14 milliseconds.
The big obstacle for such systems is achieving an acceptable level of smoothness – especially in an inline three-cylinder engine. Ford, evidently, feels they’ve worked past that issue.
Ford VP of Powertrain Engineering David Filipe told Automotive News that the 1.5L three-cylinder EcoBoost will replace the 1.5L four-cylinder currently found in the mid-size Fusion car and compact Escape crossover. The version in the all-new Focus introduced for Europe last week is rated at 140 or 180 horsepower; the 1.5L I3 EcoBoost in the 2018 Ford Fiesta ST produces up to 197 horsepower.
When it comes to the next Ford Focus ST, which is rumored to be receiving a 275-horsepower 1.5L EcoBoost I4, four cylinders may make the most sense for its targeted power density; more cylinders means more total valve surface area, which is important for allowing the engine to breath properly at higher speeds.