Ford Making Start-Stop Standard on F-150 EcoBoost Engines

Fuel savings could reach double-digit percentages.

by on Jan.21, 2016

Even the new Raptor SuperCrew is getting start-stop technology with its EcoBoost engine to help improve the truck's fuel economy.

It is no longer towing capacity or horsepower that is the measuring stick by which full-size trucks are gauged: it’s fuel economy and today Ford made the competition a little more difficult.

It made Auto Start-Stop technology standard on its 2016 F-150 powered by the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6. The technology will roll out to all of its EcoBoost-powered trucks in 2017 – including the new high-output Raptor.

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“EcoBoost already powers F-150’s best-in-class towing,” said Doug Scott, Ford truck group marketing manager. “Now, with every EcoBoost-equipped F-150 mildly electrified with standard Auto Start-Stop technology, customers’ fuel efficiency is expected to improve as well.”

The automaker expects it will account for more than 60% of the company’s truck line-up. Specially tuned for truck customers, Auto Start-Stop shuts off the engine when the vehicle is at a stop – except when towing or in four-wheel-drive mode – to give drivers power on demand when they need it most. When the brake is released, the engine restarts quickly, the maker said.

(Ford swoops in with new Raptor SuperCrew. For more, Click Here.)

The technology is not new having been around in some form on and off during the last decade, but only in recent years have makers been able to work out the problems associated with the technology, in particular, the lag time between putting foot to pedal and the vehicle accelerating.

In addition to fuel economy improvements, which range from 3% to 12%, according to Edmunds, depending upon the vehicle and driving conditions, the technology also cuts carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles. Ford did not offer up any fuel savings estimates.

However, with the F-Series being the best selling vehicle in the U.S. last year and the automaker also making the technology standard equipment on EcoBoost-powered Escape small crossovers, the impact begins to add up.

Automakers have been scrambling for years now to find ways to improve fuel economy as the federal government’s 54.5 mpg standard looms on the horizon. Turbocharging small engines, as Ford does with its EcoBoost line-up, is one way to improve overall fuel economy. Cylinder deactivation, diesel technology, hybrids and other efforts are all part of that mix.

(Click Here for details about makers shifting production from sedans to SUVs and trucks.)

However, despite the acceleration lag issue, Europeans appear to have adopted the technology. According to Johnson Controls, about 60% of the new cars sold in Europe each year have start-stop.

Ford’s F-150 and Escape aren’t the only models using the technology as the company’s Fusion midsize sedan does as well. General Motors adopted the technology for its Chevy Impala and Malibu models as well as its new GMC Acadia crossover and European vehicles of all sorts come similarly equipped.

However, the supplier estimates that currently about 5% of U.S. vehicles use start-stop. Part of that may be due to the additional cost it adds to the window sticker.

(To see how GM scored a third consecutive year of record global sales, Click Here.)

JCI estimates that drivers recoup the upcharge – about $250 to $300 – within three years due to the reduction in gas used. The investment then continues to pay an annual dividend. The supplier expects the take rate to jump to 40% by the end of the decade.

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5 Responses to “Ford Making Start-Stop Standard on F-150 EcoBoost Engines”

  1. Sasza says:

    Wondering…can Ford implement start&stop technology, and cylinder de-activation on the little 2.7 turbo? Anyone able to comment on durability of a small dispacement engine on a truck, used as a truck, in the real-world?

    • GT101 says:

      I can comment from an engineering perspective that any down sizing in engine displacement results in the smaller engine seeing higher loads and typically increased wear unless significant metallurgical changes are made. This occurs because the engines are run with more throttle to achieve the power required to perform the task. More throttle = more cylinder pressure which = more unit load/heat on the internal engine components than an equal power larger displacement engine experiences.

      Anyone familiar with the older Ford 2.3L turbo engines can attest to premature engine wear issues with cylinders, piston rings and valve guides resulting in blue smoke out the exhaust pipe and excessive oil consumption. The Chrysler 2.2/2.5 turbos suffered the same issues.

      In a truck application the engine loads could be higher depending on the primary use of the vehicle and the weight. FWIW, there have been early reports that the EcoBoost engines do employ better materials and are more durable than prior attempts at small turbo pass car engines. Only time will tell if the engines and aluminum body panels can cut the mustard.

  2. GT101 says:

    I’m reading about engines experiencing excessive wear from start-stop tech as well as batteries and starters. Some companies have had to switch to premium AGM style batteries. Other companies have had to use special coatings on engine bearings to reduce the wear. So while you may be saving some fuel consumption you could end up paying considerably for it on initial vehicle cost and/or vehicle maintenance.

    • Paul A. Eisenstein says:

      Not a surprise. To simply beef up a starter motor and use a slightly larger conventional battery seems to be ignoring the additional issues, ie wear-and-tear, that a powertrain faces. And that’s not even dealing with customer satisfaction issues. BMW took the minimalist approach and has faced numerous complaints about its stop-start system due to additional noise and vibration issues. That said, the potential benefits are significant if the Stop-Start system is executed well.

      Paul E.

  3. GT101 says:

    When an engine idles it achieves negative mpg. It’s better to find ways to not have engines idling as they require richer air-fuel ratios during idle than when driving. There is a learning curve with all new tech but start-stop offers enough fuel savings for those who live or drive in the city/traffic to make it worth the extra cost, which has been minimal to the sticker price. The improved bearings, starters, batteries, etc. will be a minimal evolutionary change for most auto makers just as higher quality, better performing, higher mpg engines have been delivered in the past decade.

    BMW was foolish to cut corners on start-stop. It’s no surprise their customers would complain. What were they thinking? Start-Stop originated in Germany so BMW has no excuse for getting it wrong, IMO.