May 20, 2009 | 25
The history of engine improvements in the U.S. has tended primarily in one direction: raw horsepower. Engines have gotten bigger and more powerful over time—and that's certainly what automakers have used as a key selling point. But U.S. automaker Ford has decided to take turbocharging and direct fuel injection in another direction: fuel efficiency.
Yesterday, Ford began production of what it's calling the EcoBoost engine: a new gasoline motor that employs turbocharging, direct fuel injection, variable timing in the valves that control fuel and exhaust flow to make a smaller, lighter six-cylinder engine perform like an eight-cylinder engine.* When these technologies are combined, "you can now significantly downsize the engine," says mechanical engineer Dan Kapp, Ford's director for power train research. "The fuel efficiency comes from a much smaller displacement engine providing equal or, in most cases, superior performance to the engine you're replacing."
May 5, 2009 | 15
The President and Congress may not be in agreement about how best to deal with climate change, but it appears that they do agree on at least one thing: they'd like to give you money to trade in your old (polluting) car.
Under the terms of a provisional agreement between the president and Democrats in the House of Representatives, a "Cash for Clunkers" program would look something like this: Anyone who owns a car that gets less than 18 miles-per-gallon could trade it in for a voucher to offset the purchase of a more fuel-efficient car. Depending on exactly how fuel-efficient that new car or truck is, that voucher could be worth as much as $4,500—at least for the lucky first one million trade-ins.
Deadline: Dec 11 2013
Reward: $52,000 USD
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