Ford's Bobcat Engine Test Proves Feasibility of Smaller Engines: Could Be Pivotal to Companies Future

Ford's new Ethanol Injected Engine, codenamed "Bobcat," has been in and out of the spotlight throughout the past few months. While how the engine operates is known, just how powerful a moderately sized version of the Bobcat would be was a question that was left unanswered, until now.

In preparation for a presentation to the Society of Automotive Engineers, Ford decided to take one of the already potent 3.5 liter EcoBoost engines they had sitting around and outfit it with an Ethanol direct injection system. They then hooked the upgraded engine to a dynamometer and compared it with performance data from a stock 3.5 liter EcoBoost. The result was a gain of over 200lb/ft of torque, bringing the number up to just over 550lb/ft at 3,000rpm. While horsepower only went up by 16 at the same engine speed, the final numbers are well within range of most of today's higher powered diesel engines.

Even more interesting, is what happens when break those numbers down into power as compared to displacement. The E85 injected engine was able to kick out 157lb/ft for every liter of displacement. If you were increase the displacement by only 1 liter, you would be talking about a relatively small engine that is able to push somewhere in the range of 650 to 700lb/ft at the crank. Jump to a 5.0 liter V-8 and you have yourself an engine that could potentially push 500 horsepower and over 750lb/ft.

When compared to the current 6.4 liter PowerStoke Turbo Diesel, which makes 350 horsepower and 650lb/ft, it becomes obvious that such large engines are no longer needed to make big power. While the most obvious benefit of using a smaller engine is the reduction in fuel consumption, the increase in compression ratio and more efficient burn will equate to less pollutants being produced and released into the air.

Using an Ethanol Injected engine will also decrease our dependency on diesel engines for heavy towing applications. Not only with a buyer be able to forgo the heavy premium usually placed on diesel engines, but they will also no longer have to worry about replacing or fixing the treatment systems used for the exhaust.

Ford has also said that, depending on driving habits and usage, the 10 gallon ethanol tank could last up to 20,000 miles without needed to be refilled, while the 26 gallon fuel tank would last around 530 miles. However, keep in mind that the amount of ethanol used is based on the load being placed on the engine.

According to a simulation run by Ford engineers, if a fully loaded trailer was being hauled by a 5.0 liter Bobcat engine up a constant 6 percent grade, it might need to be filled every 100 miles. Under the same circumstances, the 26 gallon tank would hold out for just over 240 miles, meaning you would need ethanol way before you needed regular fuel. Problematic indeed. However, in the event you do deplete you ethanol before you reach a refueling station, the engine will continue to run in a less than optimal performance mode.

For now the Ethanol Injected power plant has only been tested in the lab and by using computer simulations. Ford is planning on testing the new Bobcat engine in one of the new F-Series pickup trucks sometime toward the end of the year. Depending on how well the test goes, the Bobcat engine may become the choice engine for Ford's heavy duty truck lineup.

Pickup Trucks , Automobile Mag , Green Tech Gazette
Jun 12, 2009
by Anonymous


"the 10 gallon ethanol tank could last up to 20,000 miles", WOW
Better change it

Jun 12, 2009
by Anonymous

That's correct. Only a small

That's correct. Only a small amount of ethanol is injected along with the regular amount of gasoline. But what about the horsepower increase? Is that right?