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Meet Ford’s carbon-fibre EcoBoost engine

We’ve seen carbon-fibre body panels, tubs and even wheels – now meet the carbon-fibre engine

Manufacturers are already OCD about stripping weight from a car’s chassis, body and interior by using exotic materials, but why not the engine itself? Obvious, isn’t it. Well, Ford has had a go and the results are not to be sniffed at.

Based on its diddiest little 1.0 EcoBoost unit – yep, the one that accounted for 50 per cent of Fiesta sales in the UK last year – the prototype engine was shown sliced in half at the Detroit show.

Engineers focused on five main components: the cylinder block, cylinder head, connecting rods, front cover and oil pan resulting in an overall weight saving of 15.5 per cent - or 13kg. Doesn’t sound like much, we know, but Ford claims an improvement in fuel economy of around 4.5 per cent. Oh, you’re listening now.

While the front cover, oil pan and cam-carrier are all made from injection-moulded carbon-fibre, the connecting rods are actually switched to forged aluminium and the cylinder block to aluminium with powder metal inserts on the important load paths.

Question is, when can you buy one fitted to your Fiesta or Focus? Well, Ford wouldn’t commit to a date, but the technology is complete and works like a dream. The key is putting the injection-moulded carbon-fibre into mass production, thus eliminating the labour element and instantly driving costs through the floor.

So, what do we think – could this be the technology that helps us enjoy the combustion engine for a little longer?

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