Editor’s Blog on new engine technology
Engines. There have been some interesting announcements in the last few weeks that have caught my eye.
The first was Ford’s new 1.0 litre engine for the Ford Focus.
It’s part of their EcoBoost range – smaller and more efficient petrol engines with turbos that boost power, improve fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions to the benefit of business drivers with company car tax to pay.
Ford’s fleet boss Kevin is a big fan. “I think we will do very well with these in the future as they develop,” Kevin told me. “We see them as a big part of the business car future, particulalry as the cost of diesel engines rise, which will put pressure on the car’s P11d value, and will have an effect on overall benefit in kind company car tax – and not forgetting that diesels also have a 3 per cent company car tax surcharge.”
Interesting. As, indeed, will be this new 1.0 litre. In the five-door Ford Focus it will be available in two power trim states: 125ps, 56.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 114g/km (a company car tax band of 13%); or 100ps with 58.9mpg and best-in-class petrol CO2 emissions of 109g/km (company car tax remains at 13%).
It’s also a three-cylinder. And I love the off-beat thrum of a theee. I’m going to drive it this week. I’ll let you know what it’s like.
Another was the stonking new twin turbo diesel for the Audi A6. This is some engine, and I bet it’s fabulous in the Avant, creating an elegant estate car with crushing low down shove and go performance when you want it.
As raw figures go, it’s 313PS, a fabulous 650 torque for supreme low down flexibility and thrust-you-to-the-horizon, plus the promise of 44+mpg.
While that’s good I must mention my own single turbo Audi A6. While not as powerful, it’s currently averaging around the 45mpg mark in everyday driving, even in these cold conditions. Pretty impressive for a large executive car – and not too far off that Focus.
Finally, I hope you’ve had a chance to read Robin Roberts’ first drive of the vehicle technology of the future – Land Rover’s Range_e, an electric-diesel hybrid Range Rover. Capable of 85mpg, the car promises all the aristocratic luxury of the Range Rover, without the attendant aristocratic fuel bills that accompany Range Rover ownership.
Robin tells me that five prototype Range_e models have been built since December 2010 and are engaged in a test programme as part of the Coventry and Birmingham Low Emissions Demonstrators consortium.
This rather clumsy title has a more direct purpose than the length of its title: to gather real-world usage data so as to refine the systems and technology ahead of making the first production vehicles, starting with the diesel hybrid in 2013 and the Plug-in Diesel Hybrid a short time later.
“The prototype fleet is on the road, and off, almost every day and has been used by a variety of drivers, not just engineers, covering about 2,000 miles a month,” Robin explained to me after returning from his trial of the Range_e.
As you would expect, the technology will the be applied to other Land Rover and Jaguar vehicles in the future.
With all this engine development going on, the prospects for the future of business car driving looks very promising indeed. Bring it on!