Ford 1.0 EcoBoost Engine: So Small It Fits In A Carry-On Bag

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Ford's 1.0-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder engine has lapped the Nürburgring, been discussed as a potential race-car engine, and we've driven it ourselves in both a Focus Wagon and a Focus hatchback in Europe.

What's left? How about coming to America, and more specifically the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show?

But how do you get this tiny engine from Detroit to Los Angeles?

It's so tiny, why not just shove it in a suitcase--and take it on your flight as a piece of carry-on luggage?

That's exactly what Ford did. "You should've seen the TSA agents' faces at Detroit Metro Airport," said one member of the Ford engine team.

We weren't there, but we can imagine their faces ranged from curiosity to straight are-you-out-of-your-mind looks.

At only 1.0 liter in capacity, the new EcoBoost engine is low on the displacement scale, but that doesn't mean it doesn't produce power.

Up to 125 horsepower comes courtesy of three cylinders, direct injection, and a turbocharger.

Oh, and it's fuel efficient to boot, with Ford claiming an average fuel economy of 47 mpg in European test cycles. It's worth reiterating here that European test cycles produce higher numbers than the U.S. cycles do.

With a lower-powered model producing 100 horsepower, we could see some pretty impressive highway fuel economy numbers.

But in which vehicle? Ford isn't ready, yet, to announce which model the 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine will go into. But the obvious answer is either the Fiesta subcompact or Focus compact.

2012 Ford Focus 1.0 EcoBoost

2012 Ford Focus 1.0 EcoBoost

Enlarge Photo

If we were to predict, we'd choose the Focus--with some added aerodynamic tweaks--to produce a specially labeled efficiency model, just as Chevy has its Eco versions. And we'd expect that such a model would produce higher fuel-economy numbers than the current special-order SFE option.

Over in Europe, Ford's even offering this tiny turbocharged engine in the Fusion mid-size sedan, which begs the question: How small is too small?

While we wait for Ford's official announcement, we want to know what you think.

Which vehicle(s) do you think we'll see the 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine in?

Leave us your thoughts in the Comments below.


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Comments (19)
  1. A typical suitcase can fit more than 4 L (two 2L coke bottles)...

    Now durability is another issue.

  2. Of course, 1L is the net of the volume of the combustion chambers at BDC minus the same volume at TDC (aka "displacement"); not the volume of the engine itself, but we knew that.

    I have to wonder, too, about the total weight. A small aluminum block like that is likely light but unless I've missed some metallurgical breakthrough, the crankshaft alone is going to be on the heavy side. Even a 250cc 4-stroke motorcycle engine is more weight than I'd want to be lugging around an airport or have sitting in a plastic bin over my head during the flight.

    Still, 125hp/litre is impressive in a torque-intensive car application. Nudges out the Subaru STi's 122 and I'd bet it's nowhere near as unwarranteed fragile.

  3. Slap that on to two wheels and take my money!

  4. Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda and Kawasaki have done just that for over a decade, and BMW for a couple years, with sportbike engines routinely around 120kW/160hp per liter. With 4 cylinders and no turbo.

    The engine of the BMW S1000RR even hits 200hp per liter in its racetrack variant. I don't know how much the engine weights but the whole vehicle gets close to 1kW per kg, or over half a hp per lb.

    Granted, this Ford engine will probably outlast most motorcycle ones as, I guess, its redline isn't 5-digit. :)

  5. While it's true that the 100hp/litre mark got obliterated many years ago by every Japanese motorcycle maker, keep in mind that we've been able to live without much low-end torque on motorcycles, where the same powerband wouldn't be practical in a cage. With 600-700 lbs plus rider, launching doesn't require the oomph needed for about 2500 lbs plus rider and a comparatively huge and toed-in contact patch.

    You touched on the motorcycle horsepower advantage with your comment about 5-digit redlines. Horsepower is just the result of a pretty simple formula that uses torque and rpm, and the higher the revs for a given torque amount, the higher the calculated horsepower. Triple the revs, triple the horses. So this is like a 300+hp Hayabusa.

  6. Wouldn't it be kind of heavy for a carry on?

  7. "Ford's 1.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine..."
    As you can see on the picture it's actually a three-cylinder engine.

    I wander if such (or even smaller) complete engine with a 10kw generator and a small fuel tank could fit into a suitcase. You can easily drop it into your EV and use as a gas extender when needed.

  8. @Dmitriy: Aaarrrgggghhhhh. Sorry. We've fixed the article. [facepalm]

  9. I don't recall the formula for kwh/hp conversion but I know 10kwh needs only a small fraction of 100 horses. Surely a 10k genny can be built to be liftable, though I think there are still some weight hurdles that haven't been cleared on the generator side of the equation to make it really totable. Enough magnet and copper to do the job still weighs a lot. I don't know enough about the subject to opine whether it could be done with aluminum wire instead of copper, though, but would guess so since there's nothing special about copper there except conductivity. It's basically wire being spun in a magnetic field. And the magnets in a computer hard drive are light and powerful but surely expensive at the required size.

  10. This linguistic battle was lost a long time ago, but I'm in the mood. It raises the question how small is too small -- to beg a question is to make a circular argument.

  11. No such thing as the engine being "too small". It is always the "wrong" size for the application. Maybe the car is too big...


  12. The Seattle Auto Show is a waste of time and money! Major disappointment in models displayed and little, if any literature.

  13. When did they start holding the Los Angeles show in Seattle?

  14. Meanwhile electric motors capable of powering off-roaders have been able to fit in suit cases for decades.

  15. The picture only shows the block. What about the entire engine with cylinder heads and in this case turbo?

  16. i use a honda EU 2000 as a back up for my electrc vehicle so i can use it for other generator applications.

  17. 2000 watts is not enough to maintain highway speed. Provided your Nissan Leaf consume 1 kwh for 4 miles at 60 mph, you need at least 15kw generator to keep moving without range anxiety. Taking into account the generator might continue to charge your battery while you eat your dinner or when traffic is slow, 10kw is the bare minimum. Take 5 honda EU 2000s and you'll be fine :)

  18. I think Ford should put the new ECO Boost 3 cylinder engine in the soon to be announced release of the new Ford PINTO.
    I had one of the original 1600 cc 1971 pintos and it ran on 3 cylinders most of the time anyway. The weight savings over the 4 cylinder That was in my original FLAMETHROWER Pinto should benifit the gas milage and the horsepower is much higher than was the output of the 4 cylinder when it was running on all 4.
    By the way, myself and 3 other sailors were on the Jersey Pike the day before Thanksgiving in 1972 and the duty driver managed to bury the nose into the rear of a Plymouth Fury. Pinto crushed to the windshield, Fury, scratched bumper. Luckily the car behind us stopped in time and 4 US NAVY sailors were not cooked.

  19. sounds great for a personal flying car

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